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22/10/2014 : I would recommend pharmacy as a career to a senior secondary school student:
certainly, prospects are good
would depend on the individual student
no, employment prospects are bleak
no, job satisfaction is likely to be low
no, the pay is terrible
no, for all the reasons given above

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AusPharm news

WHO traditional medicine strategy - the next decade : 12/12/2013 :

The World Health Organisation's Traditional Medicine 2014-2023 Strategy was officially launched in Macau by Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, at the end of October 2013. Now available for download, the 78-page document sets a course over the next 10 years for delivering traditional and complementary medicines (T&CM) within existing healthcare delivery systems.

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WA SHPA 2013 Achievement Award to Bruce Williamson : 12/12/2013 :

Congratulations to Bruce Williamson (clinical pharmacist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital), on being awarded the SHPA 2013 Achievement Award from the WA Branch SHPA.

Bruce was the first pharmacist appointee in Western Australia to the role of Complex Care Coordinator Pharmacist to CoNeCT - the Complex Needs Coordination Team for the North Metropolitan Area Health Service. The CoNect program responds to the needs of complex patients who are frequent presenters to the acute hospital setting and often have extensive hospital admissions.  CoNect provides individually tailored service linkage, advocacy and support in the community.

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Tips for asthma sufferers over Christmas : 12/12/2013 :

The National Asthma Council of Australia has issued its seasonal reminder of Christmas asthma triggers, to help sufferers avoid unecessary wheezing and asthma episodes. Asthmatics are reminded:

  • that real pine trees can bear pollen which triggers asthma in some people; be aware of this and use artificial trees if this is the case.
  • to avoid dusty decorations and highly scented candles.
  • to vacuum artificial trees and decorations and unpack them outside if possible, wiping down artificial trees before putting them up inside. Store cleaned decorations in a sealed bag or box after Christmas, so they are less likely to be a problem next year.
  • to be aware that emotional ups and downs, including laughter and stress, can trigger wheezing.
  • to keep to their personal written asthma action plan and make sure medication supplies are sufficient and on hand even if out socialising or away travelling.

The asthma action plan can be stored on a smartphone and accessed via the Asthma Buddy iPhone and Android app. Visit for more information.

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Woody Point Pharmacy of The Year entrant showcased online : 12/12/2013 :

Queensland pharmacist Steve Flavel has taken an innovative approach to putting Woody Point pharmacy in the running for Pharmacy of the Year (POTY) 2014. 

He has created a website to showcase the pharmacy's credentials as an entrant in the POTY competition, capturing achievements in pharmacy services, community engagement and business management.


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Consumer Health Forum CEO to head up Medicare Local : 12/12/2013 :

Former CEO of the Consumers Health Forum and vocal critic of PBS price disclosure policy, Carol Bennett, is to take up a position as CEO of the Hunter Medicare Local. In the past, Ms Bennett has also been critical of the omission of consumers from negotiations for the Community Pharmacy Agreements. She will commence her new role in the New Year.

Commenting on Ms Bennett's appointment Hunter Medicare Local Board member, pharmacist Ben Wilkins, said, "Carol's ability to harness an overall unity of purpose will allow Hunter ML to continue to lead. Her skills will allow our organisation and its members to truly focus on delivering a new level of health care and wellbeing to benefit individuals in our community."

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AusPharm CPD: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin CPD Digest - Issue Number 66 : 12/12/2013 :

The next in our series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 66.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 52-3 → 52-6 (October 2013).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Describe various pharmacological options for the management of bipolar disorder
  • Discuss the influence of food intake upon drug disposition
  • Discuss principles of anticoagulant management in the perioperative period
  • Describe approaches to rationalisation of potentially inappropriate medications in the elderly.

This activity has been accredited for 0.5hr of Group One CPD (0.5 CPD Credits) that may be converted to 1 Group Two CPD Credit upon successful completion of the corresponding assessment for inclusion on an individual pharmacist's CPD Record.
Accreditation number: A1312AP1.

 AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS.

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Table of significant events in Australian vaccination history : 11/12/2013 :

The history of vaccination in Australia is captured in summary tables published by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Given the imminent entry of pharmacists into the vaccination space in a more active role, these tables provide some interesting perspective. The history of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccination in Australia starts from 1892 with the first use of antitoxin to treat diphtheria. With a somewhat more recent pedigree,  flu vaccine history commences with interventions in 1991.

The NCIRS was established at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, (predecessor of The Children's Hospital, Westmead), by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing in August 1997. The Centre is affiliated with the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health and the School of Public Health of the University of Sydney and currently has a staff of around 55 people.

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Poll: what would be an appropriate weekly fee for managing all aspects of a patient's dose administration aid? : 11/12/2013 :

Following the recent discussion on AusPharmList (and last week's poll) we thought it timely to try and get a sense of what value pharmacists put on their time and skill set.

One task common to most pharmacies is the preparation of a Websterpak (or similar dose administration aid [DAA]).

In a perfect world where pharmacy is able to charge a realistic fee for managing a patient's DAA, including maintaining a current medication profile, organising prescriptions, communicating with the medical practice re: required prescriptions and up to date profiles, packing, repacking, checking, handing out or delivering and paying for materials, what would an appropriate fee be to cover all of the costs and make a reasonable profit?

Please let us know what you think by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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December NPS RADAR now out : 10/12/2013 :

The December issue of RADAR is now available on the NPS Medicinewise website.  It contains reviews of:

  • Dapagliflozin (Forxiga) & canagliflozin (Invokana) SGLT2 inhibitors for add-on therapy in type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Fluticasone propionate with eformoterol fumarate (Flutiform) for asthma
  • Olmesartan with amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide (Sevikar HCT) triple fixed-dose combination for hypertension
  • Ivabradine (Coralan) for chronic heart failure

as well as a number of 'in brief' news items.

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Pharmacy Board emphasises integrity of pharmacist's role : 10/12/2013 :

In its most recent communiqué, the Pharmacy Board of Australia reminds pharmacists that action by non-pharmacists (such as managerial staff) which impinges on their ability to meet their legal and ethical responsibilities may be subject to action under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. The board has been contacted by pharmacists with instances of interference in day-to-day pharmacy practice, such as:

  • determining location of sale of scheduled pharmacy items;
  • supply of generic prescription brands; and
  • advertising of health services and therapeutic goods.

The Board also draws pharmacists’ attention to s136 of the National Law which outlines the serious consequences for an individual or corporate entity who directs or incites a pharmacist to do anything in the course of practising pharmacy that amounts to unprofessional conduct.

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Debbie Rigby to chair new SHPA Accredited Pharmacists Reference Group : 10/12/2013 :

Well-known consultant clinical pharmacist Debbie Rigby has been appointed to chair SHPA’s new Accredited Pharmacists Reference Group (APRG). In announcing the appointment, SHPA President Prof Michael Dooley said “Under her leadership this group will consolidate SHPA’s support for pharmacists who provide medication reviews, and guide SHPA and our members through changes in pharmacy practice such as a post-discharge hospital referral pathway for HMRs, which is on the horizon.”

The formation of the Accredited Pharmacists Reference Group was announced in October 2013 and the SHPA Federal Council has since been inviting suitable candidates to join the group. Other members of the APRG include Deirdre Criddle, Manya Angley, Peter Tenni, Helen Dowling, Michael Dooley, Sasha Bennett, Ian Coombes, Sue Driscoll, Sue Kirsa along with Rebecca Vassarotti (Consumers Health Forum, Acting CEO) and Pradeep Jayasuriya (GP, Perth).

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Retail sales up for Priceline : 10/12/2013 :

API has reported that retail sales in its Priceline /Priceline Pharmacy stores (excluding dispensary sales) for the 13 weeks to 30 November 2013 (1st quarter) were up 8.2% on the same period last year. Stephen Roche, API Managing Director said “This was a pleasing start to the year and reflects the continued trend of stronger retail sales experienced by API following the September election."

API's AGM is scheduled for 30 Jan 2014.

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Training in vaccine & injection techniques : 10/12/2013 :

Further to reading the AusPharm e-newsletter today, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (NSW Branch) are pleased to advise that on Saturday 22 February 2014 at the CPD by the SEA – NSW Convention, we will be providing a Full Day Workshop for the 4th Year for Vaccine & Injection Techniques.

This full day workshop prepares pharmacists to obtain the required initial skills to administer a Vaccine or drug by intradermal or subcutaneous injection for the prevention of disease, disorders or conditions and for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Pharmacists will practice injecting techniques and be assessed for their competency to inject by an Accredited Registered Nurse.

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Guild: union 'plain wrong' on overtime and penalty rates : 10/12/2013 :

Comments made by Professional Pharmacists Australia President Geoff March earlier today about overtime and penalty rates are just 'plain wrong' according to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

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New dextropropoxyphene supply rules to come into effect 1 January, 2014 : 09/12/2013 :

On 1 November we reported that the new conditions around the supply by pharmacists of the dextropropoxyphene containing pain-killers Di-Gesic and Doloxene were required to be implemented by product sponsor, Aspen Pharmaceuticals, by 7 January 2014.

The company has now announced that the implementation date will be 1 January 2014. Prior to that date, scripts should be written in the usual way for scheduled (S4) products.

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Sigma sells Melbourne property : 09/12/2013 :

Major pharmacy wholesaler, Sigma, announced on Friday that, in July 2014, it expects to complete the sale of a property it owns at Centre Rd, Clayton for a sale price of just over $25 million.

The company says it expects to book a one off profit of between $8 to $10 million from the sale to Cedar Woods Limited.

Cedar Woods will be using the site for a residential development.

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NPS Medicinewise, AusDoc publish statin, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol FAQs : 09/12/2013 :

With statins continuing to make headlines last week, NPS MedicineWise announced on Friday that it has reviewed the latest clinical evidence and published a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address people’s concerns.

The questions and answers range from how a statin medicine can help and who should be prescribed them, to the side effects statins can cause and what the evidence is behind their use.

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Pharmacist appointed to Ministerial Advisory Council : 09/12/2013 :

Canberra pharmacist Patrick Reid, CEO of Leading Aged Services Australia, has been appointed as one of five new experts to the ACT Government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing.

ACT Branch President of the Society, Associate Professor Greg Kyle, said the appointment was significant.

"Having Patrick Reid as a member of the council brings the expertise of the CEO of the age services peak body, combined with that of a pharmacist, to the table in this very important area," Associate Professor Kyle said.

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Pharmacy organisations welcome Board ruling on pharmacist immunisation : 09/12/2013 :

Both the Pharmacy Guild and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have reacted favourably to last week's announcement by the Pharmacy Board that it considers vaccination to be within the current scope of practice of a pharmacist.

Both groups highlighted that there was strong evidence to support the provision of vaccination services by pharmacists and that this was already the practice in many overseas countries.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Abiraterone for castration-resistant prostate cancer : 09/12/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Abiraterone for castration-resistant prostate cancer.

"For locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), either surgically (bilateral orchiedectomy) achieved or medically via the use of GNRH agonists or GNRH antagonists either alone or in combination with antiandrogens, is usually considered first line treatment. Although a significant proportion of patients achieve castration-consistent levels of testosterone, most hormone dependent cancers become refractory to therapy after a period of time, and are known as “castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)” or “hormone refractory”. While they are no longer responsive to the initial ADT regimes, these cancers still show some reliance upon androgen-based pathways to drive tumour growth."

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

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