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AusPharm news

Guild responds to latest Dunlevy spray against pharmacies : 12/06/2013 :

'Listers may have seen journalist Sue Dunlevy's latest story 'Chemists take advantage of inflated prices under PBS' in News Ltd papers on Monday. It is effectively the same story published under her byline several times over the last 12 months (eg here, here, here, and here).

"Consumers could save over $18 per script on the cholesterol lowering medicine atorvastatin if the scheme allowed them to pay the market price for the drug instead of an inflated price that lines the pockets of chemists."

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Poll: do you have reservations about supplying Indian prescription drugs? : 12/06/2013 :

Some 'listers will have been following the recent (mis)fortunes of Indian generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy.

The company's problems began when the FDA banned the importation of pharmaceuticals from two of Ranbaxy's Indian plants, then last year Ranbaxy had to recall its generic atorvastatin after glass particles were discovered in some packs. Last month, the company pleaded guilty in the US to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs and making false statements to the U.S. government.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Rifaximin in the Prevention of Hepatic Encephalopathy : 11/06/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Rifaximin in the Prevention of Hepatic Encephalopathy.

"Liver disease affects more than two million Australians, and statistics show that over two thousand Australians die each year from chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer. Liver damage can be attributed to a number of public health issues including high-fat diet, alcohol consumption and viral hepatitis. One of the major causes of complications in this patient group is hepatic encephalopathy (HE). Hepatic encephalopathy is a syndrome of neurological complications that can manifest as altered mental status, impaired sensory capabilities, and psychomotor problems and, in severe cases, coma. Diagnosis is made based on impaired function. Signs of neuromotor impairment include rigidity, hyperreflexia, rigidity and asterixis -a tremor of the hand when wrists are extended said to resemble the flapping of bird wings, although not specific for liver disease."

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

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7.30 picks up hospital pharmacist resignations story : 11/06/2013 :

Last week AusPharm ran a story about the resignations of Pharmacy Manager, Anne Leversha, and her Deputy Lyn Billington from their positions at LaTrobe Regional Hospital following the raising of concerns that management is placing financial objectives ahead of patient safety.

ABC Victoria current affairs program 7.30 picked up the story and ran with it last Friday night. The story includes an interview with SHPA President Sue Kirsa. Click below to watch.

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Union seeks input on Guild proposals to vary award : 11/06/2013 :

Employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) is seeking the views of employee pharmacists on proposals to be considered by the Fair Work Commission this week to vary the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.

According to the union, the Pharmacy Guild is arguing for changes to leave provisions that would give employers the ability to force employees who have accrued over 8 weeks leave to take it and, in another proposal, to take leave in periods of emergency shutdowns. Also to be considered by the Commission are proposals around rostering in an 'emergency' and changes to the definition of 'full time'.

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Contributions to 5CPA audit invited by Auditor General : 11/06/2013 :

The Australian National Audit Office announced in May that it is to conduct an audit of the administration of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement. It is now inviting contributions to the audit from members of the public.

The audit will assess the administration of the Agreement, its policies and activities and will also examine how well administrative support systems are operating. The focus is on on assessing the efficient and effective implementation of the Agreement including the achievement of its intended benefits. The closing date for submission is expected to be 30 September 2013.

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Reckitt Benckiser gets a win over GSK : 11/06/2013 :

In an interlocutory (interim) decision handed down in the Federal Court last week, the makers of Panadol Liquid, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), have been ordered to refrain from selling any variants of the range that contain a syringe measuring device which competitor Reckitt Benckiser claims infringes a patent owned by the company.

The decision is an interim one pending full consideration of the issues by the Court later in 2013. The matter is next due before the Court on 14 June 2013 for a directions hearing.

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Webstercare MD, NPS CEO awarded AMs : 11/06/2013 :

Webstercare Managing Director Gerard Stevens has been made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. The award was announced in yesterday's Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The award was made to Mr Stevens for his 'significant service to the pharmaceutical industry, and to community health'.

Mr Stevens was awarded the PSA's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and was made a PSA Fellow the following year.

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Deirdre Criddle wins 2013 Consultant Pharmacy award : 11/06/2013 :

Western Australian consultant pharmacist Deirdre Criddle has been named as the winner of the 2013 Pfizer Consultant Pharmacist of the Year Award.

The award recognises an outstanding contribution by an accredited pharmacist to the practice of consultant pharmacy. It includes a medallion and certificate, plus a travel grant to the value of $10,000 to attend an international pharmacy conference of relevance to the practice of consultant pharmacy.

Speaking to AusPharm last night Ms Criddle said she was 'so thrilled to be presented with this award'.

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PCEHR: more information needed for some : 07/06/2013 :

Almost a third of the pharmacists responding to this week's AusPharm poll say they haven't signed up for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) because they 'don't know enough about it yet'. A further 14% of respondents say a PCEHR won't be useful, claiming it would be a 'waste of time'.

On the other hand 16% of respondents have registered for a PCEHR, well above the national rate - still sitting under 1% with less than 200,000 people registered.

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Union renews call for seat at the CPA6 negotiating table : 07/06/2013 :

Following comments attributed to Guild NSW Branch President Si Banks that NSW Guild members have rejected calls for organisations other than the Guild to be a party to 6th Agreement negotiations, Professional Pharmacists Australia President Dr Geoff March said he was disappointed  "as recent commentary from the Pharmacy Guild had indicated that they wanted to work with significant stakeholders including those representing pharmacists and patients".

“We believe that the needs of the 20,000 employee pharmacists are at least as important as the needs of the 3,000 pharmacy owners,” Dr March said.

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2013 IMS Health-College Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant : 06/06/2013 :

Applications are now open for the 2013 IMS Health-College Young Pharmacist Innovation Grant. IMS Health has generously its agreement with the Australian College of Pharmacy to continue the Innovation Grant initiative which allows younger pharmacists to be introduced to the 'world of organisational pharmacy'.

This initiative, which commenced in 2008, has supported innovative young pharmacists to attend the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Congress.  Previous winners of the grant include Georgina Twomey, Jana Fulcher, Rowan Lowe, Sarah Sinclair and Daniel Rifkin.

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Care needed with anticholinergics in older patients : 06/06/2013 :

Published as part of the June issue of Australian Prescriber, Volume 4, Number 3 of the Medicines Safety Update advises clinicians to exercise caution when assessing whether or not to use anticholinergic drugs in older patients. The Update also has more to say about the risks associated with the use of new anticoagulant drug, dabigatran.

Two recent long-term studies examined cognitive impairment in older patients with both studies reporting an increased incidence of cognitive impairment in patients using anticholinergic drugs.

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UNE student wins NSW PSOTY award : 06/06/2013 :

The School of Pharmacy at the University of New England (UNE) achieved a milestone at the weekend with its first entrant in the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) competition taking out the title.

UNE’s Callan Beesley was named the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year at a reception held as part of the PSA's Clinical and Practice Expo (CPExpo) at the weekend.

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TGA, Medsafe introduce early warning system for medicines and medical devices : 06/06/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and its New Zealand counterpart, Medsafe, have jointly introduced a new Early Warning System to assist in the monitoring of the safety of medicines and medical devices after they have been released onto the market.

There are two types of communications that can be issued as part of the Early Warning System; 'Monitoring communications' and 'Alert communications'.

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TGA circulates options for regulatory reform of compounding pharmacies : 06/06/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration yesterday released a consultation paper looking at options for reform of the regulatory framework for pharmacy compounding.

The paper is being circulated following the raising of concerns both locally and overseas regarding the complexity and scale of manufacture in pharmacies that was not envisaged when the current regulatory arrangements were originally put in place. The principal concern is that the existing arrangements do not provide adequate assurance that medicines manufactured in pharmacies will meet acceptable standards of quality and safety.

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Poll: Have you registered for your Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record : 05/06/2013 :

The number of people registering for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) has grown significantly in the last three months with over 170,000 people now registered.

It took 213 days for the first 50,000 registrations to be lodged but only 37 days for the third 50,000 people to register. Regsitrations opened on 1 July 2012. AusPharm recently registered and found the process to be remarkably quick and easy.

Have you registered for your own PCEHR? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Problems with PBS listings for rosuvastatin : 05/06/2013 :

Problems have emerged for community pharmacies this month following errors in the way generic versions of rosuvastatin were added to the PBS database.

In some circumstances, pharmacies have been unable to dispense some brands of rosuvastatin as PBS benefits, despite the brands being PBS listed.

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PSA, PPA join Guild in welcoming removal of pharmacists from SOL : 05/06/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) have joined the Pharmacy Guild in welcoming the federal government's decision to remove pharmacists from the Skilled Occupation list from 1 July 2013.

The Pharmacy Guild issued a brief statement on Monday saying that the decision 'reflects the pharmacy workforce reality in many parts of Australia'.

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Union: award wage rise insufficient : 05/06/2013 :

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) said yesterday the 2.6 per cent increase in award wages announced by Fair Work Australia on Monday was not enough and did not fairly remunerate pharmacists for their complex and important roles in Australia’s healthcare system.

PPA President, Dr Geoff March, said pharmacists deserved to be better paid for the important work they do to keep Australians healthy every day.

“Professional Pharmacists Australia wants all pharmacies to be profitable pharmacies and pay their pharmacists appropriately for the work we do for patients,” Dr March said.

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