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AusPharm news

SHPA: 7 days/week clinical pharmacy services needed in hospitals : 12/11/2013 :

A recent study published in BMJ Quality and Safety showed that patients admitted to hospital on weekends have a significantly increased risk of death and are also likely to require multiple medicines and be most at risk of medicine-related problems.

In an editorial in SHPA's Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research last year Professor Jo-anne Brien highlighted this issue after the publication of an English study which found that admission on a weekend was associated with a considerable increase in risk of subsequent death compared to admission on a weekday. She urged pharmacists “to consider the possible impact of delays and potential ‘gaps’ in our capacity to respond to clinical risks for our patients”.

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 11/11/2013 :

The MIMS November 2013 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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Take the pledge. Join the fight against antibiotic resistance : 11/11/2013 :

Antibiotic Awareness Week : 18-24 November 2013

Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global initiative encouraging health professionals and the wider community to learn more about antibiotic resistance and the importance of taking these life-saving medicines appropriately.

NPS Medicinewise is asking consumers, policy-makers, and professionals across the agricultural, veterinary and health sectors to band together to preserve the miracle of antibiotics by pledging to join the fight against antibiotic resistance.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Micronutrients and age-related macular degeneration : 11/11/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Micronutrients and age-related macular degeneration.

"Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the retina that causes progressive, painless loss of central vision, affecting the ability to see fine detail, drive, read and recognise faces. Dry AMD accounts for the majority of cases and is characterised by the formation of drusen; yellow accumulations of extracellular material that deposit under the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Over time the RPE may become detached and atrophic, causing vision impairment."

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

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More on statins : 11/11/2013 :

For those 'listers who haven't yet got their heads firmly around the evidence for the use of statins in cardiovascular disease, a great review article, Worried about taking statins? Here’s what you need to know, was published on media website The Conversation on Friday. Read it here.

The ABC also published a related feature, Diet and saturated fat: what to believe?, on its Health and Wellbeing website last week. Take a look here.

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Pharmacists, doctors not included in new health professional rating website : 11/11/2013 :

Pharmacists are not one of the health professionals listed on private health insurer nib's newly launched whitecoat.com.au website that gives consumers the ability to rate the service they receive from health professionals.

Health professionals who are listed on the website include dentists, physiotherapists, optometrists and dieticians. Also included are homeopaths, Shiatsu therapists and Bowen therapists. Doctors, like pharmacists, are not included.

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Most pharmacists fielding questions on statins : 08/11/2013 :

76% of respondents to this week's poll report that they have been asked about statin use since their role in lowering cardiovascular risk was questioned on last week's ABC TV episode of Catalyst.

17% of poll respondents - or about one in six of those voting in our poll - said they'd fielded 'lots' of questions.

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Pharmacy Board to look at regulating technicians, pharmacy assistants : 08/11/2013 :

The Pharmacy Board is to develop a paper on the possible regulation of pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians.

It lists the development of the paper as one of the Board's 2013/14 deliverables in an Agreement published this week that describes and defines the relationship between itself and parent body the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for 2013/14.

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Proposed self education expenses tax deduction cap scrapped : 07/11/2013 :

Federal Treasuer Joe Hockey announced yesterday that the $2000 tax deduction cap proposed by the former Labor government earlier this year will not be implemented.

Mr Hockey said he had been advised that there is no credible evidence of substantial abuse of this deduction. 

Both the the Pharmaceutical Society and Pharmacy Guild welcomed yesterday's announcement by Mr Hockey.

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Poll: are you fielding many questions about statins and cardiovascular risk? : 06/11/2013 :

Reaction to the recent ABC TV Catalyst programs, which played down the role of saturated fats in cardiovascular disease and questioned the role of statins in lowering CVD risk, continued over the  weekend.

Earlier this week, reports appeared in the medical press that GPs were being inundated by patients wanting to know whether they really need to be on statins. At the same time, former AMA President Kerryn Phelps advised the public via Twitter to consider stopping their statins. This week’s Health Report, with Norman Swan, discussed the Catalyst programs. An interesting analysis of them appeared on The Conversation. Rosemary Stanton’s article in this week’s MJA Insight is also well worth a read.

How has the reaction been in your pharmacy? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

(The two Catalyst programs can be viewed here – if you haven’t seen them, they’re worth a look).

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Year on year PBS costs decline : 06/11/2013 :

Total government PBS costs for financial year 2012/13 were $8.9 billion, $800 million less than budgeted and $500 million less than for financial year 2011/12. 197 million prescriptions were dispensed during the year, 2 million less than the 199 million forecast.

The figures are contained in the Health Department's Annual report, recently published on its website.

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Janssen hit with $1.7 billion in fines over off label promotion of Risperdal : 06/11/2013 :

The U.S. Department of Justice has fined Janssen Pharmaceuticals $400 million for promoting off label indications for its drug, Risperdal (risperidone). The company must also pay $1.25 billion under a separate civil settlement concerning the same drug. The combined criminal plea and civil settlement totals $1,673,024 billion.

The FDA approved Risperdal in 2002 for the treatment of schizophrenia and in 2003 for the short-term treatment of acute mania and for mixed episodes associated with Bipolar 1 Disorder. But Janssen began in March 2002 to market the drug for the treatment of agitation associated with dementia in the elderly, representing that Risperdal was safe and effective for this unapproved indication and subpopulation.

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Purpose built vaccine fridges for GP practices : 06/11/2013 :

According to Australian Doctor, the Department of Health is pushing for a national standard on vaccine storage that will require GP practices to purchase purpose-built fridges that are serviced and calibrated annually. A standard is yet to be drafted, but the RACGP is warning of 'considerable expenses' for GPs as a result.

...and pharmacies have had to have purpose built fridges for how long???

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Pharmacy Board Annual Report published : 05/11/2013 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has published its Annual Report for 2012/13.

The report details the range of activities undertaken by the Board during the year which, as well as its core activity of maintaining the Register of Pharmacists, included the review of a number of Board Guidelines and Standards and its participation in a second pilot audit of pharmacists’ compliance with mandatory registration standards.

The report also includes an abbreviated version of the Board's financial statements, the full financials being included in parent body AHPRA's financial statements.

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New MA Chairman, Martin Cross, takes up his post : 05/11/2013 :

New Medicines Australia Chairman, Dr Martin Cross, took up his post yesterday.  Medicines Australia announced Dr Cross's appointment in June.

“I’m delighted to be taking up this most important position for the medicines industry and the Australian community,” Dr Cross said.

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Consumer group generates a $1.4 million surplus : 05/11/2013 :

Peak consumer group, the Consumers Health Forum (CHF), has returned an operating surplus of $1.4 million for financial year 2012/13.

The number is disclosed in the organisation's Annual Report, published last week. CHF's revenue was $3.6 million and its expenditure $2.2 million.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Heterotrophic ossification a brief review : 04/11/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Heterotrophic ossification – a brief review.

"Heterotopic Ossification (HO) is the term used to refer to the formation of lamellar bone within soft tissue. There are three classifications of HO:

  • Post-traumatic; which may follow fractures, joint-dislocations, muscle tears, repeated minor-trauma or orthopaedic procedures.
  • Non-traumatic or neuorgenic; which can occur after spinal cord and central nervous system injury, head injuries, burns, strokes and brain tumours.
  • Myositis Ossificans/Fibrodysplasia Progressiva/Monchmeyer Disease; a rare, hereditary, autosomal dominant metabolic bone disease.

The first two classifications are the most common forms of HO.  The exact pathophysiology of HO is unknown, but it is thought that under the influence of an inducing factor, mesenchymal cells differentiate inappropriately into osteoblastic stem cells which can lie dormant in soft tissue and then turn into osteoblasts which begin bone formation under the right stimulus."

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

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Statins remains important: patient selection the key : 04/11/2013 :

Reaction to the recent ABC TV Catalyst programs, which played down the role of saturated fats in cardiovascular disease and questioned the role of statins in lowering CVD risk, continued over the weekend.

NPS Medicinewise said that that high blood cholesterol is one of several well established risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lowering levels of cholesterol, especially ’low density’ or LDL cholesterol,  plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular events.

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Eighth Guild National Student Business Plan Competition Launched : 04/11/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild has announced its National Student Business Plan Competition will roll out again in 2014. This will be the 8th time the competition has been run since its inception in 2006.

The competition is open to all students studying pharmacy in Australia and provides $12,000 in cash prizes to the finalists (top three teams) in addition to registration, flights and accommodation to attend the 2014 Pharmacy Business Network.

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Supply of carbimazole updated information : 04/11/2013 :

The TGA has published updated information on its website about the availability of carbimazole (Neo-mercazole), which has been and still is in short supply in Australia.

The advice details how pharmacists can obtain the drug for patients through the TGA’s Special Access Scheme and, also, has advice for patients taking Neo-mercazole.

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