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Online poll

2015-07-01 : Poll: Should direct to consumer advertising of Schedule 3 products be allowed?
Yes, advertisers have a right to promote their products
Yes, but the guidelines would need to be very carefully written
Yes, this has the potential to enhance the role of the pharmacist
Yes, for all of the reasons above
No way, too hard to say no to inappropriate requests for a particular product
No, potent therapeutic products, be they S3 or S4, shouldn`t be advertised

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AusPharm news

PDL comes out in support of conference rationalisation : 03/09/2014 :

Pharmaceutical Defence Ltd (PDL) - a major supporter of pharmacy conferences, events and activities - has come out in support of a proposal floated yesterday by the President of the Australian College of Pharmacy, Patrick Reid, calling for a consolidation of minor pharmacy conferences into an annual 'Pharmacy General Assembly'.

PDL said yesterday it believes improved calendar planning and event scheduling could benefit the pharmacy profession and that it 'embraces the opportunity to engage in dialogue for meaningful change in relation to national conference structuring'.

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Preparations for Advanced Pharmacy Practice progressing : 02/09/2014 :

The results of the first round of public consultations on the Advanced Pharmacy Practice (APC) recognition model were published last week on the APC website.

The APC Advanced Practice Credentialing Committee considered the feedback to the consultation paper released in May and have extracted the key issues identified.

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Location rules exist for good reason – if you’re a Guild pharmacist : 02/09/2014 :

A fortnight ago today we ran a cracker of an article from former Guild Executive Director Stephen Greenwood in which he defended the pharmacy Location Rules saying they were 'gold dust' for government.

In AusPharm tomorrow co-author of the 2000 Wilkinson (Pharmacy Ownership) Review and author of the proposal that started the current GP co-payment debate, Terry Barnes, puts the counter view.

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Dose administration aids: a growth opportunity : 02/09/2014 :

Australia's rapidly ageing population is the driver behind the growth opportunities in dose administration aid services, John Chapman reminded the audience at this year's ACP conference in Hobart, before going on to outline the opportunities and watch-outs in DAA service provision.

Peak use of DAAs is within the 65 - 84 year age group explained John, and compliance improvements when a dose administration aid is used range from 14 to 43%. If this scale of compliance improvement were to be translated to larger dispensing volumes, increased revenue, and improved health outcomes, it would be substantial.

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Australian pharmacists honoured by FIP : 02/09/2014 :

Three Australian pharmacists have been honoured for their contribution to pharmacy at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (FIP Congress), currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

Heading the list was Professor William (Bill) Charman, pictured at right, who received a Lifetime achievement award in recognition and acknowledgement of the contribution he has made, over many years, to the development of the pharmaceutical sciences.

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MTX deaths not confined to Australia : 02/09/2014 :

A new Zealand man with rheumatoid arthritis has died after a GP incorrectly prescribed a daily rather than weekly dose of methotrexate. The dispensing pharmacy did not pick up the error. The man died one month after starting the daily dose from gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

The NZ death follows a number of similar cases in Australia highlighted in a recent Pharmacy Board communique.

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Apple juice and atenolol, don't mix : 01/09/2014 :

Tasmania, the former apple isle, was an appropriate backdrop to learning about the hazards of taking medication with apple juice at the recent ACP annual conference in Hobart  - as Geraldine Moses, pictured below, quipped, "grapefruit juice is so yesterday."

Recent research has identified other pathways for significant interactions between medications and various juices. Drug transport proteins, responsible for pumping substances either into (organic anion transport proteins, OPs) or out of (P-glycoproteins) of different body compartments, when blocked, can result in substantial effects on drug levels. A new nomenclature has been developed by a WHO committee to classify the various human drug transporter proteins.

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Artists and pharmacists all - ACP Hobart : 01/09/2014 :

Hobart turned on some beautifully clear southern weather for the 125 or so delegates at the Australian College of Pharmacy (ACP) annual conference and exhibition over the weekend.

Current ACP president Patrick Reid, pictured above opening the conference, affirmed that professional education must be meaningful and that participants need to feel they are seeing a return on their investment in education. Patrick said that, under his presidency, ACP will seek to avoid the trap of "yum cha" educational offerings... lots of it, readily consumable, but of low nutritional value to the brain - to help tailor learning to individual practical needs.

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Congratulations Lloyd Smith, ACP Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant 2014 : 01/09/2014 :

Congratulations to Lloyd Smith of CHC Pharmacy in Coffs Harbour upon being awarded the IMS Health - ACP Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant for 2014.

The scholarship was announced on Sunday at the Australian College of Pharmacy annual conference in Hobart, by Chris Cochran, IMS Health General Manager (Aust/NZ). In making the award, he highlighted Lloyd's pharmacy work in mental health education and destigmatisation, and clinics to bring medication services to homeless and other marginalised groups in the local community through working with Uniting Care / Medicare Local.

In accepting the award, Lloyd acknowledged the role of his partners and team in the innovative work of CHC Pharmacy. One of a number of striking aspects of CHC pharmacy's approach is that they don't wait for the customers to come through the door of the pharmacy, but in partnership with local community groups participate in outreach activities. "Innovation is about taking action. Commercialisation and an idea, when put together, can result in a great change."

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No increase in Board fees for 2014/15 : 01/09/2014 :

Pharmacy Board registration fees for 2014/15 will remain the same as in 2013/14 - $317.

The fee will apply to most pharmacists for the period 1 December 2014 to 30 November 2015.

"The Board has worked hard to ensure that the fee is set at the lowest practicable level, while still ensuring that it can fulfil its obligations as a national regulator," said  Stephen Marty, Board Chair.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Australian Asthma Handbook: key changes from 2006 edition : 01/09/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Australian Asthma Handbook: key changes from 2006 edition.

"Assessment of asthma severity at the time of diagnosis is no longer recommended. Severity of asthma can now only be assessed after treatment has been initiated, and is now defined by the type/intensity of treatment required to achieve good control. For example, a patient who has good asthma control using a regular low dose of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) would have mild asthma, whereas a patient needing a regular high dose of an ICS and a long acting beta2 agonist (LABA) to maintain good asthma control would be classified as having severe asthma. Assessment of the pattern of asthma (e.g. infrequent or frequent intermittent asthma or mild, moderate or severe persistent asthma) is no longer recommended (and initial preventer treatment is no longer based on this classification of asthma). Instead, recent asthma control, risk factors for flare-ups & possible medication-related adverse effects, need to be assessed."

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

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FIP gets a new President : 01/09/2014 :

Spanish pharmacist Carmen Peña has been elected President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Her election was confirmed at the 2014 FIP Congress, currently underway in Bangkok.

Dr Peña, a community pharmacist from Madrid, has served FIP for over 20 years including as a Vice-President since 2008. She is currently President of the General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain, which represents over 65,000 pharmacists.

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Pharmacists love to chat : 29/08/2014 :

Almost all respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us they spend time 'chatting with the customers' in their pharmacies.

Only a small proportion - 14% of the total - said they "rarely have time' to do this. A tiny 3% ticked the 'Are you kidding? Who has time to chat? ' option.

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Profession wide concern expressed at in-pharmacy price promotion of medicines : 29/08/2014 :

Umbrella Australian pharmacy group *The Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) has endorsed concerns expressed on AusPharm recently by PSA National President Grant Kardachi that in-pharmacy 'price promotion [of medicines] may trivialise risks associated with some medicines and act against pharmacists’ image and status as ‘Health Advisors’.

In a communique issued yesterday following its June meeting, APLF says it believes such practices may also challenge the profession's Codes of Ethics (see below).

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Old formulation oxycodone generics could put pharmacists at risk : 29/08/2014 :

The Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) has also expressed concern about the possible reintroduction into the Australian marketplace of non-tamperproof sustained release (SR) oxycodone generics.

Oxycontin maker Mundipharm released a tamper resistant version of the product in Australia in April 2014 and, at present, this is the only SR version available. However, new generic versions of the old non-tamperproof sustained release (SR) oxycodone have been registered on the Australian register of Therapeutic Goods although these are not yet in the marketplace and are not PBS listed.

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PSA looking for input on professional services future : 28/08/2014 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has launched a major survey that looks to gather information to help PSA position the profession for the delivery of more evidence-based professional services in the future.

PSA CEO, Dr Lance Emerson, said the PSA was looking at the role of professional services in the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and also in other areas such as through pharmacists working in GP practices where PSA and the Australian Medical Association are already working collaboratively.

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Public Consultation on PBS Authority scripts : 28/08/2014 :

The federal Department of Health is conducting a public consultation on the PBS Authority prescription framework.

As pharmacists are aware, prescribers are required to request approval either in writing or via phone to prescribe these items under the PBS, as opposed to an Authority Required (Streamlined) listing which simply requires a prescriber to enter a four digit approval number relating to a specific indication.

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AusPharm CPD: New Australian asthma guidelines : 28/08/2014 :

The next in our 2014 series of continuing professional development activities is New Australian asthma guidelines. It has been put together for AusPharm by Debbie Rigby.

"The National Asthma Council 2014 Australian Asthma Handbook was released in May, with important changes that every pharmacist should be aware of. The new guidelines are only available on-line at www.asthmahandbook.org.au."

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A 'real buzz in the room' at APC Colloquium : 28/08/2014 :

Over 100 people attended the Australian Pharmacy Council’s 2014 Colloquium - Mysteries of Time and Space: Preparing future practitioners for patient-centred care - held in Brisbane last week (Tuesday 19 August).

Delegates came from all over Australia and New Zealand and included pharmacy students and young pharmacists.

They heard from a variety of local and international speakers including Registrar of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, Marshall Moleschi, who spoke about the Canadian journey towards patient-centred care.

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TGA Consultation: Medicine labelling : 28/08/2014 :

The TGA is seeking comments from interested parties on proposed changes to the general labelling requirements for medicines.

The consultation is a follow up to a 2012 review that looked at whether the requirements for labels for medicines, which have been in place since 2001, continue to be relevant to the objectives of the National Medicines Policy.

Details of the consultation are here. The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 7 October 2014.

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