s ASMI Media Releases May 2010 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 24/05/2010         Volume. 2 No. 5   
Information to Pharmacists

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Feature Contribution

Do the Maths - 1200 Graduates a Year and Increasing

Neil Johnston

Pharmacists graduating within Australia must have a reasonable assurance that on graduation they will have some form of a job available for them, after due diligence and reasonable effort on their part to get themselves recruited.
The current maths do not stack up - 5000 pharmacies to accommodate 1200 graduates nationally, and increasing.
Who is responsible for the planning for graduates?

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GPs were the ‘gatekeepers’ to the health system. Will they remain so?

James Ellerson

It’s often hard to tell which party is in favour of what outcome when reading some of the media coverage on doctor, pharmacy, nurse practitioner prescribing issues. Here are a few examples to ponder:

• the Guild is opposed to pharmacist prescribing

• pharmacists and nurse practitioners are to be given limited prescribing rights

• most GPs do not actually consult with a patient before issuing a repeat script.

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Is eHealth critical to navigating the world of primary care?

Dr Ian Colclough

Primary health care reform is firmly on the political agenda. For reforms to succeed they must be underpinned by the successful deployment of ehealth; absolutely.
The last decade has witnessed a major lost opportunity for ehealth in Primary Care. Many hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on unrealistically ambitious and poorly managed ehealth projects; many of which have failed.
Aptly named Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO), recently inappropriately renamed ‘Medicare Locals’, will be the centre point of the reform process. Consequently a palpable sense of urgency has developed around ehealth as its central role in the health reform process becomes increasingly apparent to politicians and bureaucrats.

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PSA Future of Pharmacy-Technicians to manage dispensing

Neil Johnston

Comment has been recently made in pharmacy media on the PSA Issues Paper on the “Future of Pharmacy in Australia” in respect of the upskilling of dispensing technicians to dispense without pharmacist oversight.
Comments offered on this aspect included reduced job opportunities for pharmacists, pressure to lower dispensing fees, opportunity to develop clinical services e.g. the ability to perform HMR’s.
No doubt more comment will follow as the paper is digested and potential flow-on impacts are thought through.
Writers will be participating through the pages of the i2P e-magazine to hopefully help build the future version of this PSA paper.

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Health: The Pollies are playing us as well as Orianthi plays the guitar.

Chris Wright

Our politicians are spinning like fury as we head towards the election and despite the fact their gift for spin doesn’t match Orianthi Panagaris’ gift for playing guitar they are getting away with electoral blue murder.
As for “fixing” the health system, the rhetoric is never matched by performance. After all, it is questionable that “fixing” health actually translates to votes, simply because the money required to make an impact is too great an amount compared to the votes gained…besides “fixing” is subjective anyway.

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What is it with pharmacy?

Garry Boyd

The colleges are churning out Pharmacists at a rate that would embarrass the most discerning “people-smuggler”……..

Apologies for the errant humor leading to an election.
Some 1,200 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fine and mostly young pharmacists are hitting the job market and will somehow try to squeeze into 5,000 pharmacies.
Worse, a similar number will follow them fairly smartly.

What’s it all about, I wonder?

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Looking for answers

Barry Urquhart

Everyone, it seems, is looking for answers. For most there are none “out there”. Those who ask the right questions generally find the right answers “within”.

Solutions abound, looking for problems. Few can define and even fewer recognise the nature and presence of specific problems. Resources are being liberally allocated to furnishing, deploying or paying for preset solutions. Disappointment and dissatisfaction seem inevitable.

Experts are readily accessible. Expertise is harder to find. The business landscape appears to be lush with new green shoots, yet barren. Much like the desert and the Lake Eyre regions of central Australia.

The climates of regions throughout the world are changing. Temperatures are rising. Record cold snaps are also being recorded. Extended dry spells are evident, offset by deluges of flooding proportions.

Prognostications by some economists conclude “boom times” have arrived or are on the near horizon. Many consumers have obviously not heard or read of the confidence building forecasts. They are constraining purchases and outlays. Retailers, particularly smaller entities, are confused, and are finding trading is tough.

In recent times we have worked with clients from a broad spectrum of sectors producing formats, templates and frameworks which enable them to “look within”.

Real riches are being rediscovered, refined and celebrated. Positive and embracing corporate cultures, are being revisited and pride inculcated, because of what made entities great and competitively advantaged in the first instance.
Distinctive symbols and myths are being recognised, valued and applied for internal cohesion, self motivation and for external profiling.
The article text which features later in this transmission unveils and outlines encouraging lessons and principles on the role and nature of a positive corporate culture.

I commend it to the former executives, the players and besieged supporters of the once high achieving, now disgraced Melbourne Storm Rugby League team.
Barry Urquhart

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NAPE begs more questions than answers- for the moment

Neil Johnston

The ideal of having quality continuing pharmacy education, delivered in digestible “bite-sized” chunks plus convenience of delivery at an economical cost has been a dream for pharmacists for as long as I can remember.
With the advent of the new Australian Pharmacy Board there will be requirement for all pharmacists to undertake suitable education to maintain their registration.
While there are many acceptable education streams coming from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice (ACPP), there is not a high degree of planning to anticipate all pharmacist needs.
For example, the delivery of professional services for a fee – there is no identifiable pathway enabling individual pharmacists to develop a professional practice that could be incorporated into a community pharmacy, a primary health care organisation, a medical centre or other suitable location.

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Hmmm, I’m not convinced

Garry Boyd

A Woolworths “spokesman” (they are all still so very alpha at Woolies) has come out (excuse the expression) and declared the loss of interest in not only their “pharmacy” type trademarks but the industry of pharmacy itself.
980218 Pharmacist at Woolworths and 980219 PHARMACIST @ WOOLWORTHS, both previously registered trade marks, have been cancelled.

Comments: 3

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Naturopathy and my Doctor.

Chris Wright

To my pleasant surprise the family doctor offered a choice to address a painful problem highlighted by scans.
Acupuncture or an anti-inflammatory drug?
Acupuncture any day thank you, without the fries.

Comments: 2

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Better patient advice loses out to costly prescription errors

Staff Writer

A University of Otago study which shows pharmacists spend too much time seeking clarification for minor prescription errors has prompted a call for greater awareness among doctors and prescribers of this time-wasting problem.

Lead author and School of Pharmacy Senior Lecturer Dr Rhiannon Braund says the study of 20 Dunedin pharmacies found that in most cases unnecessary minor bureaucratic errors were the reason for pharmacists needing to confirm the intent of prescribers - usually doctors.

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Study shows Australian quality of life varies widely

Staff Writer

A survey of 5000 Australians conducted by the University of Technology Sydney has shown middle aged people express the lowest level in quality of life compared with people in their early 20s or mid 60’s.

The finding which throws the ‘life begins at 40’ cliché into serious doubt is among a number of revelations gained from the study.
Findings of the research will be discussed in a public lecture held at the UTS Great Hall on Tuesday 25 May 2010. Details for the lecture which is open to the public for free can be obtained from the UTS web site www.uts.edu.au/new/speaks/2010/May/2505.htm

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Public participation heats up on climate change

Staff Writer

Australians believe that climate change is here to stay, but their expectations about the severity of change fall well short of what scientists predict.
This is one of the key findings from a three-year study led by The Australian National University. The Climate Change and the Public Sphere project has interviewed more than 100 randomly selected citizens from the ACT and Goulburn about their views on climate change in various, increasingly severe, situations and how they are likely to react to it in the future.

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Killed by cold: heart and stroke deaths peak in winter

Staff Writer

* Perth and Sydney lead the country in winter heart-related deaths

* Tasmanians cope best with the cold

* Brisbane not far behind Sydney for winter deaths

* Darwin fares the best because it doesn't get so cold

Rates of cardiovascular disease increase dramatically in Australian winters because many people don't know how to rug up against the cold, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) seasonal researcher has found.

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Traumatic brain injury linked to sleep disturbance

Staff Writer

A Monash University study has shown that sleep disturbances and depression symptoms are common among people who have suffered Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The team of researchers from the School of Psychology and Psychiatry measured in a laboratory setting the sleep of 23 patients with TBI with 23 healthy people who had not suffered trauma.
Study leader, Associate Professor Shantha Rajaratnam said patients with TBI showed increased sleep disturbance and reported poorer sleep quality, and higher anxiety and depressive symptoms than healthy volunteers.

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Blood Thinners May Prevent Malaria

Staff Writer

New treatments for malaria are possible after Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists found that molecules similar to the blood-thinning drug heparin can stop malaria from infecting red blood cells.
Malaria is an infection of red blood cells that is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The most common form of malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum which burrows into red blood cells where it rapidly multiplies, leading to massive numbers of parasites in the blood stream that can cause severe disease and death.

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PAC 10- A Focus on Pharmacy Practice Change

Staff Writer

Pharmacy practice must shift its primary mission from supplying medicines to helping people make the best use of medicines in order to meet the needs of the public and ensure its survival as a health profession.
This is the view of leading US pharmacy expert Professor William A. Zellmer who will present on the topic of The Imperative for Change in Pharmacy Practice at PAC10 in October this year.

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Drug Company Battles with NZ Pharmacy Guild

Staff Writer

In a recent news item reported in the New Zealand Stuff.co.nz highlights a drug recall problem that had significant associated costs involving community pharmacy participation.
It is a problem that could occur within Australia and is currently before the courts in New Zealand.
The problem does reflect on the existing culture within the pharmacy profession where for too long pharmacists have virtually donated their services in instances where there should have been an expectation of payment for a professional service.
PGA (Australia) could monitor the legal process in New Zealand and adopt a protocol, if the result proves favourable to pharmacy.
The story (found online here) follows below:

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Hmmm, I’m not convinced

Garry Boyd

A Woolworths “spokesman” (they are all still so very alpha at Woolies) has come out (excuse the expression) and declared the loss of interest in not only their “pharmacy” type trademarks but the industry of pharmacy itself.
980218 Pharmacist at Woolworths and 980219 PHARMACIST @ WOOLWORTHS, both previously registered trade marks, have been cancelled.

Comments: 3

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Sunlight shines on clean energy future

Staff Writer

Dr Zhiguo Yi and Professor Ray Withers have found a simple inorganic compound can efficiently oxidise water to release oxygen.
The production of clean energy and the treatment of waste water are set to become easier thanks to ANU researchers.
The scientists – Dr Zhiguo Yi and Professor Ray L Withers of the Research School of Chemistry at ANU, along with colleagues from Japan and China – have demonstrated that a simple inorganic compound, silver orthophosphate, can efficiently be used to oxidise water with only the power of light.
The oxidisation process can be used to convert solar energy to clean energy or break down contaminants in water.
The research is published in Nature Materials.

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The Ascendancy of Warwick Plunkett

Neil Johnston

Prior to negotiations commencing for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA) the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia agreed that the two organisations would present a unified front in their dealings with government.

That did not happen and many details of the 5CPA were completed in secrecy and without the appropriate input by the PSA.

Explanations were later offered by the PGA, but they rang a little hollow and were certainly outside of the spirit of a unified front.

Certainly, on the surface it appears that the PGA did not honour an agreement and was prepared to discount their formal agreement to the extent that it seemed not to exist at all.

The news item reporting the rift between the two organisations follows and Mark Coleman has been asked to provide a commentary at the foot of this news item.

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ASMI Media Releases May 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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11 May 2010
Primary health care reforms a good start but more needed

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products today welcomed initiatives in the Federal Budget aimed at strengthening primary health care, but called for called for measures to hasten consumer self care.

“The funding for additional nurses in general practice will assist in areas such as preventative health and chronic disease,” said the Executive Director of ASMI, Juliet Seifert.

“The extension of practice nurses is a step in the right direction and will assist consumers through improved access to health care. It represents an important step in obtaining the best use from our highly trained health workforce.

“Practice nurses can play a valuable role in addressing minor ailments and chronic conditions, and taking pressure off already over-burdened GPs.

“This should be supported up by a public education campaign to help consumers and health professionals understand what consumers require and when it is appropriate to seek the advice of a GP or an allied health professional such as a pharmacist,” Ms Seifert said.

Measures to encourage electronic health are welcome and have the capacity to streamline primary care and improve health outcomes. The capacity to monitor and track medicines prescribed and recommended to consumers through electronic recording can play a valuable role in Australia’s Quality Use of Medicines policy.

5 May 2010
Pharmacist-only category of medicines becoming a consumer backwater

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products today called for reforms to therapeutic goods regulation to allow advertising for a growing category of consumer medicines.

The current prohibition on consumer advertising of certain medicines in the Pharmacist Only, or Schedule 3 (S3) category is short-changing consumers, and harming manufacturers who are unable to bring products to the notice of consumers who may benefit from them.

“It does not make sense to have a category of medicines that is available to the public, without prescription, but which is not able to be advertised to those who may need them,” said the Executive Director of ASMI, Juliet Seifert.

“If these medicines are sufficiently safe to be allowed to be sold without the need for a prescription, it also makes sense to allow them to be responsibly advertised. “

Currently, therapeutic goods classified as S3 cannot be advertised unless they are included in Appendix H of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP).

Because these medicines can’t be advertised and must be kept within the dispensary, consumers can often remain completely unaware of their existence. With no mechanism to expose consumers to the brand, many consumers do not find a need to speak to the pharmacist.

The S3 category now contains a range of medicines for conditions that can be safely managed with the intervention of a pharmacist including codeine combination analgesics, proton pump inhibitors, and treatments for eye infections and weight loss.

The situation is also damaging to the industry, with one major pharmaceutical firm required to restructure operations because its S3 product was not able to gain the advertising necessary to reach a broad-based consumer market. If the current restrictions remain, the S3 category without advertising will remain a backwater of little-known products that are largely uneconomic for providers.

The position is counter to that of the U.K. market where all over-the-counter (OTC) products are able to be advertised direct to consumers.

One explanation for the advertising restriction in Australia is that the possibility of inappropriate advertising warrants certain S3 products being placed in a special “non-advertising” category.

However, there are already safeguards over advertising of therapeutic products under the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code which includes a process of pre-approvals, together with a complaints mechanism in the event of alleged breaches.

The other reason for the ban on advertising of some S3 products is that advertising would lead to inappropriate patterns of use, an assertion which has never been substantiated.

“It’s time that the advertising controls relevant to the Pharmacist Only category were reviewed in light of recent scheduling decisions, and the need for increased consumer awareness about latest treatment options.

“Without knowledge of the alternative treatments available, patients are more likely to have to visit an already overstretched GP for minor ailments, when an effective OTC remedy is available at a pharmacy,” Ms Seifert said.

 

4 May 2010

Herbal medicine scare overblown and ill-founded

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products, said today that an academic study suggesting life-threatening dangers associated with herbal remedies needed to be treated with caution.

ASMI was responding to an article in the Daily Telegraph, quoting a research paper by Professor Roger Byard of the University of Adelaide published in the journal Australasian Science. It is based on an article published in the United States-based Journal of Forensic Sciences.

ASMI Regulatory and Technical Manager for Complementary Medicines, Ms Ruth Kendon, said the academic paper was based largely on studies of herbal products in the U.S. where these products are unregulated. It does not reflect the situation in Australia where herbal and complementary products are subject to quality control.

“Australia has one of the most comprehensive regulatory arrangements in the world for complementary medicines. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the body responsible for overseeing this regime and it has an outstanding reputation for ensuring quality and safety including quality materials,” she said.

“Some of the adverse reactions cited relate to cases where extremely high doses have been used. Most of the interactions with other medicines that have been cited are theoretical, and many have been disproven,” Ms Kendon said.

Regulation of medicines in Australia is based on a risk-based management model in which the aim is to ensure that the level of regulation is commensurate with the level of risk posed by the medicines. Herbal medicines are considered relatively low risk products but, as with all medicines, consumers should not assume that they are entirely risk-free.

In the case of Black Cohosh, which featured in the report, the TGA mandated label warnings several years ago to alert consumers to the possibility of a very rare risk of liver damage.

As with all health-related products, ASMI encourages consumers to consult the advice of an appropriate healthcare professional when considering using a new treatment.

“In the case of herbal medicines, consumers should first consult their pharmacist or qualified naturopath or herbalist when considering using a product. ASMI also recommends consumers talk to their healthcare professional before combining any forms of medication, whether it be prescription, complementary or over-the-counter.”

 

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