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01/10/2014 : Amidst renewed calls this week from Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) for the inclusion of `consumers and professional employee pharmacists` in 6CPA negotitations, who should negotiate the Agreement for pharmacy?
The Guild alone
The Guild alone but it needs to *genuinely* collaborate with other pharmacy groups
The Guild and PSA
All the pharmacy groups, including PPA
All the pharmacy groups, including PPA, and consumers

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AusPharm news

Neo-mercazole replacement available from today : 20/11/2013 :

Link Healthcare will be supplying Carbimazole ARISTO 5mg to pharmacies from today (20 November 2013). The product has been authorised for supply by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a replacement for Neo-Mercazole.

Carbimazole ARISTO 5mg is available in the normal way for a Schedule 4 medicine. It does not require the use of the Special Access Scheme. Pharmacies do not need to submit SAS Category B applications for its supply.

Link Healthcare says patients can take their prescriptions to their pharmacy as normal from 20 November 2013.

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Professor Michael Dooley new SHPA President : 20/11/2013 :

Professor Michael Dooley, Director of Pharmacy at Alfred Health, and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University, has been elected as the new President of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA).

Michael is a Fellow of SHPA, the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners and the Australasian Association for Quality in Health Care. His work and achievements have been recognised by SHPA as the recipient of the Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award in 2004 and the GlaxoSmithKline Medal of Merit in 2003; and by others – he received the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Gold Medal in 2005.

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Dutton: chemotherapy funding will not be sourced from within Agreement : 20/11/2013 :

Ongoing funding for chemotherapy services provided by community pharmacies will not be sourced from within 5th Agreement funds.

Speaking at the Pharmacy Guild's annual dinner, held in Canberra last night, Health Minister Peter Dutton said that although he was not yet in a position to make a formal announcement "it is not the Government's intention to take funding for chemotherapy therapy from the existing community pharmacy agreement".

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Poll: have you dispensed a prescription using the 'continued dispensing' option? : 20/11/2013 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday David Haworth asked whether any 'listers had yet dispensed a script using the 'continued dispensing' option.

Continued dispensing became a supply option for pharmacies from 1 September 2013 and is now possible in all states and territories except Queensland and the Northern Territory, where enabling legislation has not yet been passed. Continued dispensing allows for the supply of oral contraceptives and statins in some situations where the patient does not have a prescription.

Have you dispensed a prescription using the 'continued dispensing' option? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Whole of profession approach needed for pharmacist prescribing : 20/11/2013 :

A whole of profession approach is needed to ensure that pharmacist prescribing is appropriately and effectively implemented in a way that integrates with the health system, the healthcare team and optimises outcomes for our patients believes Dr Lisa Nissen, Professor, School of Clinical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology.

Dr Nissen was commenting after the public release this week of the report of the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway (HPPP) project. The HPPP, endorsed by all State and Territory Health Ministers last week, sets out five steps to safe and competent prescribing by all health professionals, including pharmacists.

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December 2013 PBS schedule : 19/11/2013 :

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS ‘Summary of Changes’

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Pharmacist confidence level drops : 19/11/2013 :

The third UTS Pharmacy Barometer, released on Monday 18 November, suggests that community pharmacists' level of confidence in the future viability of their industry has declined in the last 12 months.

The UTS Pharmacy Barometer is designed to track the perceptions of pharmacists’ business confidence and, for the current (September 2013) Barometer, was based on a pharmacist survey sample of 226. The September 2013 score was 61.2, compared to the October 2012 result of 86). The weighted score is in the range 0 to 200, where 200 represents maximum confidence and 100 a neutral score.

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Consumer expectations of antibiotics needs reshaping : 19/11/2013 :

Marking the start of Antibiotic Awareness Week, NPS MedicineWise is urging all health professionals to pledge their commitment to preserve the miracle of antibiotics and re-shape consumer expectations of these lifesaving medicines.

Antibiotic resistance is globally recognised as one of the greatest threats to human health today and Clinical Advisor at NPS MedicineWise, Dr Philippa Binns, says all health professionals need to be champions for the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics.

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HWA report on non medical prescribing published : 19/11/2013 :

The final report of Health Workforce Australia's Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway (HPPP) Project has been published on the HWA website.

The HPPP, endorsed by all State and Territory Health Ministers last week, sets out five steps to safe and competent prescribing by all health professionals, including pharmacists.

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New ezetimibe / atorvastatin combo pack PBS listed : 19/11/2013 :

From 1 December 2013, a new ezetimibe / atorvastatin composite pack will be PBS listed for patients with hypercholesterolaemia at high risk of heart disease whose cholesterol is uncontrolled on a statin.

The new ATOZET Composite Pack, manufactured by MSD, contains two tablets side by side in the one pack. The calendar-pack format aims to simplify administration as the two separate medications are packed together. This is designed to support compliance by helping patients on dual therapy to remember to take both tablets at the same time.

The Composite Pack will attract one PBS co-payment instead of the two previously required for the separate packs.

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Rigby: pharmacists need to 'contribute more to society' : 18/11/2013 :

Australia's ageing population with its increasing burden of chronic disease and high rate of medication-related problems creates an environment where pharmacists need to contribute more to society than just a dispensing role believes prominent Brisbane based consultant clinical pharmacist, Debbie Rigby.

Her comments were included in a article published in the October issue of Health Voices, the journal of the Consumer's Health Forum of Australia (CHF).

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J&J picks up awards for Nicorette QuickMist : 18/11/2013 :

Johnson & Johnson’s Nicorette QuickMist took out the top award at last Friday's ASMI Diamond Awards in Sydney. The smoking cessation mouth spray was named Overall ‘Supreme’ Winner for 2013 and also received the award for Best New Product Launch.

The ASMI Diamond Awards were presented across six categories: Best New Product Launch, Best Large Budget Campaign (>$500k), Best Small Budget Campaign (<$500k), Best Healthcare Professional Campaign, Quality Use of Medicines and Overall ‘Supreme’ Winner.

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CHF at odds with Guild on chemo funding : 18/11/2013 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) disagrees with the Pharmacy Guild's view that ongoing funding for chemotherapy services should not come from within the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement funding pool.

CHF spokesperson Mark Metherell said on Friday “This issue has been the subject of intensive lobbying in which cancer patients have been threatened with withdrawal of treatment by some chemotherapy providers who have demanded more money on top of funding arrangements already agreed to between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild.”

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Correction : 18/11/2013 :

In last Friday's story on chemotherapy funding, we included the image at right. We were subsequently contacted by a 'lister who wrote:

'I wonder how many oncology pharmacists would take issue with this picture? Whilst the picture may not be of a chemo vial, cytotoxic chemotherapy (I hope) would never be drawn up in this way – it’s one of the reasons we need extra fees for the service we provide. The picture doesn’t do our particular sector of the industry any favours."

We apologise for our ignorance and thank our correspondent for alerting us to our error.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Everolimus for receptor-positive advanced breast cancer : 18/11/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Everolimus for receptor-positive advanced breast cancer.

"It is estimated that each year 220,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. In Australia in 2013 nearly 15,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer of all types. One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they turn 85 and it has been estimated that in 2020 approximately 17,201 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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Facebook common amongst pharmacists, Twitter less so : 15/11/2013 :

No great surprises in this week's poll result which reveals that 2/3 of respondents use Facebook either 'a bit' or 'a lot' but only 17%, or about one in six, have taken to Twitter.

1/3 of respondents told us they don't use Facebook or Twitter at all and 'have no plans to'. Only 2% of non users said they were planning to engage with the social media platforms 'soon'.

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ASMI 2013 Conference : 15/11/2013 :

The importance of industry, policymakers and regulators putting the consumer front and centre of discussions on Australia’s future health system was a key theme of the 2013 Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference in Sydney yesterday.

“This conference has drawn an array of local and international speakers to share insights on the modern-day health consumer in the context of self care, healthcare shopping habits, complementary medicines, regulatory reform and social media. Importantly, it has highlighted some of the forces that are driving quite dramatic changes to the way that the consumer healthcare industry does business and interacts with consumers,” said ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie.

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40% of doctors reassessing statin prescribing : 15/11/2013 :

A poll in online doctor publication Australian Doctor has found that over 40% of doctors are reassessing the need for statins in their patients in light of the recent ABC TV Catalyst programs which questioned their role in cardiovascular disease prevention.

25% of all respondents said they were reassessing the need for statins in all their patients on statins with a further 16% saying they were only doing so if asked to do so by their patients. 59% said the Catalyst programs has not had any impact on their decision to prescribe statins.

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Progress on chemotherapy funding? : 15/11/2013 :

During Question Time in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, Minister for Health Peter Dutton said that the Coalition will be ensuring that the current uncertainty around the funding of chemotherapy services is addressed so that services to cancer patients are not put at risk.

The interim $60 per infusion funding provided by the previous Labor Government to address the chemotherapy shortfall ceases on 31 December 2013.

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AusPharm CPD: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin CPD Digest - Issue No 65 : 14/11/2013 :

The next in our 2013 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 65.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 51-11 → 52-2 (September 2013).

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