s ASMI Media Releases for September 2013 | 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

Comments: 1

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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 for September 2013

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

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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OTC analgesics containing codeine safe for the majority of users: Response to Letter to Editor in MJA

18 September 2013 – Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing codeine, including codeine-combination analgesics, are an effective short-term option for temporary relief of moderate to strong pain, when taken according to the directions on the pack, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) reaffirmed today.

ASMI’s comments follow a Letter to the Editor in the Medical Journal of Australia in which researchers from Monash University state that reports of inadvertent misuse of, and dependence on, OTC codeine-combination analgesics are on the rise in Victoria.1

“The issue of misuse and addiction to OTC analgesics is a serious health issue, which should not be downplayed. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the vast majority of people who use these products do so responsibly,” said ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie.

In Australia, OTC codeine-combination analgesics are only available behind the counter in pharmacy after consultation with a pharmacist. These medicines are intended strictly for short term use and pack sizes are limited to five days supply. Longer term use should only occur under the direction of a GP or pharmacist.

Dr Schoombie continued: “ASMI is committed to supporting the quality use of medicines in all aspects of analgesic use, including issues such as labelling, packaging, dosage and availability of public information. We have been working with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on ways to support safe use, including label warning statements to alert consumers, as well as pharmacists, of the risks associated inappropriate use.”

When taking a pain reliever, like any medicine, it is important that consumers read the label carefully, including the warning statements on the pack, and only take the medicines as directed. If pain or other symptoms persist, they should consult a doctor or pharmacist.

ASMI encourages new Government to integrate self care into health policies 

16 September 2013 – In congratulating the Coalition on election success, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said today that it looks forward to continuing to engage with the new Government to ensure health policies focus on self care.

“ASMI looks forward to maintaining productive relationships with the newly appointed Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton, Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, as well as the Hon Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry,” said ASMI President, Mark Sargent.

“Over the past few years, Mr Dutton and his staff have given a substantial amount of their time to ensure they are across key issues affecting our industry – from the current labelling and packaging review affecting over-the-counter products and complementary medicines, to supporting innovation of high quality medicines by establishing a period of data protection, commensurate with the degree of innovation and investment.”

“ASMI believes supporting individuals to be more active and engaged in managing their own health is an important dimension to building a more sustainable Australian healthcare system in the future.  Expanding self care will be a key driver to promote this shift in behaviour.”

“We hope that under the new leadership, expansion of self care will be formally integrated into Australia’s health policies.”

“As a first step, ASMI advocates supporting the proposed Australian Self Care Alliance which will bring together existing stakeholders engaged in the delivery of healthcare, as an authoritative source of information on the issue of self care, and the way in which it can help people develop improved health literacy. This does not entail Government expenditure but a willingness to engage and to consider new ways of working as a precursor to driving reforms in this area.”

Thursday 12 September 2013

Codeine could increase users' sensitivity to pain

Using large and frequent doses of the pain-killer codeine may actually produce heightened sensitivity to pain,

without the same level of relief offered by morphine, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

Researchers in the Discipline of Pharmacology have conducted what is believed to be the world's first experimental

study comparing the pain relieving and pain worsening effects of both codeine and morphine.

The University's Professor Paul Rolan, who is also a headache specialist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, says

codeine has been widely used as pain relief for more than 100 years but its effectiveness has not been tested in

this way before.

"In the clinical setting, patients have complained that their headaches became worse after using regular codeine,

not better," Professor Rolan says.

"Codeine use is not controlled in the same way as morphine, and as it is the most widely used strong pain reliever

medication in the world, we thought it was about time we looked into how effective it really is."

In laboratory studies, University of Adelaide PhD student Jacinta Johnson found that codeine provided much less

pain relief than morphine, but resulted in the same level of increased sensitivity to pain.

"Pain sensitivity is a major issue for users of opioid drugs because the more you take, the more the drug can

increase your sensitivity to pain, so you may never quite get the level of relief you need. In the long term it has the

effect of worsening the problem rather than making it better. We think that this is a particular problem in headache

patients, who seem more sensitive to this effect," Ms Johnson says.

"Both codeine and morphine are opioids but codeine is a kind of 'Trojan horse' drug – 10% of it is converted to

morphine, which is how it helps to provide pain relief. However, despite not offering the same level of pain relief,

we found that codeine increased pain sensitivity just as much as morphine."

Professor Rolan says while more research is needed, these laboratory findings suggest a potential problem for

anyone suffering from chronic pain who needs ongoing medication.

"People who take codeine every now and then should have nothing to worry about, but heavy and ongoing codeine

use could be deterimental for those patients who have chronic pain and headache," Professor Rolan says. "This

can be a very difficult issue for many people experiencing pain, and it creates difficulties for clinicians who are

trying to find strategies to improve people's pain."

Ms Johnson presented this research at the 2013 International Headache Congress in the United States.

A clinical trial testing a new approach to treating codeine-related headache

is being run by Professor Rolan: www.adelaide.edu.au/painresearch/participate


 OTC analgesics containing codeine safe for the majority of users

13 September 2013 – Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing codeine, including codeine-combination analgesics, are an effective short-term option for temporary relief of moderate to strong pain, when taken according to the directions on the pack, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has reinforced today.

ASMI’s comments follow the release of preliminary research findings from the University of Adelaide which suggest that using large and frequent doses of the codeine may produce heightened sensitivity to pain.1,2

However, the study, which investigated the pharmacological effects of codeine in mice, used significantly higher doses of codeine than is recommended and approved for human use, and whether the study findings translate to an effect in low-dose, short-term use of codeine has not been demonstrated.

According to ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie:

“The level of use that is apparent in the University of Adelaide’s mouse study suggests a pattern that is extreme, and far in excess of what is recommended and what is typical for the majority of consumers who use OTC medicines containing codeine for short-term pain relief.

“The use of non-prescription medicines containing codeine is safe when used according to label instructions. These medicines are intended strictly for short term use and pack sizes are limited to five days supply.”

When taking a pain reliever, like any medicine, it is important that consumers read the label carefully, including the warning statements on the pack, and only take the medicines as directed. If pain or other symptoms persist, they should consult a doctor or pharmacist.


 International ‘switch’ expert Natalie Gauld to present at ASMI’s Conference: “S3’s – Is the Australian Consumer Missing Out?”

13 September 2013 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has today announced that international ‘switch’ expert Natalie Gauld will be presenting “Schedule 3 (S3) – Is the Australian Consumer Missing Out?” at this year’s conference on Thursday 14 November in Sydney.

Ms Gauld, a pharmacist by background, recently completed a PhD examining why countries vary in prescription to non-prescription reclassification (or switch) of medicines. In-depth interviews with stakeholders in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and extensive document analysis, showed each country has a unique blend of enablers and barriers to reclassification.

Ms Gauld was the lead author of a study, published last year in the international journal Self Care, which aimed to compare the progressiveness of switch between the Australia and New Zealand and also the UK. The results showed that Australia led "switch innovation" in the early 2000s, but its progressiveness has diminished in recent years.1

According to ASMI Marketing & Business Development Director, Ms Filomena Maiese:

“Natalie Gauld’s plenary session at the ASMI Conference is set to deliver a number of critical insights for the consumer healthcare industry. The issue of lifting the current restrictions on S3 communication remains high on ASMI’s agenda and is an issue that affects Australian consumers, our members and the broader healthcare community.”

For some time, ASMI has been working with the Pharmacy Guild and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on an alternative consumer communication model for S3s, which will permit branded communication of certain S3 medicines.

Under the proposed model, the emphasis will be on creating consumer awareness about the condition and/or symptoms for which a particular S3 medicine is indicated, and highlighting the importance of the role of the pharmacist in determining whether the medicine is appropriate for that consumer.

ASMI recently included the proposed S3 Communication model as part of its response to the consultation on the review of the scheduling framework as well as the recent consultation into advertising of therapeutic goods. ASMI also continues to engage with key stakeholders to gain broader support for ASMI’s proposed model.

To register for the conference and for the full list of conference speakers and topics, please visit www.cvent.com/d/gcqy6c. Regular conference updates will be included on Twitter #ASMIconf.

The ASMI Annual General Meeting will precede the conference at 7.30 am. The conference will be followed with the 2013 ASMI Diamond Awards Dinner at 7.00 pm.


When: Thursday 14 November 2013. Registration and morning tea at 8.30 am

Where: Waterview Convention Centre, Bicentennial Park, Homebush, Sydney

Who: Delegates from all sectors from the consumer healthcare industry are encouraged to attend

How: Register online at www.cvent.com/d/gcqy6c

Contact: Claire Johnson, ASMI Member Events and Services Associate

02 9922 5111 | claire@asmi.com.au


1. Gauld N. Innovations from ‘Down-Under’: A Focus on Prescription to Non-Prescription Medicine Reclassification in New Zealand & Australia. SelfCare 2012;3(5):88-107


 Consumers’ front and centre in Australia’s health future: 2013 ASMI Conference

9 August 2013 – Key industry figures, analysts and commentators from Australia and abroad will join hundreds of delegates from the consumer healthcare industry on Thursday 14 November for a dynamic, robust discussion on the role of self care in a consumer-centred healthcare future at the 2013 Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference.

With Virginia Trioli, one of Australia’s best-known journalists, as the Master of Ceremonies and a host of highly regarded speakers and panellists, the one-day conference is set to deliver innovative insights on the modern day health-driven consumer.

According to ASMI Marketing & Business Development Director, Ms Filomena Maiese:

“With increasing pressure on health budgets, the rising burden of chronic diseases and an ageing population, the case for greater self care is gathering force. Equipping consumers to be more active, engaged and accountable for their health will be an important new dimension in delivering better individual health outcomes and creating a more efficient health care system.

“For self care to truly become a sustainable solution to our nation’s healthcare system, a greater understanding of health consumerism is needed. The 2013 ASMI Conference will deliver just that. Drawing on the latest Australian research, the conference will provide a current and comprehensive overview of consumers’ attitudes and behaviour towards their own health, interactions with healthcare professionals and their expectations of health care.

“Through a range of plenary sessions, Q&A and panel discussions, critical insights will be uncovered in terms of how industry and healthcare professionals will need to respond to evolving consumer needs, preferences and decision-making processes, while harnessing the power of active health consumers.”

Under the theme ‘Self Care – Driving a consumer-centred healthcare future’ topics to be explored and debated include Australian healthcare – the unsustainable model and the need for change; an overview of the Australian healthcare consumer; complementary medicines and the consumer; and designing a regulatory framework for the 21st century consumer.

Confirmed speakers and panellists include:

Nathan Taylor, Chief economist at Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Professor Scott Koslow, Professor of Marketing, Macquarie University

Dr John Skerritt, National Manager, Therapeutic Goods Administration

Michael Smith, Consultant and Senior Fellow, Samueli Institute

Dr Lesley Braun, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University

Karen Carey, Chair, Consumers Health Forum

Dr Lily Tomas, President, Australasian Integrative Medicine Association


To register for the conference and for more information, please visit www.cvent.com/d/gcqy6c

Regular conference updates will be included on Twitter #ASMIconf.

The ASMI Annual General Meeting will precede the conference at 7.30 am. The conference will be followed with the 2013 ASMI Diamond Awards Dinner at 7.00 pm.


 ASMI and Macquarie University to uncover the positive impact of self care on public health

Wednesday 11 September 2013 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) and Macquarie University have announced a joint research partnership that will produce for the very first time independent, evidence-based research into the current and future impact of self care and self-medication on public health in Australia.

The extensive research program, which will be conducted in three phases over the next 12 months, will determine the consumer healthcare industry’s* value in the Australian economic and healthcare environment, critical insights into consumers’ attitudes and behaviour towards self care, and the value of self care in contributing to a sustainable healthcare system in the future.

Welcoming the partnership, ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie said:

“A number of recent major reports into the health system have outlined the magnitude of the problem facing the healthcare system.1-3 They all point to rising healthcare costs, increasing and unsustainable government expenditure on health, and a system under enormous pressure from growing demand for health services, especially due to an ageing population.

“This research will provide a deeper understanding of the role of self care in driving better healthcare outcomes for Australians and how it can play a role in preparing for a more sustainable healthcare system, both now and in the future. We are proud to be partnering with Macquarie University to accelerate this understanding.”

According to Professor Mark Gabbott, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University: “This new partnership demonstrates the university’s commitment to growing links between its research leaders and Australian industry partners, to contribute to important pieces of public policy in the area of primary health.”

Self care is aimed at empowering consumers through improved health literacy, and equipping them for the prevention and self-management of acute and chronic conditions. At its core is a shift from ‘cure’ to prevention, and a focus on activities and decisions that people make for themselves so that they maintain a good level of physical and mental health. This includes lifestyle, diet and exercise and appropriate use of medicines.

Non-prescription medicines (or consumer healthcare products), which include over-the-counter (OTC) products and complementary medicines, are a vital component of our nation’s healthcare system. These are the medicines and products people often turn to first when illness strikes.

In many ways, consumers have been leading the way towards greater self care for some time. The fact that two-in-three Australians are using complementary medicines and a quarter of all Australians regularly seek health information online are strong indicators of their willingness to take on a more active role in their health.4-5
According to lead researcher Professor Koslow, Professor of Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University:

“With ageing populations and health conditions becoming increasingly chronic and complex, the healthcare challenges we face are significant. This research seeks to assert consumer sovereignty by providing the insights that will help policymakers understand the value of the consumer choice in their health decisions. It may even go a step further by providing the necessary evidence and impetus for the Australian government and key healthcare authorities to support the expansion of responsible self care practices across the country.”

Preliminary results from the three-phased research will be announced in coming months.



1. Healthcare: Reform or ration, Committee for Economic Development of Australia, April 2013.

2. Australia to 2050; future challenges, Commonwealth Government, 2010.

3. A healthier future for all Australians, National Health & Hospitals Reform Commission, June 2009.

4. Therapeutic Goods Regulation: Complementary Medicines, Australian National Audit Office, Available at www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports/2011-2012/Therapeutic-Goods-Regulation-Complementary-Medicines/Audit-brochure [last accessed 20 August 2013].

5. Health information and health products online, Better Health Channel. April 2013. Available at http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/


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