s ASMI Media Releases July 2010 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/08/2010         Volume. 2 No. 7   
Information to Pharmacists

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News Flash

Newslflash updates for August 2010

Neil Johnston

Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Feature Contribution

From Intern to Practising Pharmacist - PSA's New Vision

Neil Johnston

Practical experience is hard to acquire once you have finished your academic studies.
It is a process we all have to experience at one stage of our career.
The transition from being a student to a practising pharmacist can be a difficult time and unless early career pharmacists equip themselves for the new challenges they face, they may not be maximising their career opportunities.
It is also the type of program that could earn incentive payments for the workplaces providing the experience in the community.

Comments: 1

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Pharmacist prescribing in NZ flags other issues

Neil Johnston

The Pharmacy Council recently promoted a discussion document to encourage feedback from the health care environment on the impending legislative changes that are intended to provide the opportunity for pharmacists to prescribe.
The proposed legislation will enable suitably qualified postgraduate educated and skilled clinical pharmacists to prescribe from the drug tariff for patients under their care.
These pharmacists will have to work as part of a primary health care team and it is expected they will become an integral part of that team.
All very exciting for our profession to witness that there is a recognition that pharmacists are capable of stepping up to the mark and are worthy of greater responsibilities.

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Is a pharmacist in your team selection?

Neil Johnston

Pharma-Goss for August 2010
When selecting a team to participate in a primary health care review of the diagnosis and management of hypertension patient one would hope that a pharmacist would be a natural selection.
But in the case of a paper published recently in Australian Family Physician (http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/201007/201007howes.pdf) a pharmacist did not rate a mention in the panel set up to identify the problems associated with diagnosing hypertension and maintaining a dose that suited the needs of the patient with maximum adherence.

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Guild’s eRx clarification camouflages the facts!! Why hide the truth?

Neil Johnston

The thought that first struck me after reading ‘the clarification’ about the eRx Script Exchange on the editorial page of the May Issue of the Pulse+IT magazine was - Why is this clarification so necessary?
On the surface it seemed like a reasonable statement to make.
It read: “Clarification - in the March 2010 edition of Pulse+IT it was reported that the electronic prescribing service operated by eRx Script Exchange had received 7.5 million scripts "sent to the eRx script hub by prescribers" as of the middle of January.  
Omitted from the article was reference to a workflow that allows pharmacists to send repeat prescriptions to the hub for later retrieval by any pharmacist connected to the eRx system.
The volume of transactions quoted in the March 2010 article included such scripts, in addition to scripts sent to the hub directly by prescribers.”

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Guild Takes Aim at Gillard & Abbott Over 5TH CPA

Neil Johnston

In The Australian Friday 23 July (Political creed: do no harm) Emma Connors reported that “sometime in the next four weeks both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are likely to sign a letter promising their support to a group of 5000 small business owners whose public standing allows them to extract an extraordinary pledge.”
She reported that the Guild had “asked the leaders of  both sides of politics to agree that the terms of the recently enacted Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement will be upheld, including the all-important promise to keep supermarkets out of pharmacy”.

Comments: 4

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The failure of Gollmann-Bouw: Are their products what our market wants?

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note - 15th November 2012:
When this article was first published in August 2010, Gollman-Bouw had entered into liquidation following a very turbulent period under the stewardship of Mark Bouw, managing director of the Australian enterprise.
Since that date the automated dispensing market has settled down and is now demonstrating steady and solid growth.
New people have entered into an agreement with German company Gollmann Systems and they have no relationship with any of the people associated with the former entity.
Many of the initial teething problems have been overcome and a better understanding of the Australian pharmacy market has emerged.
Gollmann Systems are globally competitive and contain innovations not seen in some of their competitors.
Any prospective purchaser should short-list this product when seeking a solution for their pharmacy.

Comments: 4

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Private Labels Finding Favour

Neil Johnston

Since the global financial crisis began to bite, Australians have shifted more of their weekly purchases into private label.
In respect of the $70 billion pa food market, private label currently accounts for 23%, with the prospect of moving to 30% within five years.

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Food as Medicine

Neil Johnston

Many foods have health giving and medicinal properties.
Indeed, i2P reports frequently in its Preventive Medicine section, regular discoveries where food can be used to support various health conditions.
For example, raw beetroot juice has recently been found to be effective in treating high blood pressure (it contains nitrates) and is as effective as some antihypertensive drugs. Cinnamon is another food that is useful for diabetics, where cinnamon appears to have effects similar to metformin i.e. it sensitises insulin.
Ayurvedic medicine, developed in India over centuries, encompasses the use of many delicious foods enhanced with herbs and spices.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system. The central philosophy is that illness is caused by an imbalance of the body's three vital energies, or 'doshas'. Ayurveda uses a range of treatments including yoga, massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
More information can be found at the Australian government site - HealthInsite. http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Ayurvedic_Medicine
For Ayurveda diet and health information that can get you started, try this site http://www.joyfulbelly.com

Comments: 2

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Hung Parliament Means Listen to the People

Neil Johnston

People involved in e-health are bitterly disappointed with the "hung parliament" result.
At least Labour had a vision with its national broadband roll-out, even if it wasn't properly articulated in regard to cost.
Some proponents argue that the cost matters little - it is the advantage given to Australians who want to be pioneers in e-health. Opportunities could be lost and they may be priceless.
i2P went looking for some informed comment on the subject and found some excellent commentary written by Paul Budde, a telecommunications analyst.
His commentary follows:

Comments: 1

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Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom

Neil Johnston

Researchers have collected venom from octopuses in Antarctica for the first time, significantly advancing our understanding of the properties of venom as a potential resource for drug-development.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian University of Technology and Science and the University of Hamburg, provides the first insight into the properties of Antarctic octopus venom.
It has also revealed the existence of four new species of octopus.

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Peruvian plant offers hope for sex lives of diabetic women

Neil Johnston

The effects of diabetes on organs such as the heart, eyes and kidneys are relatively well known, but women are now being warned of its potential to cause damage in another way – to sexual performance.
Victoria University’s Professor Lily Stojanovska and Dr Michael Mathai are conducting a study to assess the potential for improving sexual function in women with type 2 diabetes by taking a supplement from a plant traditionally used for this purpose in Peru.
The root of the plant Maca (Lepidium meyenii), which grows in the Peruvian Andes, has been used by locals for centuries, where it is reported to enhance fertility and to boost energy levels.

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Clinical Training for Health Profesionals

Neil Johnston

Some years ago an Australian hospital pharmacist pioneered wound management in Australian hospitals and went on to develop courses to train community pharmacists interested in setting up a specialty wound management clinic in their pharmacy setting.
This type of service initially established itself in a restricted number of pharmacy settings, but gradually faded away due to the pressure of PBS dispensing.
Now the opportunity is reappearing in WA at Curtin University with a purpose built facility established to train all health students (including pharmacy).
And here is the dilemma.
Many pharmacists would like to be involved in this type of activity but most community pharmacies are not physically designed to accommodate this service.
However, with the future development of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO's) under way, it may be possible for pharmacists to be part of the wound management team in that type of organisation.
Nicola Roxon is contributing $380,000 towards the project and is expected to be operational within three months.

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New hope for cerebral palsy prevention

Neil Johnston

University of Adelaide researchers are a step closer to finding a link between genetic susceptibility to cerebral palsy and a range of environmental risk factors during pregnancy, including infections and pre-term delivery.
During National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week (August 1-7), Professor Alastair MacLennan from the University's Robinson Institute says their research shows that pregnant women who are genetically susceptible to infections and other environmental hazards could trigger cerebral palsy in their unborn babies.

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UK Vending Machines Trialled

Neil Johnston

Prescription vending machines are being deployed in the UK Sainsbury pharmacy chain. This is being done in conjunction with the normal in-store pharmacy service,
and is being promoted as an additional service for those who would prefer it.
It is not an automated dispensing solution.

Comments: 2

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Research breakthrough on the question of life expectancy

Neil Johnston

Why do we grow old and what can we do to stop it? This is the question asked by many, but it appears that we are now closer to an answer thanks to new research published by Monash University researcher Dr Damian Dowling.
According to the research published in the August edition of the prestigious journal, The American Naturalist, a small set of genes in mitochondria (a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells), passed only from mothers to offspring, plays a more dynamic role in predicting life expectancies than ever previously anticipated.

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Liesel Wett - the new CEO for the PSA

Neil Johnston

In a shrewd management decision, the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has announced the appointment of Liesel Wett as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Wett, who is currently Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Australian General Practice Network, is expected to take up her appointment on 1 October 2010.
Given that the PSA will need to develop closer and stronger ties with GP organisations, this appointment may well prove to be critical for the future professional development of pharmacists.
Pharmacists will be enabled to get inside and understand GP thinking, guided by Liesel Wett.

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Inflammation in Fat Cells Causes Insulin Resistance

Neil Johnston

Inflammation-causing cells in fat tissue may explain the link between obesity and diabetes, a team of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers has shown.
The discovery, by Professor Len Harrison and Dr John Wentworth from the institute’s Autoimmunity and Transplantation division, opens the way for new anti-inflammatory treatments that prevent insulin resistance (where the body is unable to respond to and use the insulin it produces) and other complications associated with obesity.

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Cost Price Prescriptions - The Next Step?

Neil Johnston

The UK has started a new phase in private prescription discounting – no mark up on the drug and 50% off the dispensing fee.
“Millions could be saved every year if private prescription mark ups are abandoned, according to the Superdrug superintendent pharmacist.
Superdrug will dispense all private prescriptions with no mark up on the cost of the medicine, the company announced this week (3 August 2010).
It is also halving its minimum charge for dispensing medicines to £2.25.”

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The country can't face the technological future through copper wire

Neil Johnston

An opinion provided by the University of Sydney
By Professors Ben Eggleton and David Moss

Those who think our country can do without the national broadband network clearly do not fully understand the potential such a network offers to Australians. While other countries scramble to find ways to meet this exploding demand for global bandwidth, the opposition is wringing its hands and debating the need.
The network will do three things for Australia: it will pay for itself, it will stimulate the innovation economy and it will have multiple applications.

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Garlic may play vital role in treating hypertension

Neil Johnston

A University of Adelaide study shows that aged garlic extract may help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer hypertension.
Research trials by Dr Karin Ried and her colleagues from the University's Discipline of General Practice show that garlic could be used as an adjunct to conventional drugs for hypertension.
However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged garlic extract.

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Solar Diesel Power Station - World First in WA

Neil Johnston

The world's first solar-diesel power station has opened in Western Australia's Pilbara region at Marble Bar, known for its record high temperatures.
WA's Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore opened Horizon Power's Pippunyah Solar Diesel Power Station on Friday.
The new $34 million station is powered by the biggest sun-tracking solar panel farm in Australia.

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Complementary Medicines Surveyed

Neil Johnston

 Recently, a research report was published online in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine that highlighted Australian consumer attitudes towards complementary medicines and pharmacists selling complementary medicines.
An abstract is published below.
Consumers have indicated in earlier surveys that they wanted pharmacists to be the primary source of information for them and to keep a range of products that they could feel safe with.
The profession initially responded to those needs with the PGA setting up a College of Clinical Nutrition and many pharmacists (including this editor) completed the Advanced Diploma of Clinical Nutrition (Pharmacy).
Unfortunately, the college was closed and an alternative resource was never re-established.
People who did receive training in the use of nutritionals gained a new perspective in respect of practicing their profession and tended to work in the area of preventive medicine when an opportunity presented itself.
We have again asked Mark Coleman to comment on the survey and his report appears below the article abstract.

Comments: 12

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ASMI Media Releases July 2010

Bob Bowden

articles by this author...

Information and news from the Australian Self Medication Industry provided by Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications. Contact him on (02) 9241 2811 or 0412 753 298.He is supported by Filomena Maiese (ASMI Marketing & Business Development Director) and Michelle Sollitt-Davis (ASMI PR Manager).

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines.

ASMI’s mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care.

This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost.


ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy. www.asmi.com.au

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30 July 2010

Dr Deon Schoombie takes over as Executive Director of ASMI

Dr Deon Schoombie today formally takes over as Executive Director of the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI).

As announced in February, the longstanding Executive Director, Ms Juliet Seifert advised that she would be retiring from the position in August.

Ms Seifert stood down as Executive Director to devote her time and energy to her immediate family. She joined the Proprietary Association of Australia - the forerunner to ASMI - in 1989.

Dr Schoombie today paid tribute to Juliet’s leadership and achievement over many years.

“It is a remarkable feat to have been at the forefront of the industry for many years and to have earned the respect and trust of so many in the healthcare sector.

“On behalf of all of Juliet’s colleagues and staff, I wish her and her family all the very best for the future.”

Dr Schoombie has been ASMI’s Scientific Director since mid 2004. He is a general medical practitioner with a long history of experience in the pharmaceutical industry including in public policy, advertising, marketing and regulatory issues. He has also worked in international medical publishing and hospital management, and has undertaken post graduate training in traditional Chinese medicine.

“It is a large set of shoes to fill but I am very confident that with the support of my colleagues at the ASMI secretariat and our members, we are in a strong position to continue to advance the interests of the consumer healthcare sector,” Dr Schoombie said.

9 July 2010
Nutritionist’s advice on vitamin supplements during pregnancy sends confusing message

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products said today that women should think carefully about their nutritional status and the need for nutritional supplements to rectify any deficiencies during pregnancy.

ASMI was responding to a newspaper article[1] quoting Dr Maria Makrides, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Adelaide, who is quoted as saying there is little scientific evidence to support taking iron or iodine supplements during or ahead of pregnancy.

ASMI Regulatory and Technical Manager of Complementary Medicines, Ruth Kendon said there are valid reasons for using vitamin and mineral supplements in pregnancy, that are supported by the latest official advice and research.

The suggestion that all supplementation is unwarranted is in direct contradiction to the advice of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provided in January this year. That advice clearly makes the point that pregnant and breastfeeding women are not getting sufficient iodine.

The NHMRC recommends that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering pregnancy take an iodine supplement of 150ìg each day.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says that there is serious concern in Australia about deficiencies in three vital nutrients - iodine, folate and vitamin D.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s 2008 publication, The 22nd Australian Total Diet Study, states that in regard to iodine, the prevalence of inadequate intakes was greater than 50 per cent among women aged 19 and older.

In regard to iron, even Professor Makrides was quoted in 2003 as saying that regular low-dose iron is necessary during pregnancy: “If a woman can't double her iron intake from food, then it would be appropriate to recommend routine low-dose supplements to make sure she is meeting the recommended dietary intake,” Dr Makrides states.[2]

Ms Kendon said that the best available advice from all official sources suggests that many women are deficient in iron and iodine, and that the use of nutritional supplements is necessary to rectify this imbalance in these cases.

[1] Sydney Morning Herald, Vitamin use unnecessary: expert, 7 July 2010, online.

[1] Regular low-dose iron best in pregnancy, Media Release, MyDr.com.au; 4 April 2003, online

5 July, 2010
Australian Self Medication Industry National Conference

“Bringing Self Care to Life”

The delivery of next-generation online health services that help facilitate patient self-care will be a central focus of the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) national conference to be held in Sydney in November.

Bob Gann, the Head of Strategy & Engagement for NHS Choices, the online 'front door' to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), will be a keynote speaker.

The service saves the U.K. system £44 million ($74 million) a year by reducing avoidable and unnecessary GP consultations. It holds some 80,000 pages of information and recorded 100 million visits over the past year.

“The U.K. health system has been transformed to make best use of its GP workforce by promoting health literacy and providing patients with essential information to encourage preventative health and self-care,” said the Executive Director of ASMI, Ms Juliet Seifert.

“There are clear lessons for Australia as to how we can empower consumers to make good health choices, and how we make better use of our front line health workforce including pharmacists”.

The ASMI conference will hear the latest on government health reform together with debate about regulation of medicines including complementary medicines, the issue of advertising of over-the-counter (OTC medicines), and trends surrounding switches of prescription to OTC medicines.

When: Thursday 18 November 2010

Where: Australian Technology Park, Redfern, Sydney

Time: 11.00 am – 6.00 pm followed by Awards Dinner at 7.00 pm

Other speakers and panelists include:


· Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health & Ageing, (invited)

· Julian Henderson, Health Call Centre Network

· Carol Bennett, Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia

· Dr Lesley Braun, Monash University

· Nicholas Hall, Nicholas Hall & Company

· Brendan O’Loughlin, Pharmacy 4U

· Brett Clark, Chemist’s Warehouse e-pharmacy

· Bill Curtis, CJB Advertising

· Dr Norman Swan, ABC Radio National, The Health Report

For the full conference program, click here or go to www.asmi.com.au

Media contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications (02) 9241 2811, 0412 753 298 bbowden@bowmac.com.au

1 July 2010
Review of therapeutic goods industry codes and advertising a step in the right direction

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products today welcomed proposals by the Federal Government to better regulate the promotion of therapeutic products, and to review advertising guidelines.

The Executive Director of ASMI, Juliet Seifert said the measures outlined by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler had the potential to produce a more transparent and effective approach to the promotion of medicines, including over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare products.

“ASMI has been a strong advocate of self-regulation, and its members are bound by a Code of Conduct which has been authorised by the ACCC. We are particularly pleased that the parliamentary secretary is advocating stronger self-regulation,” Ms Seifert said.

One problem is that industry codes generally only apply to members and the challenge is to achieve universal coverage and a level playing field to ensure that all sponsors abide by a set of common principles.

ASMI has been advocating a review of current advertising arrangements applicable to advertising to consumers to make the scheme more user-friendly and responsive.

“We will be working with government, consumers, healthcare professionals and industry colleagues to implement arrangements that will enhance consumer confidence in the scheme and provide greater certainty and clarity for industry,” Ms Seifert said.

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