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AusPharm news

AusPharm over the Christmas / New year period : 23/12/2013 :

As is our usual practice, we'll continue to publish more or less as usual through the festive season, albeit in a slightly cut down form.

However, we won't be publishing 25, 26 or 27 December or 1 January, 2014.

With respect to posting to AusPharmList, at this time each year we relax our interpretation of what is 'pharmacy related' somewhat so, if you have something to say and aren't sure if it's acceptable, send it along and we'll see if we can accommodate you.

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Christmas party: boss pays : 20/12/2013 :

This week's poll result tells us that, in the main, pharmacy owners cover the cost of the staff Christmas get together.

Further, these events tends to be 'nice' rather than extravagant.

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Industry comes out in support of front-of-pack warnings to S3 codeine-containing analgesics : 20/12/2013 :

Peak OTC medicines group, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI), has come out in support of industry-wide measures for a voluntary front-of-pack warning statement to be added to S3 codeine-containing analgesics. ASMI members who supply these products have agreed to implement the voluntary label changes as soon as possible.

During 2014, consumers will start to see the following warning on the front of S3 codeine-containing analgesic products: May cause addiction. For three days use only.

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PDL: call us : 20/12/2013 :

PDL (Pharmaceutical Defence) provides advice and a course of action for pharmacists who are unsure of their indemnity cover or find themselves in a situation where, for example, an error of judgement or mistake in dispensing occurs.

You can report an incident confidentially to PDL by downloading the Notification of Incident form on the PDL website (here) or by calling PDL on 1300 854 838 and you will be advised on the immediate course of action to be taken.

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Peak wholesaler group calls on Government to work on sustainability of pharmacy sector : 20/12/2013 :

Peak pharmacy wholesaler group, the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA), has welcomed the Federal Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook which it says shows the PBS is sustainable.

However, NPSA President Patrick Davies has called on the Government to work more closely with the pharmacy sector, including the pharmaceutical wholesalers, to protect the ongoing viability of the medicine supply chain.

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AMA calls for comprehensive overhaul of Medicare Locals : 20/12/2013 :

The AMA is calling on the Abbott Government to comprehensively overhaul the Medicare Locals model introduced by the previous Labor Government, including ditching the name, ‘Medicare Locals’.

The call is included in the AMA’s submission to the Australian Government's Review of Medicare Locals, which is being headed by former Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath.

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ASMI head gets another term : 19/12/2013 :

ASMI has this week announced the re-election of Mark Sargent, Head of Bayer Australia Consumer Care, pictured at right, as its President.

Mr Sargent has over 20 years’ experience in senior marketing, sales and management roles, including 15 years in the OTC and complementary medicines sectors in Australia and globally, most recently at Bayer Consumer Care.

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Pharma goes after Grattan on PBS costs : 19/12/2013 :

PBS price disclosure reductions set for 1 April 2014 show that the 'benchmarking' pricing model recently proposed by the Grattan Institute would actually cost taxpayers millions of dollars more for some drugs says Medicines Australia.

“While some commentators continue to criticise the PBS price disclosure arrangements, these same policies are actually pushing the price of many Australian medicines below those of comparable markets overseas,” Medicines Australia Chief Executive, Dr Brendan Shaw, said this week.

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Guild: Woolworths foray into 'health and wellness' the height of hypocrisy : 19/12/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild has accused Woolworths of hypocrisy for starting to advertise basic health checks and health advice under a new ‘health & wellness’ banner while at the same time continuing to heavily market tobacco and alcohol products.

Writing in this week's Forefront, Guild Executive Director David Quilty said "If they had any real interest in health, they would stop selling cigarettes. But they won’t, because they are addicted to their massive tobacco profits."

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CHC: Annals approach 'misguided' : 19/12/2013 :

The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC) says it is disappointed by what it describes as a misguided approach taken in a recent editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine which concludes vitamin supplements are a waste of money for most people.

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Poll: Christmas staff party : 18/12/2013 :

With only a few sleeps to go, Christmas celebrations are in full swing.

Staff Christmas parties range from a round of mince tarts with the morning tea, to the fully frocked-up slap-up night out, and given how busy pharmacies are at this time of year, the window for celebrating tends to be stretched fairly wide.

What style of Christmas party is your pharmacy having? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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January 2014 PBS schedule : 18/12/2013 :

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS ‘Summary of Changes’

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Support available for pharmacists over the festive season : 18/12/2013 :

Not everyone enjoys this time of the year. Work pressures in pharmacy can be substantial with the end of the year “safety-net” rush, Boxing Day sales, holiday crowds in tourist areas and limited access to other health services. 

Many pharmacists do not have the opportunity to relax with family and friends. A sense of isolation can be exacerbated, especially if those around you are relaxing and celebrating and you are not. 

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MYEFO reveals further PBS savings - Guild warns of flow on effect for pharmacies : 18/12/2013 :

Treasurer Joe Hockey's Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released yesterday, forecasts additional PBS cost savings of $2.7 billion over the next four years over and above the $6 billion downgrade of PBS expenditure estimates since the 2011-12 Budget. The MYEFO document says this largely reflects “higher than estimated savings resulting from existing pricing policy.”

2013/14 spending is forecast to be $526 million lower than budgeted just seven months ago in the 2013/14 Federal budget.

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beyondblue Festive Season Support Service : 17/12/2013 :

beyondblue has issued a reminder of the around the clock availability of their phone support line for people suffering depression, anxiety or stress. This phone service is staffed exclusively by mental health professionals. Tel 1300 22 4636.

The beyondblue system has recently been upgraded to also provide an online chat service that is available 4-10pm daily, along with an email service that is responded to within 24 hours.

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Another new report shows PBS costs are under control : 17/12/2013 :

A report released last week by the Parliamentary Budget Office demonstrates that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has not been the major driver of growing Commonwealth health expenditure over the last decade.

The report shows that Federal Government spending on pharmaceutical benefits grew by an average of 2.7% per annum in real terms over the decade to 2012-13 - less than growth in overall Federal Government health spending of 4.8% per annum and less than growth in the overall economy of 3% per annum over the same period.

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Medscope acquires competitor MMR software Mediflags : 17/12/2013 :

Suppliers of Medication Review Manager and MedsCK pharmacy software, Medscope, have acquired competitor medication review software program MediFlags from its current owners, the Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH).

Medscope’s CEO, George Giannakopoulos, said yesterday the agreement is a great result for accredited pharmacists as it will ensure the longevity of the MediFlags product and establish a working relationship between Medscope and AMH that will give rise to new product integration possibilities.

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April 2014 EAPD PBS price reductions announced : 17/12/2013 :

The PBS return prices of 121 molecules will drop in the next round of PBS price disclosure price reductions on April 1 2014.

These will not have the impact for most pharmacies of the December 1 price cuts which saw large reductions in the PBS return prices of blockbuster drugs atorvastatin and venlafaxine.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Ocular side effects of psychotropic medication : 16/12/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Ocular side effects of psychotropic medication.

"Many psychotropic medications have the potential to cause ocular adverse effects. Some reactions may be transient and reversible while others may be more serious. Ocular side effects from psychotropic medications are thought to be particularly common due to the extensive blood supply to the eye and because of the high metabolic rates of the retina and optic nerve. This E-Bulletin will discuss a selection of ocular side effects associated with some common psychotropic medication.
"

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

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UPDATED: Fair work ombudsman's pharmacy report draws opposing reactions from Guild, union : 16/12/2013 :

Released today, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s national pharmacy audit report has drawn opposing views on its findings from the Pharmacy Guild and Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA). The report found a 75% compliance rate amongst pharmacies.

The report found a 75% compliance rate against the provisions of the Pharmacy Industry Award amongst pharmacies which the Guild said 'shows significant progress in award compliance across the industry.'

PPA, however, said 'One quarter of Australia's pharmacy owners are breaking workplace laws, including underpaying their pharmacists and other staff, according to a shocking new Fair Work Ombudsman's audit report released today.'

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