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AusPharm news

PBS website goes mobile : 28/01/2014 :

The Department of health has launched a smart phone and tablet version of the PBS website.

Users of mobile devices now have the option to view either the standard or mobile versions of the PBS Website.

The mobile version can be accessed directly via m.pbs.gov.au.

Visiting http://www.pbs.gov.au on most handheld devices will automatically redirect to the mobile version of the site.

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'Snake oil' campaigner also honoured : 28/01/2014 :

Another recipient of an OAM in the General Division of the Order of Australia was Loretta Marron. Loretta is a three-time winner of Australian Skeptics’ Skeptic of the Year award - her Australia Day honour is for "service to community health”.

Loretta has made great contributions to public health by taking on the more dubious aspects of the billion-dollar therapeutic goods industry, the government, supermarkets and pharmacies.

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Professor Andrew Gilbert, two other pharmacists honoured : 28/01/2014 :

South Australian pharmacist, Emeritus Professor Andrew Gilbert, has been made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours awards.

The award was bestowed for 'significant service to pharmacy as an educator, researcher and administrator, and to professional organisations'.

Professor Gilbert was the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Pharmacist of the Year in 2005 and in 2011 was the recipient of a PSA Lifetime Achievement Award. He has an international reputation for his research and consultancy work in areas of medicines policy and health practice change. He has been a member of countless professional committees and reference groups.

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'Listers remain opposed to S3 advertising, Guild, PSA offer support (with conditions) : 24/01/2014 :

Following the latest push by the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) for regulatory reform that would allow direct to consumer advertising of S3 medicines, we polled 'listers to see what they thought.

Two thirds of respondents to this week's poll on the issue said direct to consumer advertising of Schedule 3 products should not be allowed. The majority of this group (42% of all respondents) thought that potent therapeutic products, be they S3 or S4, shouldn`t be advertised with 25% of all respondents saying advertsing should not be allowed because it would be 'too hard to say no to inappropriate requests for a particular product'.

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Consumers Health Forum puts foot in mouth on S3 advertising : 24/01/2014 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) yesterday put both feet firmly in its mouth when it issued a statement - Advertising pain killers a deadly idea - saying it strongly opposed calls from the Australian Self Medication Industry and the Pharmacy Guild for the easing of restrictions on the advertising of OTC codeine containing analgesics.

“The combination of these drugs is addictive and potentially dangerous in large doses. The advertising proposal sounds like giving vampires directions to the blood bank,” says CHF spokesman, Mark Metherell.

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Guild: re-invest 'a fraction' of price disclosure savings into pharmacy transformation : 24/01/2014 :

In the leadup to the May federal budget the Pharmacy Guild says there is a need to build a greater understanding amongst politicians of the critical role of pharmacies as trusted health care destinations.

Writing in the Guild's Forefront publication Guild Executive Director David Quilty highlighted that, around the world, pharmacies are becoming much more than simply the place that people go to get their scripts filled.

"They are becoming a central part of a more integrated and holistic approach to primary health care," he said.

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January CPD catchup: Update on Vitamin D deficiency : 23/01/2014 :

With Vitamin D being seemingly constantly in the news, we thought you might like to take a look at another of our more popular 2013 CPD activities - Update on Vitamin D deficiency, authored by Debbie Rigby and first published in April 2013.

Vitamin D is critical for bone health. Vitamin D deficiency causes impaired calcium absorption which can lead to rickets and osteomalacia. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is associated with osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

A large body of observational evidence suggests that low vitamin D levels are associated with extraskeletal sequelae including increased risks of cancer (especially colon, prostate, and breast cancer), psychiatric and cardiovascular disease, infection, metabolic diseases and autoimmune disease.

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Psychopharmacology : Practice and Contexts : 23/01/2014 :

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New generic medicines fact sheet : 23/01/2014 :

The Commonwealth Health Department has published a new generic medicines fact sheet for consumers.

It describes what generic medicines are, their relationship to originator brand medicines and whether or not patients are required to accept generics rather than the original brand. It also contains outlinks to a range of related information.

The Generic prescription medicines: Information for consumers Fact Sheet is available on the Department of Health website, here.

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Measles on the rise - NPS MedicineWise urging parents to check kids' immunisation status : 23/01/2014 :

Following a recent spate of measles cases being reported in a number of Australian states, NPS MedicineWise is asking parents to check whether their children’s immunisations are up to date before they head back to school next week.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden said “Widespread vaccination has made measles a relatively rare infection in Australia, but outbreaks can still occur and we have seen some cases here in recent months,” he says.

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Poll: Should direct to consumer advertising of ALL Schedule 3 products be allowed? : 22/01/2014 :

The idea of reforming the regulatory framework around the advertising of therapeutic goods to allow for direct to consumer advertising of Schedule 3 products has been around for years.

Then PSA National president Warwick Plunkett advocated for this back in 2011. Just this week, the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), as part of its 2014 Budget submission, proposed the implementation of a regulatory model that would permit 'consumer communication' in relation to Schedule 3  (Pharmacist Only) medicines.

What do you think? Should direct to consumer advertising of Schedule 3 products be allowed? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Mystery object number 2 - the winner is... : 21/01/2014 :

Yesterday we posted a picture of a mystery object and said that we'd reward the 'lister who provided the 'best' explanation of the object is with one of our schmicko AusPharm keyring torches.

The winner is Tony Lee who told us "Amyl nitrate (iosamyl nitrate) wrapped glass ampoules sometimes termed poppers. Correct use in heart conditions such as angina as a potent vasodilator, and lowers BP + a source of wonderful nitric oxide. Also an antidote to cyanide poisoning.

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Company defends Souvenaid after negative NPS assessment : 21/01/2014 :

Souvenaid manufacturer Nutricia has hit back at the findings of a recent NPS analysis of the product which found that there is no evidence it has any effect in decreasing the rate of cognitive decline or delaying Alzheimer's Disease progression.

The company says it 'strongly refutes' the conclusions drawn in the article in relation to the clinical evidence that supports Souvenaid use in people with early Alzheimer’s disease.

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CW / MC group 16th most powerful Australian retailer : 21/01/2014 :

Sam Gance and the Chemist Warehouse / My Chemist group has come in at number 16 on the 2013 Inside Retail Magazine Top 50 Most Powerful Retailers list.

Topping the list is Woolworths, followed by the Coles Food and Liquor group. Westfield and Harvey Norman come in at third and fourth respectively. Terry White Chemists is ranked 46th.

The full list is here.

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Mystery object number 2 - win an AusPharm torch : 20/01/2014 :

Last week's mystery object competition was very popular so we thought we'd do it again this week.

Once again, we'll reward the 'lister who provides the 'best' explanation of what today's mystery object with one of our schmicko AusPharm keyring torches. 'Best' explanation need not necessarily be the most accurate - we'll choose the one that most appeals to us for whatever reason!

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Romosozumab : 20/01/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Romosozumab.

"Osteoporosis is a common problem in post-menopausal women and elderly men. The most widely used medications for osteoporosis prevention and treatment are the bisphosophonates. While these agents are effective in reducing fracture risk, there is concern over their long term use relating to the possible risk of atypical fractures associated with long-term inhibition of bone turnover. There have also been reports of atypical fractures with denosumab, as early as 2½ years into therapy. Strontium and teriparatide are two agents on the market that increase bone formation; however potential side effects have also resulted in cautious use of these agents."

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

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ASMI seeks to establish Australian Self Care Alliance : 20/01/2014 :

In its 2014/15 Federal Budget Submission – to be presented to government today - the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) will lobby for the establishment of an Australian Self Care Alliance.

The Alliance should  be a multi-stakeholder policy think tank, with the participation of Government, to provide an authoritative source of information on the issue of self care and ways in which it can help people take on greater personal and shared responsibility for their health, says ASMI.

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WA Bushfire Emergency - temporary PBS arrangements for fire-affected zones : 20/01/2014 :

The Department of Health has introduced temporary arrangements to assist residents and pharmacists in fire-affected areas in WA to maintain medicine supplies.

The document: Advice for approved pharmacists supplying PBS medicines to patients in areas affected by bushfire in WA includes details on how pharmacists can manage additional supplies for residents whose medicine and prescriptions have been lost in the current bushfire emergency.

The temporary arrangements will apply until at least 16 February 2014.

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APC now able to accredit non Australian pharmacy degree programs : 20/01/2014 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has announced that it is now able to accredit non Australian pharmacy degree programs.

The Council can accredit international programs either for the purpose of assuring the quality of those programs that are formally linked to Australian / New Zealand APC accredited pharmacy programs or as an independent, international quality improvement review.

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External causes responsible for most deaths in younger age groups, chronic disease in older : 17/01/2014 :

The most common causes of death vary substantially at different ages, according to new analysis released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The AIHW Deaths snapshot presents the latest data on deaths in Australia including information on age at death, trends over time, causes of death and life expectancy.

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