s ASMI Media Releases over June 2014 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for July 2014

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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Feature Contribution

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

It started with “tablet” computers deployed on shelves inside the retailer Coles, specifically to provide information to consumers relating to pain management and the sale of strong analgesics.
This development was reported in i2P under the title Coles Pharmacy Expansion and the Arid PGA Landscape”
In that article we reported that qualified information was a missing link that had come out of Coles market research as the reason to why it had not succeeded in dominating the pain market.
Of course, Woolworths was working on the same problem at the same time and had come up with a better solution - real people with good information.

Comments: 5

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Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

Editor's Note: The understanding of a pharmacy's presentation through the research that goes into the design of fixtures and fittings that highlight displays, is a never-ending component of pharmacy marketing.
Over the past decade, Australian pharmacy shop presentations have fallen behind in standards of excellence.
It does not take rocket science - you just have to open your eyes.
Recently, our two major supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have entered into the field of drug and condition information provision - right into the heartland of Australian Pharmacy.

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The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

I attended the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Brisbane recently.
What an eye and ear opening event that was!
Young Mums, mature Mums, partners of all ages, grandparents and friends……...many asking about health issues and seeking reassurances that they were doing the right thing.

Comments: 1

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‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

It should be the scandal of the century.
It potentially affects the health of almost everyone.
Healthcare providers and consumers alike should be up in arms. But apart from coverage in a few credible news sources the problem of ‘Marketing Based Medicine,’ as psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry terms it, hasn’t as yet generated the kind of universal outrage one might expect.

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Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

Government funding is always scarce and restricted.
If you are ever going to be a recipient of government funds you will need to fortify any application with evidence.
From a government perspective, this minimises risk.
I must admit that while I see evidence of research projects being managed by the PGA, I rarely see community pharmacists individually and actively engaged in the type of research that would further their own aims and objectives (and survival).

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Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

Most of us leave a tremendous impact on pharmacies we work for (as proprietors, managers, contractors or employees)—in ways we’re not even aware of.
But organisational memories are often all too short, and without a central way to record that impact and capture the knowledge and individual contributions, they become lost to time.
It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral.

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Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see

Staff Writer

This article was first published in The Conversation and was written by Wendy Lipworth, University of Sydney and Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney
In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care.
i2P has republished the article as it supports our own independent and ongoing investigations on how drug companies are involved in marketing-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

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I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

Editor's Note: This is an early article by Mark Neuenschwander we have republished after the soul-searching surrounding a recent Australian dispensing error involving methotrexate.
Hmm. There’s more than one way you could take that, huh? Like Someday when I get around to it (I’m not sure) I may admit that I was wrong about something. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the concept of admitting wrong. So don’t get your hopes up. No juicy confessions this month except that I wish it were easier for me to admit when I have been wrong or made a mistake.
Brian Goldman, an ER physician from Toronto, is host of the award-winning White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio and slated to deliver the keynote at The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Anaheim this May. His TED lecture, entitled, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about it?” had already been viewed by 386,072 others before I watched it last week.

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Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

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

Most readers will be aware of recent publicity relating to dispensing errors and in particular to deaths caused by methotrexate being incorrectly packed in dose administration aids.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA), in its Communique of 13 June 2014, described a methotrexate packing error leading to the death of a patient and noted “extra vigilance is required to be exercised by pharmacists with these drugs”.
This same case was reported by A Current Affair (ACA) in its program on Friday 20 June

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Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, “Gosh, do I need a vacation.”
Of course you have – because all work and no play aren’t good for anyone.
A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks on a tropical island, or even a long weekend at the beach. 
A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities. 
A change of pace. 
It doesn’t matter where.
Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. 
But did you also know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off? 
Call it your personal stimulus package.

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Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

This article was first published in the Conversation. It caught our eye because "peer review" it is one of the standards for evidence-based medicines that has also been corrupted by global pharma.
The article is republished by i2P as part of its ongoing investigation into scientific fraud and was writtenby Andre Spicer, City University London and Thomas Roulet, University of Oxford
We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean?
How does it work?
Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists' work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already knew.
Most scientific journals, conferences and grant applications have some sort of peer review system. In most cases it is “double blind” peer review. This means evaluators do not know the author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the evaluators.
The intention behind this system is to ensure evaluation is not biased.
The more prestigious the journal, conference, or grant, the more demanding will be the review process, and the more likely the rejection. This prestige is why these papers tend to be more read and more cited.

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Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

While dining out with an elderly friend, I noticed that he kept his false tooth plate in his shirt pocket. He had recently had seven amalgam-filled teeth removed, because he believed that their toxins were making him sick; but his new plate was uncomfortable. He had been treated by an 'holistic dentist'. Claiming to offer a "safe and healthier alternative" to conventional dentistry, are they committed to our overall health and wellbeing or are they promoting unjustified fear, unnecessarily extracting teeth and wasting our money?

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Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

We are now entering a new financial year and it’s a great time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.
It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.
The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

Welcome to the new financial year in Australia.
For many in business the past year has been described as a challenging period.
Adjectives are a key feature of the English language.  In the business lexicon their use can be, and often is evocative and stimulate creative images.  But they can also contribute to inexact, emotional perceptions.
Throughout the financial pages of newspapers and business magazines adjectives abound.
References to “hot” money draw attention and comment.  The recent wave of funds from Chinese investors, keen to remove their wealth from the jurisdiction and control of government regulations is creating a potential property bubble in Australia.

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Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy culture is dormant.
Being comprised of values, unless each value is continually addressed, updated or deleted, entire organisations can stagnate (or entire professions such as the pharmacy profession).
Good values offer a strong sense of security, knowing that if you operate within the boundaries of your values, you will succeed in your endeavours.

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Evidence-based medicine is broken. Why we need data and technology to fix it

Staff Writer

The following article is reprinted from The Conversation and forms up part of our library collection on evidence-based medicines.
At i2P we also believe that the current model of evidence is so fractured it will never be able to be repaired.
All that can happen is that health professionals should independently test and verify through their own investigations what evidence exists to prescribe a medicine of any potency.
Health professionals that have patients (such as pharmacists) are ideally placed to observe and record the efficacy for medicines.
All else should confine their criticisms to their evidence of the actual evidence published.
If there are holes in it then share that evidence with the rest of the world.
Otherwise, do not be in such a hurry to criticise professions that have good experience and judgement to make a good choice on behalf of their patients, simply because good evidence has not caught up with reality.

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Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One

Staff Writer

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 25, 2014
Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One
by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS July 25, 2014) Niacin has been used for over 60 years in tens of thousands of patients with tremendously favorable therapeutic benefit (Carlson 2005).
In the first-person NY Times best seller, "8 Weeks to a Cure for Cholesterol," the author describes his journey from being a walking heart attack time bomb to a becoming a healthy individual.
He hails high-dose niacin as the one treatment that did more to correct his poor lipid profile than any other (Kowalski 2001).

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Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

Deep within all of us we have a core set of values and beliefs that create the standards of behaviour that we align with when we set a particular direction in life.
Directions may change many times over a lifetime, but with life experiences and maturity values may increase in number or gain greater depth.
All of this is embraced under one word – “culture”.
When a business is born it will only develop if it has a sound culture, and the values that comprise that culture are initially inherent in the business founder.
A sound business culture equates to a successful business and that success is often expressed in the term “goodwill” which can be eventually translated to a dollar value.

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

The brave new world of health and wellness is not the enemy of Pharmacy, it is its champion.
Australian futurist, Morris Miselowski, one of the world's leading business visionaries, will present the Opening Keynote address on Pharmacy's Future in the new Health and Wellness Landscape at 2.00pm on Wednesday July 30.
Morris believes the key to better health care could already be in your pocket, with doctors soon set to prescribe iPhone apps, instead of pills.
Technology will revolutionise the health industry - a paradigm shift from healthcare to personal wellness.
Health and wellness applications on smartphones are already big news, and are dramatically changing the way we manage our personal health and everyday wellness.

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Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: We have had a number of articles in this issue relating to pharmacy research.
The PGA has conducted a number of research initiatives over the years, including one recently reported in Pharmacy News that resulted from an analysis of the QCPP Patient Questionnaire.
Pharmacy Guild president, George Tambassis, appears to have authored the article following, and there also appears to be a disconnect between the survey report and its target audience illustrated by one of the respondent comments published.
I have asked Mark Coleman to follow through, elaborate and comment:

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ASMI Media Releases over June 2014

Marie Kelly-Davies

articles by this author...

Information and news from the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) provided by Marie Kelly-Davies (ASMI PR Manager). Contact her on 02 9923 9410 or email marie@asmi.com.au

ASMI Media Releases over June 2014

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ASMI congratulates and thanks Jane Halton

 27 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today congratulated Professor Jane Halton PSM on her appointment as Secretary of the Federal Department of Finance and recognised her for her immense contributions to Australian and international health policy over the last twelve years.

In recognising Professor Halton for her role in shaping health policy, ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie said: “Professor Halton’s strong leadership and substantial contributions to health policy over the last decade will have impacts for years to come. 

“ASMI has enjoyed a longstanding collaborative relationship with Professor Halton over many years.

“We wish Professor Halton well,” says Dr Schoombie.

ASMI says Permitted indications legislative reform must progress

26 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) says it is critically important that legislative reform of Permitted (coded) indications for Listed Medicines be progressed to ensure the sustainability of the complementary medicine sector in the future.

The Office of Complementary Medicines (OCM) has announced that the implementation of the Permitted (coded) indications legislative reform will be delayed pending broader consideration of the implications of the deregulation agenda for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Steve Scarff, said: “It is disappointing that the legislative amendments related to the Permitted indications project will not proceed to Parliament during the scheduled winter sittings. Instead, the TGA will consider a bid during later sitting periods in 2014.

“ASMI and its members have put a substantial amount of work into the reform so it is a shame to see that it has stalled. We urge the TGA to press ahead.

“The OCM has noted that part of the Permitted indications reform can be implemented within the existing regulatory framework without any legislative changes or increased regulation. In particular, the updating of the indications list in the Electronic Listing Facility (ELF) will be progressed. 

“In this regard, the TGA intends to continue updating and expanding the list of indications and will proceed to upload the list into ELF once finalised and practicable.1

“ASMI is reviewing the draft Permitted indications lists and working with members to ensure the list meets the needs of the complementary medicines industry.

“The TGA is preparing a draft list for traditional medicine indications and ASMI will work with

members and the TGA to ensure a comprehensive list is developed,” said Mr Scarff.


Paracetamol should be taken at the approved dose

20 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today reaffirmed that paracetamol has a well-known safety profile, particularly at usual doses. 

This was in response to research published in Emergency Medicine Australasia which calls on

authorities to restrict pack sizes to reduce the risk of deliberate paracetamol overdose. The author of the article, Professor Andis Graudins, warned that large packs of modified release paracetamol used for arthritis are putting patients at greater risk of a larger overdose.

Professor Graudins is concerned that delayed absorption of slow release paracetamol products may mean that the concentration of paracetamol is at non-toxic levels when diagnostic tests are initially done in the emergency department, yet they may rise to toxic levels once the slow release mechanism kicks in.

Importantly, there are widely accepted and used paracetamol overdose guidelines in place which outline appropriate practices for the management of slow release paracetamol products.

ASMI Director Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, Steve Scarff, said that paracetamol overdoses are concerning and the industry is committed to adopting best practice in all aspects of analgesic use to minimise the risk of overdose.

“Last year the size of packs containing paracetamol that are available over-the-counter in

supermarkets reduced from 25 to 20 tablets.  Consumers now need to visit a community pharmacy to purchase packs of paracetamol containing more than twenty 500mg tablets, capsules or caplets. 

“Worldwide, paracetamol has a long history of use and a well-established safety profile. It has been available in Australia for many years, but like all medicines it must be taken only as directed.

“The recommended paracetamol dose for adults and children 12 years and over is 500 to 1000 mg every four to six hours as necessary, with a maximum of 4000 mg in any 24 hour period.

“When taking an analgesic, like any medicine, it is important that consumers adhere to approved doses and warning statements on the pack.

“Consumers who have concerns about their medicines should seek advice from a healthcare professional,” Mr Scarff continued. 1


1. Australian Government: Department of Health and Ageing. Therapeutics Goods Administration. Recommended paracetamol doses. Available at http://www.tga.gov.au/consumers/informationparacetamol-doses.htm

ASMI says OTC analgesics effective for short term pain relief
12 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today reassured consumers that analgesics available over-the-counter have an established safety profile and are effective for short-term relief of pain. 

This was in response to media coverage suggesting Australian consumers are being misled about the claims made in relation to over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics. 1

ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Steve Scarff said: “OTC analgesics are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) after a rigorous review process.

“There are strict controls on safety, efficacy, labelling, packaging and the promotion of these medicines.

“Consumers are free to choose the version of a medicine that they purchase. They should carefully follow the instructions on the label and if they have any concerns about a medicine they should consult with their GP or pharmacist,” said Mr Scarff.


1. The truth about your painkillers: Is Panadol Rapid actually rapid? news.com.au,


Prominent nutrition researchers reaffirm value of multivitamins

4 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today welcomed comments by four prominent US nutrition researchers about the benefits of multivitamins. The researchers published a letter in the latest edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine 1

 in response to an editorial in the December issue of the same journal which claimed that multivitamins are unnecessary.

ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Steve Scarff said: “The researchers argued that the original editorial ‘ignored decades of nutrition research and diet monitoring of the US population to reach this misleading conclusion’.

“The researchers explained that multivitamins help to fill nutritional gaps and improve general health.  They can play a key role in compensating for nutritional deficiency where one exists.

“Ideally, adults and children should be getting their essential nutrients from a healthy diet, but the reality is that many people are not meeting the recommended daily nutrient requirements.

“Repeated studies in Australia, as with the US, reveal that a large proportion of the population are not obtaining the recommended levels of essential nutrients.

“A study on the state of Australia’s health, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, highlights that the typical consumer diet falls short on essential nutrients, with only 5.6 per cent of the adult population having an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables.3

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics also reported that only 4-6 per cent of children aged between five and seventeen years consumed the recommended serves of vegetables each day.

  In a national survey, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that children’s intake of fruits and vegetables did not meet recommended intake levels. 5

“The journal Nutrition reported the results of a survey of Australian children and found that, on average, they eat just 20 per cent of the recommended quantity of Omega3 fatty acids.

 Finally, a national study funded by state Cancer Councils, the Cancer Council of Australia and the National Heart Foundation found that only 14 per cent of secondary school students met the dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetables,” says Mr Scarff.7

Consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can provide advice on nutritional needs and determine whether a multivitamin may be beneficial.4,2,6


1. Frei, B. et al. Enough Is Enough. Annals of Internal Medicine. 3 June 2014, 160(11) pp741812.

2. Editorial. Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.
Annals of Internal Medicine
. Published online 17 December 2013.

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey, October 2012.

4. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009. 2007-08 National Health Survey: Summary of Results.

5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010. Australia’s Health 2010. Australia’s health

series no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW

6. Meyer BJ, Kolanu N. Australian children are not consuming enough long-chain omega-3

polyunsaturated fatty acids for optimal health. Nutrition. 2011 Nov-Dec; 27(11-12):1136-40.

7. National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey 2009-10 is jointly funded by the state Cancer Councils, Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation of

Australia. Published in 2011.

ASMI welcomes new Complementary Medicines Regulatory Manager

4 June 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today welcomed Annaliese Scholz as its new Regulatory and Technical Manager for Complementary Medicines.

ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Steve Scarff said: “Annaliese brings a wealth of

technical and regulatory knowledge to ASMI and will be a great asset to ASMI members. She has worked in a variety of complementary medicine organisations over the years and has a strong background in regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, product development and quality assurance.

“This is an exciting time for Annaliese to be joining ASMI as there is substantial regulatory reform underway in the complementary medicines arena. She will represent ASMI members on a number of committees and participate in public policy processes on a range of issues.

“Annaliese will assist members to understand regulatory, compliance and political issues affecting the sector and provide them with advice on day-to-day issues. She will also provide technical and regulatory support to ASMI’s Strategy Manager - Complementary Medicines. 

“I am confident that Annaliese’s academic qualifications in science and naturopathy together with her industry experience will equip her to make a great contribution to ASMI and ASMI members,” said Mr Scarff.

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