s Pipeline for July 2011 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2011         Volume. 3 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2011 edition of i2P E-Magazine.
A range of strategic issues are looked at this month, primarily in the form of social media and its impact on pharmacy and other health professions.
Social media can adversely affect the reputations of pharmacists if forms of personal behaviour are picked up and populate various Facebook or other similar sites.
The facility for correct use to occur is even available on the i2P site when the need to share becomes important. Kay Dunkley explores these issues in her feature article “Social and Electronic Media and Health Professionals”.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for July 2011

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Pipeline for July 2011

Pipeline Extras

A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.

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Feature Contribution

Social and electronic media and health professionals

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Social and electronic media in its many forms including email, websites, blogs, mobile phones, texts, twitter, teleconferencing, voice chat and skype are everyday phenomena, especially in the lives of younger health professionals including pharmacists.
They are being used for social purposes, as a media tool, for education and in the provision of health care services. 
This website and the I2P E-Magazine are good examples. 

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Prescription Pricing Models

Neil Johnston

In recent times we have seen attempts by some pharmacy groups to attract additional prescription business through deep discounting or squeezing drugs into a “one size fits all” price model.
There is nothing new or imaginative contained in either model - simply an attempt to gain advantage solely on price.

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Pharmacist Problems -Oversupply, Reducing Salaries, Inadequate Training and Opportunities

Peter Sayers

It is becoming apparent that in the Australian market place an evolving pharmacist-surplus is occurring and is rapidly becoming critical.
What is probably not realised is that in the US a surplus is occurring there as well and the market is not able to soak up that surplus.
Perhaps the reasons for the US surplus are similar to that here in Australia, but there are no clear reasons given and the finger is generally pointed at those who benefit – pharmacy owners (through the PGA) and pharmacy schools (chasing full fee-paying students).
A closer look at the US problem may assist in understanding the Australian experience.

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Sued, sacked and slandered: but not silenced

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

In April this year La Trobe University academic Dr Ken Harvey submitted a complaint to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) challenging the advertising claims made for SensaSlim, a weight loss complementary medicine (CM). 
He is now being sued by them for $800,000.
SensaSlim claims
it has developed a product that can “desensitise taste buds and reduce hunger pains”, that it is a “revolutionary slimming breakthrough” and that a 20-year study involving 11,453 people substantiates their claims.

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Marketing Focus: Who's Listening

Barry Urquhart

Look behind the figures.
Statistics can be so misleading.In fact, they can be outright meaningless, particularly "averages".
One person who is sensitive to the issue is Peter Newman, the host announcer for the breakfast program on the high rating radio station Curtin 100.1 FM in Perth, Western Australia.
He is a graduate in English and respects the power of language and the value of words.
In regular interviews between Peter and myself he often waxes lyrical about means, medians and averages.
During a recent on-air discussion I shocked him when I described the average 100.1 FM listener as having one breast and one testicle. He was lost for words. However, he shouldn't have been, because the audience profile of the station and his program in particular is relatively evenly balanced between males and females.
He declared the statement to be nonsensical. I agreed. Averages are often like that.

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Listen if You Want to Learn

Harvey Mackay

Few things are more frustrating than having to repeat yourself because the person you are speaking to isn't listening.  It wastes time -- and time, as we all know, is money.
Perhaps a little further up the annoyance scale is the exchange -- I hesitate to call it a conversation -- in which both parties are so determined to get their own points across that they have little regard for what the other is saying. 
When everyone is talking at the same time, or planning their next remarks instead of listening and responding, the result is never positive. 
It demonstrates a real lack of respect for the speaker and the message.

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Ending the vaccine blame game: time for a no-fault compensation scheme

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: This article was originally written by Heath Kelly,Professor of Epidemiology at Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and appeared in The Conversation.

When someone is adversely affected by a vaccine in Australia, their only way to receive compensation is through the courts. But this is not the case worldwide.
Vaccines undergo rigorous testing to ensure they don’t have serious negative side effects. But very rarely, they can harm those they aim to protect. This is a very small recognised risk with some vaccines.
Internationally, 19 countries have no-fault compensation schemes
Germany, for example, has had a government-run no-fault compensation scheme for 50 years.
In these countries, governments recognise that vaccinations provide benefit to both the individual and the community.

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High Prescription Error Rates Prevail in E.Prescriptions and Hospital Settings

Peter Sayers

Recent reports indicate that prescription errors are not improving, even with the introduction of electronic prescriptions.
A paper recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that e-prescriptions in the US were just as prone to errors as paper prescriptions, though most of these errors involved omitted information and could be eliminated via upgrades to current software.
In the UK new data reveal that lack of detailed medicines information was behind 4,041 medicine errors involving 3,091 medicines reconciliations carried out by pharmacists at 30 acute trusts in England last September.
This data was published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

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Baby Boomers progressing to old age

Neil Johnston

The generation that symbolised youth is not yet ready to move up a “notch” and symbolise old age.
A recent US study (AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll) found that around 75% of “boomers” consider themselves middle-aged or younger, and that includes those currently in the age range 57-65.
Around 25% insist that you are not old until you are 80.
They are more likely to be excited about the positive aspects of aging, such as retirement, than worried about the negatives, like declining health.

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Explainer – how is it that people can recover from serious brain injury?

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: This arrticle waas originally written by Daniel Blackmore, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute at University of Queensland.

The human brain is often referred to as the most complex organ on the planet. It is responsible for an incalculable number of tasks, thoughts and functions every second of everyday of our lives.
The brain controls our emotions, our perceptions and our memories. In short, it is what makes us who we are.
Within the human brain, there are up to one hundred billion nerve cells, each with countless connections to each other. This complexity of connectivity is responsible for the limitless imagination and creativity of the human race.
This same complexity is also the reason for deficits in memory and function following disease and traumatic brain injury, such as those resulting from car accidents or gunshot wounds.

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A Call for a Moratorium on New Pharmacy Schools in Australia and Review of Accreditation Standards

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: Finally, a leading pharmacy school is speaking out in regard to the ability to sustain future pharmacists into a rewarding future.
The current situation is such a waste of scarce resources at a time when all health funding is deemed inadequate.
Pumping out an ever increasing number of graduates into an unplanned workplace that is in decline, is a very unrealistic situation.
Yet there is more than enough work for pharmacists who can be trained to deliver primary care.
Pharmacy schools need to look at the different roles for a pharmacist and concentrate on a specialty that can be delivered and continue to be supported after graduation.
In the face of a push from academia, maybe the PGA can also move back from its rigid supply chain view of the world and rejoin the pharmacy profession once again. Recent statements supporting Professor Charman's position (by the PGA) are encouraging.

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As The Wheel Turns

Peter Sayers

The pharmacy profession in Australia and the US is coming to terms with the fact that employment opportunities are drying up, and that payment for services rendered is stagnating or being reduced.
This is also being driven by the fact that consumers are finding the offerings of pharmacy less attractive than in times past.
Wal-Mart in the US has been in decline for the past two years and was recently forced to confront the fact that its smaller, more personal stores, were outflanking their superstores in financial return, to the extent that all future investment is being funnelled into the ”corner store” concept.
Make no mistake.
The same trend is appearing here in Australia.
Consumers are looking for value, particularly the value found in professional services delivery.

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Slackers a drag at work

Staff Writer

New research from the Australian School of Business (ASB) indicates that having just one person who is lazy at work can drag down a high performing team.
Benjamin Walker, a PhD student at the ASB, is studying the impact of a single "difficult personality" member on team effectiveness.

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Night owl's habits linked to depression in older men

Staff Writer

Men who have difficulty falling asleep are at greater risk of depression than those who nod off easily, researchers have found.
A study at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at The University of Western Australia found that difficulty falling asleep doubles the risk of depression in older men.
Sleep complaints are common in later life with nearly 50 per cent of people older than 65 years reporting trouble falling or remaining asleep.

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New global plant database will lead to more reliable predictions of climate change effects

Staff Writer

Macquarie University researchers are playing a leading role in the creation of the world’s largest database of plant traits.
The TRY Plant data came from more than 8000 locations world wide. Image: Max Planck Institute for Bi
Plant traits (their morphological and physiological properties) determine how plants compete for resources (light, water, soil nutrients), where and how fast they can grow and, ultimately, how plants influence ecosystem properties such as rates of nutrient cycling, water use and carbon dioxide uptake.

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Feed the world, cut greenhouse gases: QUT expert

Staff Writer

The world can produce enough food and cut greenhouse gas emissions if it learns to use nitrogen more efficiently in agriculture, a world-leading Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientist says.
Professor Richard Conant, a Smart Futures Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR) at QUT, said global agricultural activities accounted for 15 to 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide, which was released from soil following the addition of nitrogen-based fertilisers.

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Macquarie University Hospital opens new clinic to help weekend athletes.

Staff Writer

Macquarie University Hospital has launched a new service dedicated to treating professional and amateur athletes and school aged children who injure themselves playing weekend sport.
Opening a new weekend sports injury clinic last weekend, the Hospital hopes to give local sporting people access to immediate diagnosis and treatment at its state of the art facility.

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Macquarie climate change project to share in $4.2 million of research funding.

Staff Writer

The Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) announced a project by Macquarie University researchers as one the successful applicants to share in $4.2 million of funding.
Awarded in the category of Terrestrial Biodiversity, the project will determine future invasive plant threats under climate change.

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Tick September off for Lyme

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: This media release was presented by Dr Mualla Akinci Director, Karl McManus Foundation for Lyme Disease Research & Awareness (www.karlmcmanusfoundation.org.au).
Mualla's husband, Karl McManus, tragically died from Lyme's Disease and she is trying to create awareness throughout Australia of the seriousness of tick bites and their aftermath.

Mualla says:

"Our Lyme Disease Appeal is just around the corner, launching September 1 and continuing throughout the month of September. Soon you will have delivered to your pharmacies a Lyme Disease Appeal kit containing two A4 posters, a collection can and information leaflets (Kit 1).

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Healthy diets equal healthy minds and not just in Australia, new research finds

Staff Writer

Deakin University health researchers have found that people with healthy diets are less likely to have depression and anxiety – not only in Australia but around the world.
In a study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers from Deakin University and the University of Bergen analysed data collected from over 5700 middle-aged and older adults from western Norway.

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Forests absorb one third our fossil fuel emissions

Staff Writer

The world's established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere – equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions – according to new research published today in the journal Science.
This is the first time volumes of the greenhouse gas absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests have been so clearly identified.

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Cut caffeine in soft drinks and you can reduce sugar without affecting taste

Staff Writer

Reducing the sugar content of soft drinks without sacrificing the taste is as simple as cutting out the caffeine, a Deakin University study has found.
Deakin health researchers have found that 10.3 per cent of the sucrose in sugar sweetened drinks, such as colas and energy drinks, can be taken out without causing a noticeable flavour difference if the caffeine is also removed.
This reduction in sugar equates to 116 less kilojoules per 500 ml serving.

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Pharmedia: The PCEHR and the Patient Perspective

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note: This article should be viewed in full screen to allow space for the video below. The Full Scren link is located just below the video graphic. Make sure your volume control is turned on before you commence viewing.

Last week, Google announced that it’s online service for storing medical records and researching illnesses will be discontinued. Google Health was created by Adam Bosworth, who has since co-founded a new health and play start-up called Keas.
GP’s have been opposed to a patient managed and controlled PCEHR and so has the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
The motivation by government is to create a patient-centric model for health placing the patient in a “hands-on” mode, theoretically being able to control their own health information.
Of course, if the patient is not computer savvy or feels that they don’t have a mentor to guide them in the process, the system will fail as Google has shown.
Adam Bosworth in giving an explanation for the lack of the Google uptake gave the following reason:

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Pipeline for July 2011

Pipeline Extras

articles by this author...

Pipeline brings you news "bytes" from everywhere.

A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.

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Testosterone and brain function link

It is already known that testosterone plays an important role in cardiovascular health as well as its function as the male sex hormone. Now Australian researchers are testing the links between testosterone and brain function in women.

Researchers believe it could unlock the secrets of treating dementia and even improve the libido of people on anti-depressants.

But despite this, they say Australian pharmaceutical regulators have set the bar too high for testosterone therapy.

Robotic aged care still on the cards

New Zealand nursing homes are considering using robots to perform routine tasks such as dispensing pills, serving meals and helping residents seek assistance as the ongoing aged care workforce crisis comes to a head.

In a study of attitudes to “assistive technologies” among nursing home staff and residents, New Zealand primary care researchers found that robots would be welcomed if they could perform tasks that would result in allowing staff to spend more time with residents.

Don’t work yourself into the ground

While employment in our later years can have positive impacts on self-esteem and overall health, we should not have to work until we drop.
A UK study, issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found the last 20 years have seen a significant increase in the number of over-50s and people over retirement age in employment.
Analysis showed the job market has changed significantly since 1992. About 57% of people aged between 50 and 64 were employed in April 1992, but this rose to 65% by December last year.
This is said to be a significant increase for retirement age workers in the UK, who now make up a bigger share of the total working population.

Sensing promise in seniors’ health

A small pilot study of wireless mobile sensors used by a group of retirees suggests the technology may be useful in detecting meaningful changes in seniors' health, researchers at Dartmouth College in Connecticut say.

Eight elderly residents in a continuing care community, whose average age was 85, wore the waist-mounted, two-inch sensors for 10 days while the devices continuously measured such factors as time spent walking, sitting, standing and speaking with other people.

“These everyday behaviours often reflect physical and psychological health and potentially predict health problems, like depression or dementia,” the study author, Dr Ethan Berke says.

Twitter Yields Useful Public Health, Flu Information

Twitter allows millions of social media fans to comment in 140 characters or less on just about anything: an actor's outlandish behavior, an earthquake's tragic toll or the great taste of a grilled cheese sandwich. But by sifting through this busy flood of banter, is it possible to also track important public health trends? Two Johns Hopkins University computer scientists would respond with a one-word tweet: "Yes!"

Toughbook H2 Most Rugged Tablet Yet

Taking the ruggedized tablet concept to a new level, Panasonic released the Toughbook H2, arguably the hardiest tablet computer available to the healthcare market. Hardened to “military-grade" ruggedness, the H2, which has a variant specifically designed for the healthcare sector, has a magnesium alloy casing coated with an anti-scratch surface. It can survive a 6-foot drop on concrete, temperatures from -20 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and exposure to dust and sprayed water. (Full immersion is not mentioned on the spec sheet.)

Why Google Health’s Failure Is Good News

Google officially shuttered its stumbling Google Health personal health record (PHR) service on Friday, marking an ignominious end to an ambitious project to make health and medical data storable and searchable for vast numbers of consumers.

“With a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would," wrote senior product manager Aaron Brown and Bill Weihl, head of green energy for Google, in a blog post. (Google is also shutting down its PowerMeter smart-grid service.) “There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people."

Dawn of a new profession

The role of the case manager in Australia is poised to undergo the biggest evolutionary change in its fifteen year history as it agrees its first process of formal case manager certification.  

At the 14th Case Management Society of Australia’s (CMSA) national conference next month, members will hear for the first time, details of a certification scheme which aims to provide increased structure and professionalism for the rapidly growing healthcare role

South Australians continue to migrate to eastern states

Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales were the top three interstate migration destinations for South Australians, according to the June edition of SA Stats (cat. no. 1345.4) released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

More residents are moving from South Australia interstate than are arriving, with a net loss of 3,000 people between June 2009 and June 2010. The highest number of people leaving South Australia were in the 25-29 year age group, with a net loss of 700, followed by the 20-24 year age group with a net loss of 500.


Last Month:

Patient activity within private hospitals continues to grow

The number of patients who were discharged from private hospitals grew by 6.7% in 2009-10, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

There was an increase in the number of private hospital beds across Australia in 2009-10. Acute hospitals increased by 286 beds (1.2%), while free standing day hospitals increased by 327 beds (13.1%). The only reduction was in psychiatric hospitals which were reduced by 45 beds (-2.9%). Acute hospitals were recorded as having 23,465 beds, psychiatric hospitals 1,461 and free standing day hospitals 2,822.

Six Milliuon migrants call Australia home

Almost 6 million migrants, born in over 200 countries, live in Australia. According to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 27% of Australia's resident population were born overseas, as at June 2010.

People born in the United Kingdom continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 1.2 million people. The next largest group was born in New Zealand with 544,000 people, followed by China (380,000 people), India (341,000) and Italy (216,000).

Over the last decade, the proportion of those born in the UK declined from 5.9% of Australia's population in 2000 to 5.3% in 2010. In contrast, the proportions increased for people born in New Zealand (from 1.9% to 2.4%), China (from 0.8% to 1.7%) and India (from 0.5% to 1.5%).

End of Aging

Irish broadcaster RTE recently aired a very interesting documentary on the aging population and the drastic effects the shifting demographic will have on society.

Narrated by Prof. Rose Anne Kenny of TRIL, the documentary delivers a powerful message on why people are living longer, the challenges this presents, and the consequence this will have on the current healthcare system. She concludes the documentary by reviewing some of the current research in the area that seeks to address the future challenges that lie ahead.

Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that. Daniel Kraft on TED.com

At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside. (Recorded atTEDxMaastricht, April 2011, in Maastricht, Holland. Duration:

Scientists Create A Living Laser

One of the first stories I was ever really proud of was on the history of green fluorescent protein, or GFP, a glowing protein found in jellyfish that can be used to make living things glow. I wasn’t that surprised when GFP won the Nobel Prize a few years back. But this — wow. Researchers have used GFP to create, literally, a living laser. Read more.

Label Change: Zocor (simvastatin) - New Restrictions, Contraindications, and Dose Limitations

FDA Media Watch Alert.

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that it is recommending limiting the use of the highest approved dose of the cholesterol-lowering medication simvastatin (80 mg) because of increased risk of muscle damage. Patients taking simvastatin 80 mg daily have an increased risk of myopathy compared to patients taking lower doses of this drug or other drugs in the same class. This risk appears to be higher during the first year of treatment, is often the result of interactions with certain medicines, and is frequently associated with a genetic predisposition toward simvastatin-related myopathy. The most serious form of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure which can be fatal. FDA is requiring changes to the simvastatin label to add new contraindications (should not be used with certain medications) and dose limitations for using simvastatin with certain medicines.


Roxon aims to please at AMA conference

Health Minister Nicola Roxon tried to reassure doctors today that Medicare Locals would not “usurp the role of GPs” as she opened the AMA conference. Ms Roxon told the conference in Brisbane she wanted to “dispel the myths” about what Medicare Locals would be doing once they opened.

ABS: Census Collector jobs + Centrelink payments = no worries

Australians receiving Centrelink payments are being encouraged to apply for a Census Collector job.The Australian Bureau of Statistics still needs Census Collectors across Australia to help conduct the Census of Population and Housing on 9 August 2011.Centrelink has advised the ABS that Collectors earnings will not be assessed until after field staff complete their work.

Drug distributor Sigma feeling better now

THE drug distributor has endured what CEO Mark Hooper dubs a "near-death experience", but there's always someone less fortunate. "You want a challenging industry -- go and work in paper," says Hooper, who came to Sigma from perennial laggard Paperlinx.



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