s ASMI Media Releases for September 2013 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 03/10/2013         Volume. 5 No. 9   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the October homepage edition of i2P - Information to Pharmacists.
Well it seems that change in pharmacy will be continuous and will come from unexpected quarters each time it strikes.
The only way pharmacy can survive this continuous change is to either embrace it with a strong new business plan, sell out or amalgamate with partners who see strength in a strategic partnership.

And while many pharmacists are finding the key to successfully selling clinical services, the lead time to bring a single service on line may be too long to make a suitable financial contribution.
Coupled with the fact that the AMA will fight tooth and nail to prevent pharmacy making any inroads whatsoever, the time has come to take them on.
Vaccination services could be the first disputed service as the AMA has already voiced strong opposition to the possibility of pharmacists providing these services.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for October 2013

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

A new era for American pharmacies has begun

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

The birth of the first drugstore in 1929 in the USA represented a big revolution for that time: an innovative store design, a new concept of retail store, fair pricing and a wide exposition of products. 84 years have passed by and nothing has changed in the today’s American pharmacies, with the exception of the most important factor: the customers!In fact, while the new technologies, the computers and the smart phones have created far more attentive, curious, and informed customers, the drugstores and the American pharmacies remained the same: big, wide exposition of products in low gondola shelving without any customer service or help during the buy.

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Access all Areas - Is This a Positive for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

That pharmacy is in need of a renewal process is not in dispute.
That every man and his dog become instant pharmacy experts when a debate on pharmacy is opened is an expected phenomenon.
And when it is perceived that the "experts" have little knowledge of pharmacy but want to reduce pharmacists' incomes (already and constantly under siege), without engaging the range of aspirations pharmacists already hold, they wonder why it suddenly becomes a non-event.
If a discussion paper emerged that had genuine pharmacist input I would think that most pharmacists would participate in discussion of it.
In other words don't insult our intelligence by placing us in a pecking order that is uninspiring or menial in its approach.
But do approach us with intelligent conversation that has no hidden agendas and is honest in its approach, and do not try to impose your view of the pharmacist's role from your limited perspective.
Then we can all get on with some form of positive collaboration.

Comments: 1

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CHF Responds to Article

Neil Johnston

The Consumer Health Forum has responded to a recent i2P article on the resignation of Carol Bennett.
The article can be found at:

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A Misplaced Medical Judgement

Mark Coleman

Approximately two weeks ago a Dr David Smith published an opinion piece in an online medical publication that was very derogatory towards pharmacy's professionalism.
It is one of many articles that seem to be "planted" in unison with other articles or events.
For example, the release of a Grattan Institute paper titled "Access All Areas", hinting at an expanded role for pharmacists in primary health care.
The article was authored by Dr David Smith who describes himself as "a GP and a consultant in clinical and corporate ethics".
Smith's comments are certainly a bit rich when you consider that pharmacy has always been involved with primary health care and when you further consider his client base he loses all credibility.

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A “new way” for PBS supply to all Australians – ANAO told

Rollo Manning

In a submission to the Australian National Audit Office review of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement, Pharmacist and PR Consultant Rollo Manning has advocated for a “new way” of supplying Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines and services to Australian Taxpayers that will:

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Researcher Gains Funding

Judy Wilyman

Editor's Note: Judy Wilyman is a dedicated researcher working her way towards a doctorate in science.
Her research concerns vaccinations but mention the word vaccination, and suddenly the board lights up with what I call "the Skeptic Lunatic Fringe" who spring into action and attack anything that detracts from their "party line".
They will throw out statements like "proven to be discredited" and "not evidence-based"like confetti in the breeze.
The irony of their efforts is that their own statements are not evidence-based, nor are the people involved qualified in any medical discipline. Some statements border on defamation, while others are just outright lies.
One critic making comment on i2P calls himself a doctor.
He is entitled to do, but he is not a medical doctor, having earned his doctorate in another discipline.
Add deception for the lunatic fringe as well.

i2P would like to congratulate Judy on receiving funding to present her current research at the 3rd World Congress on Cancer Science and Therapy to be held in San Franciso in October 2013.
It may prove to be an important wake up call to governments (including the Australian government) who promote and subsidise this form of treatment.

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REGROUP, RE - GROWTH - The dawning of a new reality.

Barry Urquhart

There is an increasing awakening among business owners - big, small and micro - that the consequences of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the end of the capital expenditure mining boom and the debt dilemmas of Europe have included unintended, undocumented and non defined changes in business cultures, philosophies, policies and practices.
Customer service standards, relationships and instances of referrals have all been adversely affected

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Eight Key Factors That Will Maximise the Value of Your Business

Chris Foster

One of the major reasons why you start and build or buy a business is to be able to sell it at some time in the future for a profit.
What are the factors that will maximise your selling price?
It's really important to understand this early so that you can put in place the necessary systems to ensure that you build a business that is saleable.

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Acute low back pain - does anything help?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

Most of us experience low back pain (LBP). When it persists, we look for ways to alleviate it. In Australia, back problems are the most frequently seen musculoskeletal condition by General Practitioners (GPs) and the seventh most common reason for seeking care. National guidelines from the UK suggest that patients should try acupuncture, manual therapy or an exercise program. A range of medical devices are promoted for pain relief. Are they all placebo treatments or do some work?

Comments: 1

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Ex-Patient and a Consultant in Pharmacy Automation

Mark Neuenschwander

My name is Mark Neuenschwander. I have been a patient and I am a consultant in the field of pharmacy automation.
It was 27 years ago that Wrigley's opened the door by putting a barcode on a pack of chewing gum. It was really a statement of faith because grocery stores and drugstores didn't have scanners.  But their faith was not in vain.  Within a decade, virtually every item on the shelves of those drugstores and supermarkets had a barcode, and the vast majority of checkout stands were equipped with scanners to read them.

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Learning business and life lessons at the Farm

Harvey Mackay

I’ve always been a city boy – I can’t even coax a weed to grow.
But I discovered a national treasure, practically in my own back yard, which makes me wish my thumbs were greener.

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AMA Predictably Reacts to Grattan Institute Primary Care Plan

Neil Johnston

It was predictable that Steve Hambledon, AMA president, would be negative to the primary health care solutions as proposed in the Grattan Report published recently.
In my response to the paper Access All Areas co-authored by Stephen Duckett, I pointed out that having pharmacists involved in areas of diagnosis and prescribing produces an extreme response from the AMA plus inferred derogatory comments relating to pharmacy.
As I said in my response, pharmacists are fed up with the medical profession.

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Staff Researcher

Editor's Note: Recently, in my own home town, the Cancer Council organisation decided to change location to a new office approximately 45 minutes away. The office was  well fitted out with quality furniture and computer equipment, plus miscellaneous office items that included filing cabinets, shredders and photocopiers.
The surprised incoming tenant (an allied health professional) was told that she was now the proud owner of all these assets free of charge so that the Cancer Council could avoid the problems and costs of cartage and storage of the above items.
The value of all the items was estimated at around $25,000.
Needless to say the offer was gratefully accepted but I personally, no longer donate to Cancer Council charity programs.

It seems that in different forms, this phenomenon may be global.

OHMS Newsletter October 11, 2013.
Commentary by Ralph Campbell M.D.
Recently, our local paper promoted a 3K walk/run for "a cure for heart disease" with photos of participants of all sizes and shapes.
For enjoying the camaraderie and the feeling of sacrifice for a good cause, the participants paid a $25 entry fee that went to the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote awareness.

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3D Printing Will Change the Face of Medicine and Pharmacy

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy could be on the verge of a very exciting and rewarding professional pathway with some useful research being conducted in Scotland where 3D printing technology is being married up with stem cells and genomics to produce your own tissue for personalised drug testing and then modifying your drug to create a smooth journey through any lifestyle disorder anticipated in your genes.
The printing technology is cheap.
To create a professional business opportunity, all you are required to do is prepare yourself over the next five years by absorbing suitable education and plotting some medium term investment.
i2P believes that this technology is so important that pharmacy leadership groups should begin immediately to seize the high ground for this issue and not let the opportunities slip away to other health practitioners.
It will be one of the best opportunities to have a "hands-on" participation at the centre of primary health services.

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Health insurance start-up secures VC funding

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: We have previously highlighted Covad Health Insurance as a product pharmacists should consider supporting.
Health insurance has always had a natural fit with pharmacy and there is no doubt that if pharmacists get behind this product, it will be a major success.
The income stream available as commissions on premiums would be a welcome addition in these times of difficulty in achieving financial stability and well-being.
i2P believes that this could also represent an opportunity for a health insurance business to advocate for, and champion, pharmacy clinical services and develop a real working partnership.
That might represent a promising future for both sides of the relationship equation.

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Mental Health Week – pharmacists looking after pharmacists

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

Editor's Note: It is becoming quite noticeable that business confidence has depleted in pharmacy ranks since economic environments have become tougher.
Poor leadership has also made a contribution.
As conditions for pharmacy employers and employees tighten, stress-related illness begins to emerge as everyone adjusts to the new economic uncertainties.
Depression is the outcome of prolonged stress and anxiety.

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Baby's Neck Not Broken by a Chiropractor

Mark Coleman

Recently, newspaper reports have surfaced relating to an incident involving the chiropractic treatment of a young child.
It was reported that a four-month-old Melbourne baby sustained a fracture to the upper cervical vertebra following an adjustment
In both Sydney and Melbourne papers, an allegation was made that a Chiropractor broke the baby’s neck. The CAA issued a release to all media outlets in all States within hours of the publication rejecting the allegation.
The allegation was subsequently investigated by AHPRA. No finding of inappropriate treatment was made. No finding was made that any treatment performed by the Chiropractor caused a fracture as alleged.

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Professional Pharmacists Pay Tribute to Carol Bennett

Professional Pharmacists Australia Spokesperson

Professional Pharmacists Australia today congratulated Carol Bennett on her time as the CEO of the Community Health Forum, wishing her all the best in her future endeavours.

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Observations on implementing pharmacy clinical services

Peter Sayers

It’s not easy implementing a clinical service program and success is related as to how close the service offered is to traditional dispensing and counselllng services.
Also how long a pharmacist has personally known a patient and how trusted the relationship is with that particular patient.
It shows how much pharmacists have collectively fallen down, because I have found strong relationships are sparse in my own world, and those of my colleagues.
Any attempt to fast-track a relationship is viewed with suspicion and apparent mistrust.
So it’s the long haul that has to be put in place first and forward pharmacy has to be implemented and seen to be in place, well before a new service is able to be sold.

Comments: 1

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3D Printing Will be Disruptive for Vaccine Manufacturers

Staff Writer

Editor's Comment: What pharmacy leadership organisation has the role of actually driving pharmacy practice?
The number of real opportunities (including that of 3D printing as illustrated in the following article) are multiplying as new disruptive technologies emerge.
3D printing represents the ultimate in drug compounding and pharmacy needs to be front and centre here.
How can these technologies be harnessed and absorbed into some form of future pharmacy strategy
that could really advance the profession of pharmacy instead of perpetually "running on the spot"?
Surely there is some sort of practice research going on?

Comments: 3

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Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials

Staff Researcher

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.
The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make 'carbon nanotube membranes' ? highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

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Research shows huge potential of sweet sorghum as a multi-product crop

Staff Researcher

A new Australian-based research study into sweet sorghum has shown the huge potential of the crop as a single source of energy, food and animal feed.
Sweet sorghum is receiving significant global interest because of its potential as a multi-product crop, however there has been minimal research under Australian growing conditions or using Australian processing facilities, until now.

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Converting Hand-Written Notes to Digital Notes

Staff Writer

Pharmacists have always been notorious for their penchant for leaving "sticky" notes attached to dispensing benches, cash registers and various other places. While efficient for the moment, long-term display of old notes looks very untidy and eventually deteriorates to inefficiency.
The cloud-based productivity tool, Evernote, (which I believe is a pharmacy essential) has extended its reach into another important branch of note-taking through a partnership with the classic 3M Post-It Notes. In a move similar to the Evernote Moleskine notebook, which was released last year, the note-taking and organization software company is blurring the line between digital and analog again, enabling users to preserve their real-world jottings and access them from anywhere.

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Common Symptom Guide - Android App Review

Staff Writer

Purpose of App Review

 * to review the utility of Common Symptom Guide App for a clinician
 * to evaluate the medical evidence this App uses

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Pharmacist Scope-of-Practice Bill Now Law

Staff Writer

Editor's Note:
The world's legislator's are finally waking up and discovering a very useful and economic health worker called a pharmacist.
Continually overlooked because of medical lobbying, it looks as though medicos are finally pricing themselves out of business.
Initiated in California, a new bill allowing a wider scope of practice in primary health care has been passed and is likely to spread throughout the US and most western economies.
I have often commented in i2P that pharmacists started to become invisible in primary health care around the year2000, and despite energetic lobbying by pharmacy leadership groups, the debate seemed to be consigned to oblivion.
The wheel is turning finally and we may yet see an energetic and useful health system evolve from pharmacy ranks.

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Consumers Health Forum CEO announces resignation

Staff Writer

As a sometimes controversial figure to some leadership segments of pharmacy, Carol Bennett attempted to inflict change upon pharmacy that was not always well-founded.
She co-opted two other partner organisations to assist, both known to be anti-pharmacy in sentiment.
A petition was organised by the CHF to promote their point of view, but it was a dismal failure beside the Pharmacy Guild petition promoting a somewhat opposite view (over 1 million signatures).
On top of this, early enquiries by pharmacists wishing to join the CHF uncovered the fact that the CHF was not a representative forum for individual consumers at all, but an aggregate of large associations and businesses whose interests would not necessarily reflect those of individual consumers.

Comments: 3

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SHPA thanks Carol Bennett

Staff Writer

By Suzanne Newman

SHPA is sad to learn that Carol Bennett has resigned as CEO of the Consumers Health Forum.
SHPA has enjoyed a good working relationship with Carol and has valued her leadership and advocacy for health consumers.

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International digital media expert Jye Smith to guide industry on navigating social media at ASMI’s 2013 Conference

Marie Kelly-Davies

With social media reaching into every aspect of Australian lives, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has secured international expert Jye Smith to present key insights on “Social Media and the Healthcare Consumer” at its annual conference in Sydney on Thursday 14 November.

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Good bone health relies on calcium and vitamin D working in combination

Marie Kelly-Davies

The systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of vitamin D supplements on bone mineral density conducted by the University of Auckland should not discourage Australians from taking a preventative approach to osteoporosis, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said today.

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Herbal medicines sold legally in Australia assured of high quality

Marie Kelly-Davies

Consumers can continue to have confidence in the quality and safety of complementary medicines (herbal medicines, nutritional and dietary supplements) that are legally sold in Australia, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has today advised.

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Advancing Complementary Medicines in Australia: International regulatory expert Michael Smith to share insights at ASMI Conferen

Marie Kelly-Davies

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) will leverage the international experience of pharmacist and licenced naturopathic practitioner Michael Smith at this year’s conference to explore the evolving role of complementary medicines in preventative health.
In Australia, vitamins, mineral and supplements (known as complementary medicines) represent the largest and fastest growing segment in the non-prescription sector, with two-thirds of Australians taking them regularly to optimise their health and wellbeing.1

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3D Printing Will be Disruptive for Vaccine Manufacturers

Staff Writer

Editor's Comment: What pharmacy leadership organisation has the role of actually driving pharmacy practice?
The number of real opportunities (including that of 3D printing as illustrated in the following article) are multiplying as new disruptive technologies emerge.
3D printing represents the ultimate in drug compounding and pharmacy needs to be front and centre here.
How can these technologies be harnessed and absorbed into some form of future pharmacy strategy
that could really advance the profession of pharmacy instead of perpetually "running on the spot"?
Surely there is some sort of practice research going on?

Comments: 3

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Primary Health Care and Pharmacy Clinical Services

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note:

Pharmacy leaders, academics and education providers have suddenly become alert and attentive to a paper recently released by the Grattan Institute.
Although I personally remain cynical as to where the recommendations within that paper (titled Access All Areas ) will take pharmacy, nonetheless it has created a spark of activity across an otherwise bleak landscape.

Governments have long squandered opportunities that have been available to them through the profession of pharmacy.
This has probably come about because of the top heavy list of advisers drawn from the medical profession over a long period of time.

Could this be a signal that policies may finally be changing to embrace the potential that pharmacists could be unleashed over the primary health care community.

I have asked Mark Coleman to comment on the following  Pharmacy News media report item that contains a response from both the PSA and the PGA.

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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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