s NPS Media Releases for November 2012 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/12/2012         Volume. 4 No. 11   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the December homepage edition of i2P- Information to Pharmacists E-Magazine.
This homepage will be utilised for both December 2012 and January 2013 with irregular updates to get us through the holiday period.
This enables all i2P writers to relax before what appears to be a challenging year in 2013.
It is estimated that the pharmacy business/professional cycle (45 years) will be bottoming out over 2013 with more disturbance to pharmacy profitability and its ability to provide regular levels of employment.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates over December 2012 & January 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

Countdown to Supermarket pharmacies - Advantages and disadvantages?

Joseph Conway

Editor's Note:
With a researcher's perspective and a pair of fresh eyes, Joseph Conway has mapped out his version of the trends and future directions for pharmacy, community pharmacy in particular.
In presenting his logic he argues from two opposite points of view - a model comprising supermarket majority ownership compared to a more traditional model of pharmacist ownership.
His article is presented in four parts, with supermarket ownership looked at first.
2013 will be an extraordinarily difficult year as the 45 year pharmacy business and professional cycle bottoms out with no soft landing.
The hiatus in pharmacy leadership that is apparent in the lack of a cohesive forward plan leaves all pharmacists (pharmacy owners and non-owners) with no sense of direction, a mix of disjointed "bits and pieces" that is the substitute for a clear and definitive plan
While Joseph has outlined some options, it will be up to individuals to complete the puzzle and fill in all the gaps.

Comments: 6

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Countdown to Supermarket pharmacies - Advantages and disadvantages? - Part Two

Joseph Conway

Editor's Note: Joe Conway continues with Part Two of his four-part series on Australian pharmacy and its direction.
Please post comments at the foot of his article to help expand the debate.
Pharmacy has to change quite drastically to drag itself into the 21st century.
It has hesitated for too long a period of time.


In New Zealand, the launch of Countdown pharmacy seems to have gone down with little fuss. However, from an Australian pharmacy perspective, the issue of concern is that Countdown Pharmacies are at least in part owned by Woolworths.
In part 1, I outlined what I thought were the potential advantages of Supermarket pharmacies in Australia. In part 2, I would like to give my opinion as to the disadvantages of allowing Supermarkets to run pharmacies in store.

Comments: 1

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Countdown to Supermarket pharmacies - Advantages and disadvantages? - Part Three

Joseph Conway

Editor's Note:Joe Conway Introduces Part three of his four-part series on the potential impacts of supermarket pharmacies in Australia (if introduced). Part three discusses impacts for patients.

Countdown Pharmacies are at least in part owned by Woolworths. This raises the possibility that Woolworths is using this Kiwi venture to hone its skills in the area of pharmacy before a possible bid to be allowed to provide such services here in Australia.
People aren’t marching the streets in Australia wanting pharmacies in Supermarkets and the Discount model of pharmacy is already providing Australians with access to cheaper medicines that is the catch-cry of the Supermarkets when extolling their virtues as potential custodians of prescription medicines.
An example of this was Chemist Warehouse supplying the Lipitor® generic Atorvastatin Sandoz® for $0 for a limited time on a valid prescription.
You can’t get any cheaper than that? In part 1, I outlined what I thought were the potential advantages of Supermarket pharmacies in Australia.
In part 2, I gave my opinion as to the disadvantages of allowing Supermarkets to run pharmacies in store.
In part 3 I would like to explore potential patient attitudes in this debate.

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Countdown to Supermarket pharmacies - Advantages and disadvantages? - Part Four

Joseph Conway

Editor's Note: This is the fourth article in a series by Joseph Conway.
He has made a number of assumptions and predictions within the article series, floating the proposal that if Australia adopts the New Zealand model of Countdown Pharmacy, there are a range of advantages and disadvantages.
In this final article Joe blows apart the notion that supermarkets are cheaper than pharmacies by completing a survey of products held by pharmacies and supermarkets in common.
To his surprise, he found that pharmacy is currently more than competitive with supermarkets, taking away the supermarket trumpet call that they would provide cheaper prices than pharmacies.
It would seem that pharmacy can still remain in the race to be competitive, with the point of difference being provision of patient information. The latter service may need to be tidied up, even charged for if there is value for money.

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The Role of the Consumer in Health

Gerald Quigley

The Guild’s least favourite combatant at the moment is the Consumer's Health Forum.
I’ve been a member of this organization for a few years now, and I’ve come to acknowledge their expectations that they, as a representative body for the Australian consumer, should have a say in health.
And I’m beginning to understand now that this organization might, in fact, reshape our role in health.
I can’t get over the wide variety of contacts they have, the panels in which they are involved and more especially, their positioning as the voice of the consumer.
Perhaps we can take a leaf out of their book?

Comments: 1

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The Ten Top Issues we need to think about in 2013

Neil Johnston

No matter where you appear within the “food chain” of pharmacy, uncertainty is the common background theme.
Students are wondering if they will succeed in getting an internship.
Interns are worried about continuing employment and becoming registered.
Newly registered pharmacists are wondering if they are in over-supply with the prospect of reduced (or no hours) of employment at hourly rates not much above pharmacy technicians.
Career pharmacists are wondering about their prospects in a rapidly changing and stressful environment.
Clinical pharmacists are wondering when community pharmacy is going to embrace them as part of a solution.
Senior pharmacists (those that do not want to retire) are wondering if the workplace will ever become friendly to the extent that some of their working day can be in a seated position, to take stress off aching joints. Also to be valued in a mentoring role to other pharmacists.
Owner pharmacists, in varying degrees, are wondering whether they will have sufficient capital to sustain their businesses into the future.

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How Do Your Customers See Your Business?

Chris Foster

Businesses tend to focus on profits with no consideration as to whether these profits are good profits or bad profits.
Good profits would be defined as those profits earned from customers who are delighted with the products or services provided – so much so that they will voluntarily refer your business to their friends and associates - in other words, become an advocate for your business

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In 2012 community pharmacy didn’t get any easier. Time to think about 2013

Neil Retallick

A funny thing didn’t happen recently.
I rang our (Global Pharmaceutical Company) territory manager and she didn’t answer.
In fact, her mailbox was so full I couldn’t leave a message.
Several days later, her manager rang to inform me that she had been made redundant as a part of a company-wide restructure.
Then, a couple of days ago I had a meeting with the State Manager of another Global Pharmaceutical Company.
He told me that 300 jobs had been made redundant in the pharmaceutical industry in the previous five weeks.

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Slow Medicine, Slow Foods - Concepts for Future Good Health

Neil Johnston

A growing number of medical leaders are calling for “Slow Medicine.”
They are calling for a similar rationale which evolved as the “Slow Food Movement” that originated in Italy as a reaction against fast food and industrialised agriculture.
Slow Food links the pleasure of growing and consuming good food with a commitment to community and the environment.
The movement exists in Australia and information about it can be found here
i2P first wrote about slow food here.

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Reach Out, Connect, Engage

Barry Urquhart

Omni-channel and multi-channel are in-vogue phrases and concepts.
They reflect the presence and need for parallel and compatible avenues to reach out, connect with and to engage existing and prospective clients and customers.

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Rationing Healthcare

Steve Jenkin

What level of Individual Responsibility do we each have in managing our Health and Well-Being, given that 40% of "total health" is due to lifestyle choices and behaviour and only 10% Healthcare Delivery? [1]
How much "free" healthcare, taxpayer funded, are we prepared to give individuals?
Should we limit it?
How?
Unlimited Free Goods guarantee unlimited demand for them.

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Lessons they don't teach you in school

Harvey Mackay

Education is a stepping stone to success, but some of the most important lessons aren't taught in class. There are plenty of life lessons that we need to know, and the textbooks often do not have chapters on them.
Here are some lessons you should learn in order to grow both in your career and in your personal life.

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National Go Home On Time Day – do you go home on time?

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

Wednesday 21 November 2012 was National Go Home On Time Day in Australia (www.gohomeontimeday.org.au/). 
This event is an initiative of the Australia Institute (www.tai.org.au), an independent public policy think tank based in Canberra. 
Other supporters are beyondblue (www.beyondblue.org.au) and the ACTU. 
On Wednesday 21 November the address at the National Press Club in Canberra was given by beyondblue CEO and pharmacist, Kate Carnell and ACTU President, Ged Kearney.
A recording of the address, which I recommend, can be viewed at:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-21/national-press-club-ged-kearney-and-kate-carnell/4384590.
Despite differing political backgrounds both presenters were united in their view that life-work balance is essential to a healthy and productive workforce. 
This is something which, I believe, many pharmacists need to consider and apply to their lives.

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I've been thinking about circumcision, Starbucks and FDR's four freedoms

Mark Neuenschwander

Well before Starbucks began roasting exotic blends, Yuban took a swing at it. Not sure they hit the ball out of the park, but they were getting more for a pound of coffee than number-one Folgers at checkout stands across America. Do you remember Yuban commercials during the 1960s? They concluded with that deep trained-for-television voice saying, “As John Arbuckle says, ‘You get what you pay for.’”

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Chiropractic mallets & other wacko widgets

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

The philosophy behind 'fundamentalist' chiropractic is that spinal 'blockages' cause most illnesses and that removing them will restore health.
A range of chiropractic 'medical devices' are claimed to locate and remove these 'blockages'.
So what types of devices do chiropractors use, are they registered with the federal government, and do they work?

Comments: 2

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It’s Good to See a Unity Theme Emerging

Peter Sayers

I2P has already commented that unless pharmacy leaders become united, the profession will continue a decline that has been building for over a decade.
We are now in the “bottoming-out” phase of the pharmacy business/professional cycle that will become extended if there is no sign of cohesiveness emerging over the next twelve months.
Pharmacy leaders must sort out their various differences and support each other where strengths exist and need to be nurtured.
The last thing pharmacists want to see is a prolonged battle for power, wasteful in resources and energy and depressing for individual pharmacists struggling to find an identity and build their professional roles.
i2P will support any progress towards unity because we can see how close pharmacy is to major destruction, caused by weaknesses created over the last decade through in-fighting and power broking.

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Remembering a legend, Zig Ziglar

Harvey Mackay

When I was cutting my teeth in the sales game right after college, I made sure to read or listen to everything I could get my hands on from a handful of sales and motivational legends - Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar.

I, like many people around the world, was saddened to hear about the recent death of my friend Zig. He was one of a kind. I was fortunate to share the stage with him several times - and I will be forever grateful for those opportunities.

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Is the Guild getting value for money in radio?

Gerald Quigley

Recently, whilst I waited to be interviewed on a regional Victorian afternoon radio program, I was put “on hold”, so I was able to listen to the messages going out to the radio public.
I was staggered however, to listen to a Pharmacy Guild sponsored message, outlining the best option to help the obesity issue………..bariatric surgery!

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A Basic Right to Good Health

Neil Johnston

Everybody has the right to good health.
Governments spend $’s billions ensuring that their constituents have access to:
* Good Food
* Clean air
* Clean water
These are the basic elements of self care that are all components of human rights
However, industrialisation has caused contamination and adverse effect on health as pollutants have made their way into these basic elements of food, air and water, often being unwittingly ingested in micro-amounts over long periods of time.

Comments: 2

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Gilding the Lilly

Mark Coleman

According to recent reports in Bloomberg, Eli Lilly has been consistently bribing officials for a period of up to 20 years, in countries such as China, Russia and Brazil.
The mechanism employed is through the use of “offshore marketing agreements” that established bank accounts that could be accessed by employees based in those countries.
Little, or no checks were performed on these offshore accounts as to how the money was spent – just as long as business flowed from that type of investment.
The American Securities and Exchange Commission has fined Lilly an amount of $29.4 million under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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More street-smart ideas for success

Harvey Mackay

Sometimes the columns that get the biggest reaction are those that offer the simplest advice.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about street-smart ideas and was inundated with requests for more.
A few readers shared their ideas too.
Because I truly believe in the importance of street smarts for success, I'm continuing the list.

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Understanding the Elements of a Paid Pharmacy Clinical Service

Neil Johnston

In 1975 I began life as a marketing and management consultant.
I specialised in two primary services:
* Inventory management- because every pharmacy was overstocked due to manufacturer pressure and poor pharmacist management expertise.
* Income tax management-because pharmacists were unable to pay their income tax, because the overstocks had soaked up their liquidity.
Pharmacy in 1975 was characterised by successful looking pharmacies, profitable on paper, but choking to death because of a lack of liquidity and management controls.
I am wondering whether that may sound familiar today.

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Our ageing Pharmacists offer too much value to be consigned to the dust heap!

Gerald Quigley

I read a recent article written by Harold Mitchell, the media mogul, philanthropist, and all round great bloke.
If you want a great read, try his autobiography.
I was lucky enough to sit beside him at a function years ago, and he left a lasting impression on me.
Harold explains in his article that he had spoken at a function attended by Australian former business icons, like the chairman of Qantas, managing director of Ford, managing director of the ANZ Bank, CEO of the NAB and a number of top-end medicos.
They all had the feeling that they could do more, but society had pushed them aside because of their age.

Comments: 2

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Every company should have a Santa Claus attitude

Harvey Mackay

Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Whether you ever did - or still do - there's something about the jolly old elf that wise businesses should consider emulating if they want to establish a year-round aura of good will.
Santa has a number of attributes that easily translate beyond the holidays.
Here are some that I think are worth noting:

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Supporting Senior Pharmacists

Neil Johnston

Being a senior pharmacist and also being very conscious of the limited roles that pharmacists in a senior age bracket are afforded, I was pleased to read Gerald Quigley’s comments on the subject in this edition of an i2P update for December 2012.
A quick search of the Internet revealed there was no association in Australia to represent senior pharmacists (but there were doctor groups).
The UK seemed to be the only country where a formal group has been established for retired pharmacists under the umbrella of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
It is known simply as the Retired Pharmacists’ Group.

Comments: 3

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The Pharmacist and the Consumer

Gerald Quigley

I had the privilege of attending a recent symposium called by the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, to assess the Community Use of Medicines from the Perspectives of Carers.
The key objectives of this project included:

* Providing strategic advice regarding consumer perspectives on QUM issues

* Supporting consumers to contribute to, and participate in, NPS advisory groups

* Developing and building diversity around key topical health areas

There are approximately 2.6 million carers in Australia.
They are recognized by the Carer Recognition Act 2010, which defines carers as people who provide unpaid personal care, support and assistance to other individuals who are in need of support due to disability, medical condition, terminal or chronic illness, mental illness, or who are frail and aged.

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The Workplace Future

Neil Johnston

For many of us in the workforce (including me) there was at one stage, a vision  we could retire around age 55.
However, with the many shifts and vagaries that have occurred within the Australian economy, most have abandoned that dream as their savings depleted.
In fact those depletions have contributed to the thought that it might be more prudent to work for as long as possible. This thought has also been fuelled by the knowledge that lifespans are increasing and that it is difficult to sustain a social structure outside of a workplace because most of us have been defined by our work and it is difficult to embrace major or abrupt changes as we age.

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A Model For Clinical Pharmacist Communication

Neil Johnston

Professional isolation is a fact of life in community pharmacy.
Gone are the days where an average pharmacy could support around four pharmacy job skill levels (apprentice, unregistered pharmacist, registered pharmacist and master pharmacist). Also gone is the collegiate and mentoring environment with the sharing of information and various techniques including the skill of patient interviewing, and the identification of various conditions and how to treat them with remedies compounded and formulated by a clinical pharmacist.
While nobody expects professional development to stand still, what has replaced these skills has not been for the better, with patient personal interest and care becoming the primary casualty.
The four-wall syndrome, a phenomenon that developed in the mid-1960's has slowly strangled job satisfaction parallel with government control through the PBS system.
With the advent of modern communication systems it is now possible to recreate a model of information and technique sharing that could well revive what was previously a vital and viable clinical experience. Like an expanded version of information sharing in a social media format-something like a secure medical Facebook.

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ASMI calls on Government to boost investment and innovation in consumer medicines and support self care reforms

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: Pharmacy has always been at the forefront of primary care and self-care.
Politically, these activities seem to have been hijacked through unusual and unacceptable drug scheduling decisions (children's cough mixtures etc) and the bureaucratic and unnecessary trans -Tasman harmonisation operation.
Decisions in both the above areas have had nothing to do with patient safety or patient care and they are both examples of bureaucratic insults against the pharmacy profession, as there was no problem that needed fixing in the first place.
The proposal by ASMI as part of a Federal Budget Submission is an interesting one for pharmacists and unless there is proper pharmacy representation to ensure that another carving up of the community pharmacy market does not occur, we may yet lose a further opportunity - because of poor pharmacy leadership.
At least we should demand that both PSA and PGA have a major role here and that they should agree the boundaries of their responsibilities.
We can no longer afford nor tolerate continuing disunity.

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Australians double their antidepressants

Staff Researcher

The use of antidepressants doubled in Australia between 2000 and 2011 and they now account for two out of every three psychotropic medications prescribed, a new study by the University of Sydney reveals.
It also shows that over the last decade there has been a dramatic 58 percent increase in the use of psychotropic medications by the Australian population, which has only increased by 13 percent over that time.

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Electronic nose could be used to detect sleep apnea

Staff Writer

An electronic nose, used to detect the presence of molecules in the breath of a patient, could be used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnoea.
A new study, published online in the European Respiratory Journal, could make the diagnosis of the condition quick and inexpensive compared to current methods.

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Bacterial spores could replace hypodermic needles for vaccinations

Staff Researcher

Taking the “ouch” out of injections is a worthy endeavor, but what if they could be avoided entirely?
New research conducted at Royal Holloway, University of London offers the hope of achieving just this, by using a bacterium to deliver a vaccine which can be administered via nasal spray, oral liquid, capsule, or small soluble film placed under the tongue, thus reducing the risk of spreading infectious diseases like HIV.

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Milk that protects against HIV

Staff Researcher

Melbourne researchers have developed cows’ milk that protects human cells from HIV.
The milk contains antibodies which defend against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The next step will be to develop it into a cream which women can apply to protect themselves from contracting HIV from sexual partners.

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Can your gums tell you if you will get arthritis?

Staff Researcher

Adelaide scientists have found that mice with gum disease develop worse arthritis.
The scientists are using this knowledge to investigate whether treating mouth conditions could help relieve arthritis.
As part of  her PhD studies, Melissa Cantley worked with colleagues at the University of Adelaide to develop a new way to study these two diseases and their relationship. She is presenting her research this week as part of Fresh Science — a national program for early-career scientists.

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Australian Prescriber

NPS Spokesperson

The December issue of Australian Prescriber is now online.

This is the largest edition of Australian Prescriber ever published - 40 pages. There will be something for everyone in the wide variety of topics - ranging from common conditions as in Jo-Ann See's review of acne to the infrequently encountered idiopathic interstitial pneumonias reviewed by Lauren Troy and Tamera Corte. Pneumococcal pneumonia is one of the conditions which may be considered for treatment with intravenous antibiotics in the patient's home . David Looke and David McDougall's article will be of interest to health professionals in hospitals and in the community. The quality use of medicines is important fo! r all health professionals . As it is 20 years since Australia's policy was launched, Tony Smith reflects on what has been achieved. Looking to the future, the conference on national medicines policies in our region reports that there is still work to be done.

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Serotonin, more than just the happy hormone

Staff Researcher

Serotonin – often dubbed the happy hormone for its ability to regulate moods – plays a vital and perhaps lesser known role in everything from blood clots to bone density.
Yet despite its significance in the human body, researchers do not fully understand how serotonin is released into the bloodstream.

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First image of insulin ‘docking’ could lead to better diabetes treatments

Staff Researcher

A landmark discovery about how insulin docks on cells could help in the development of improved types of insulin for treating both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For the first time, researchers have captured the intricate way in which insulin uses the insulin receptor to bind to the surface of cells. This binding is necessary for the cells to take up sugar from the blood as energy.
The research team was led by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and used the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne. The study was published today in the journal Nature.
For more than 20 years scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of how insulin binds to the insulin receptor. A research team led by Associate Professor Mike Lawrence, Dr Colin Ward and Dr John Menting have now found the answer.

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Pharmacists’ Support Service welcomes contribution from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia

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

The development and expansion of the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) has been given a significant boost through support from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA). 
The PGA has now joined the other pharmacy organisation supporting PSS both financially and through participation in the PSS Management Committee.

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Fruit and veg flavanoids give cardioprotective effects - Black tea is one of the highest sources of quercetin.

Staff Researcher

A STUDY published in the journal of Biochemical Pharmacology suggests major flavonoid quercetin is beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The study highlights the cardioprotective effects certain dietary flavonoids have when consumed as part of a normal diet.
Study supervisors Medical Research Foundation and UWA research fellow Natalie Ward and UWA School of Medicine and Pharmacology professorial fellow Kevin Croft say quercetin is one of the most widely abundant flavonoids in the diet.

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New norovirus strain could cause severe gastro epidemic

Staff Researcher

UNSW researchers have discovered a new strain of norovirus that they warn could cause a severe epidemic of acute gastroenteritis in Australia this winter.
Known as Sydney 2012, the highly infectious mutant virus has already caused an epidemic of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea in Europe, with an estimated 1.2 million cases of gastro in the UK during the colder months.
It has led to the closure of dozens of hospital wards there, and affected schools, age-cared facilities, cruise ships and workplaces, resulting in headlines in the British press such as the Chunder from Down Under.

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Fair Work Ombudsman to Check Claims by APESMA

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: In a flurry of press releases issued by the pharmacists' trade union, APESMA, it would appear that a challenge has been presented to the PGA to put its house in order.
The challenge appears to have the backing of the Fair Work Ombudsman, who will audit a selection of 400 pharmacies from all states and territories.
The press releases seem to indicate a carefully planned campaign is under way and that pharmacy owners need to be compliant before April 2013.

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Prescription Exchanges Becoming Interoperable

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note:
Electronic Prescription Exchanges in Australia have been sputtering along with little momentum, for quite a few years now.
Not surprisingly, the two main players in the field have been the doctors (in the form of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) and the pharmacists (in the form of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia).
The former has endeavoured to comply with all the specifications of NEHTA (the organisation established by government to oversee all e-health developments), which has spectacularly blown its budget on numerous occasions, with little to show.
On the other hand, the PGA developed its exchange outseide of NEHTA Guidelines.
Both the PGA (in the form of the eRx system) and the RACGP (in the form of the Medisecure System) have each tried to become the dominant system, a battle that has considerably drained cash resources on both sides.
We have asked Mark Coleman to comment on a media item describing recent developments that was published in Pulse IT.

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NPS Media Releases for November 2012

NPS Spokesperson

articles by this author...

Regular information provided by NPS – Better choices, better health - NPS enables people to be medicinewise.

NPS is a valued independent resource for accurate, evidence-based prescribing information and education. Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies, NPS plays a vital and unique role across the healthcare sector. For more information please contact Stephanie Childs on (02) 8217 8667 or 0419 618 365 or schilds@nps.org.au

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20 NOVEMBER 2012

BE MEDICINEWISE WITH COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINES

NPS MedicineWise is urging people to do their homework on complementary medicines and ensure they fully understand the risks and benefits of any complementary health products they plan to use.

In response to reports today that most complementary medicines available in Australia are not independently tested, CEO of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes, says people need to know where they can go for independent and evidence-based information about their medicines.

“Complementary medicines, like herbal supplements and vitamins are increasingly popular in Australia but are often considered to be less powerful or less harmful that prescription medicines.

“In fact, less than half of people surveyed in a national census of medicines use considered certain vitamins and herbs – like multivitamins, echinacea and fish oil – to be medicines,” says Dr Weekes.

With more than half (53.2%) of medicine users surveyed using complementary therapies, and very few complementary medicines registered with the Therapeutic Goods Association, Dr Weekes says it’s vital that we know how to be medicinewise with these products.

“We have to understand that herbs, vitamins or minerals, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy products, and homeopathic or traditional Chinese remedies are all medicines. And no medicine is completely free of side effects.

“Learning more about the benefits and risks of these medicines – including how complementary therapies may interact with other medicines and food – isn’t as easy as finding information about your prescription medicines, but there a number of places you can find the information you need.

“Our website is a great place to get information to help you make informed choices about your health. You can also call the NPS Medicines Line to have questions about your medicines answered by an experienced health professional.”

Learn more about complementary medicines at http://www.nps.org.au/topics/complementary_medicines

People needing information about any of their medicines should speak to their health professional or they can call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424, 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday for the cost of a local call).

 

15 NOVEMBER 2012

CAN I DRINK ALCOHOL WITH MY ANTIBIOTICS?
ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK 12-18 NOVEMBER 2012

In the lead up to summer party season, NPS MedicineWise is reminding Australians that while alcohol might not interact with many antibiotics, it’s still important to follow certain rules for taking antibiotics correctly.

Chair of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Janette Randall, says that although drinking  alcohol in moderation is unlikely to be a problem with most antibiotics, it’s wise to avoid alcohol when you’re sick, whether you’re taking antibiotics or not.

“There are only a handful of antibiotics that interact with alcohol, but it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol until you get better,” says Dr Randall

“You should definitely avoid drinking alcohol while taking metronidazole or tinidazole. These antibiotics can cause a severe reaction when taken with alcohol, including unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting, skin flushes, headaches, or a fast or irregular heartbeat,” says Dr Randall.

“You also need to avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours after finishing a prescribed course of metronidazole, and at least 72 hours after finishing a prescribed course of tinidazole.”

Other antibiotics that may cause adverse effects when taken with alcohol are co-trimoxazole and linezolid.

Dr Randall recommends asking a health professional if you’re unsure about drinking alcohol with your antibiotic.

“The best source of information is your doctor, pharmacist or other health professional. They can advise you on the things you can and can’t do while taking your particular antibiotic,” says Dr Randall.

Dr Randall also stresses that while it’s important to find out about possible interactions between your antibiotic, other medicines and alcohol, it’s just as important to know how to take your course of antibiotics correctly.
“Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem globally, and unless we start using antibiotics properly it is quite possible that we will return to a pre-antibiotic era where these lifesaving medicines no longer work for even simple infections.”

Research released yesterday as part of Antibiotic Awareness Week reveals that only 52% of people surveyed know that not completing the full course of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

“If you’re prescribed a course of antibiotics this party season, make sure you complete the full course and take them exactly as directed. If everyone takes action and uses antibiotics properly, we can help reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

During Antibiotic Awareness Week, NPS MedicineWise is calling on everyone to rethink their antibiotic use and take simple steps to ensure these life-saving medicines will work for us in the future:

·         Know that antibiotics are only effective in the treatment of bacteria and not viruses, like colds and flu.

·         When you need antibiotics, take the right amount, at the right times and complete the full course. 

·         Spread knowledge, not infections. Always practice good hygiene, talk to your health professional about antibiotic resistance, and encourage those around you to be antibiotic resistance fighters too.

To read more about Antibiotic Awareness Week visit www.nps.org.au/antibiotic-awareness

Become an antibiotic resistance fighter www.facebook.com.NPSMedicinewise

 

14 NOVEMBER 2012

AUSTRALIA MUST GET WISE ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF SUPERBUGSANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK: 12-18 NOVEMBER

More than 2 in 3 Australians know bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics — but many don’t know what to do about it.

Research released today by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, reveals many people aren’t aware that taking antibiotics incorrectly or inappropriately accelerates the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria throughout the community.

Chair of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Janette Randall, said the survey results* indicate that people understand more about the problem but don’t know how to be part of the solution.

“The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health today. But Australians are yet to understand how to change their own behaviour to reduce the spread of resistant bacteria in the community,” said Dr Randall.

“Individuals are twice as likely to develop bacterial resistance after taking a course of antibiotics and once we carry these resistant bacteria, we can pass them on to others. 

“With around 19 million prescriptions written in Australia every year, we are amongst some of the highest users of antibiotics in the developed world. And every time we use antibiotics incorrectly, we contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can spread quickly.”

According to Dr Randall, the world must act now to change the way we use these medicines or risk losing one of the most important advances in modern medicine less than 100 years since its discovery.

Today, Minister Plibersek launched a short film by NPS MedicineWise highlighting the global risk of superbugs and the simple ways each of us can preserve the miracle of antibiotics.

During Antibiotic Awareness Week, NPS MedicineWise is calling on everyone to rethink their antibiotic use and take simple steps to ensure these life-saving medicines will work for us in the future:

  1. Know that antibiotics are only effective in the treatment of bacteria and not viruses, like colds and flu.
  2. When you need antibiotics, take the right amount, at the right times and complete the full course
  3. Spread knowledge, not infections. Always practice good hygiene, talk to your health professional about antibiotic resistance, and encourage those around you to be antibiotic resistance fighters too.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is supported by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a 5-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance. 

Resources, tools and information about the week is available at www.nps.org.au/antibiotic-awareness
Become an antibiotic resistance fighter at www.facebook.com/NPSMedicineWise.    
Watch the new film featuring Dr John D’Arcy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Y8Kgba3F4&feature=youtu.be

*Survey of 1,019 people by Research Now for NPS MedicineWise in June 2012 - summary over page.

Media contact: Stephanie Childs on (02) 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or schilds@nps.org.au


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit,

NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.

We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS ANTIBIOTICS AND ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

Research by Research Now for NPS MedicineWise in June 2012. Released by the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP for Antibiotic Awareness Week 12-18 November 2012

In 2012, NPS MedicineWise launched a five-year campaign to promote the better use of antibiotics and combat the spread of antibiotic resistance in the Australian community. As part of this national campaign for consumers and health professionals, we commissioned research into consumer attitudes towards antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. The first wave of research – conducted in December 2011 – was released in April 2012.  This second wave* was conducted with 1019 participants after six months to measure changes in consumer attitudes and the impact of the campaign. Full survey results are available on request.

More Australians realise that antibiotic resistance is a growing problem.

 

·         68% of people surveyed know that bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

·         This represents an 18% increase in public awareness of this issue over a 6 month period.

Many Australians don’t know how their own behaviour contributes to the spread of resistance and increases their own risk.

·         Just over half of people surveyed (52%) know that not completing a full course of antibiotics as directed contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

·         Only around 1 in 3 people (35%) know that not completing a full course of antibiotics may mean they won’t work for them in future.

·         While 63% of people surveyed recognise that taking antibiotics when they are not needed contributes to the spread of resistance, more than half (57%) don’t realise that antibiotics don’t treat viruses.

Many Australians don’t understand which illnesses can be treated with antibiotics.

·         More than half of people surveyed (57%) know that antibiotics kill bacteria only; 1 in 5 think antibiotics kill both viruses and bacteria.

·         Less than 1 in 3 people (32%) know that colds and most coughs are caused by viruses only.

·         Around half of people surveyed (52%) are unsure as to whether viruses or bacteria are the cause of colds and most coughs. This represents a 5% reduction in 6 months.

·         Less than half of people surveyed (43%) know that they should not take antibiotics to kill viruses.

·         2 in 3 people realise that antibiotics are not the best treatment for colds and most coughs.

Many Australians expect or ask to be prescribed antibiotics for coughs, colds, and ear, nose, throat and chest infections (ENT/CI).

·         1 in 5 people (21%) expect to be prescribed antibiotics when they visit the GP with a cough or cold.

·         More than half of people surveyed (53%) would ask their GP for antibiotics to treat an ENT/CI.

·         3 in 4 people (76%) expect to be given an antibiotic when they go to the GP with an ENT/CI.

 

14 NOVEMBER 2012

MINISTER MARKS ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK IN BRISBANE TODAY

Today, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, will join NPS MedicineWise and the Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care in Brisbane to mark Australia’s first Antibiotic Awareness Week and launch new data on Australian consumer attitudes to antibiotics.

Minister Plibersek will also launch a new short film by NPS MedicineWise highlighting the global risk of superbugs and the simple ways everyone can preserve the miracle of antibiotics.

This is the first year this global health initiative has been held as a nationally coordinated event in Australia. The event, held from 12 -18 November, is also recognised in Canada, the USA and Europe.

In Australia Antibiotic Awareness Week is officially supported by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia. 

Footage/photo and interview opportunities with:

·         The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health and Ageing;

·         Dr Janette Randall, GP and Chair of NPS MedicineWise; and

·         Dr Marilyn Cruickshank, Chair of the Antimicrobial Resistance Standing Committee (AMRSC) and Program Director at the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Date:                Wednesday 14 November, 2012.

Time:               2:15pm AEST

Location:          577 Old Cleveland Rd, Camp Hill, Brisbane, 4152.


12 NOVEMBER 2012

PHARMACIES TO HELP FIGHT SUPERBUGS DURING ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK

NPS MedicineWise is calling on pharmacies around Australia to lead the way in the global fight against antibiotic resistance as part of the country’s first Antibiotic Awareness Week, launching today.

Throughout the week, Australian pharmacists and pharmacy staff are encouraged to use a range of NPS MedicineWise resources to engage consumers in conversations about antibiotic resistance and help change attitudes and behaviours towards antibiotics.

Globally, the misuse of antibiotics is contributing to the rapid development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Chair of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Janette Randall, says changing community attitudes and expectations around antibiotics is a vital step in helping to combat antibiotic resistance.

“Many Australians don’t understand when it’s appropriate to take antibiotics and when it’s not. They often seek advice from their health professional, with pharmacies typically being the first port of call,” says Dr Randall.

“More than 20 per cent of people surveyed by NPS MedicineWise* said they would expect an antibiotic for a cough or a cold, and this figure more than triples when we start talking about ear, nose, throat or chest infections. By making people medicinewise about antibiotics we can reduce their use when they’re not needed and, in the long run, help preserve the miracle that is antibiotics.” 

Pharmacies can get involved in the week by re-using materials from their NPS MedicineWise resistance fighter campaign launch kits (distributed to community pharmacies in July), or by downloading educational resources from www.nps.org.au/antibiotic-awareness.

How to be medicinewise about antibiotics this global Antibiotic Awareness Week

·         Learn more about antibiotic resistance at www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewise/antibiotic_resistance

·         Download the NPS MedicineWise Antibiotic Awareness Week poster to print and display in your pharmacy.

·         Order or download copies of the NPS MedicineWise symptomatic management pad for the treatment of colds and flu.

·         Talk to consumers about antibiotic resistance, and what they can do to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the community.

·         Promote the NPS MedicineWise Antibiotics Reminder iPhone app.

·         Encourage consumers to become antibiotic resistance fighters and pledge to change the way they use antibiotics at www.facebook.com/NPSmedicinewise  

Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global public health initiative officially supported in Australia by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and by NPS MedicineWise as part of our five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia. 

* Survey of 1,019 people by Research Now for NPS in June 2012. Full survey results available upon request.

12 NOVEMBER 2012

NEW E-LEARNING MODULES TO HELP FIGHT ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

During Antibiotic Awareness Week (12 – 18 November), NPS MedicineWise and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) have launched a series of online e-learning modules designed to help combat antibiotic resistance by encouraging the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals.

Aimed particularly at prescribers in their first two years out of medical school, as well as nurse practitioners, hospital pharmacists and university students, the four modules address specific areas where antibiotic use in hospitals needs improvement.

Using a range of common clinical scenarios, the modules guide users through a number of different actions including initial clinical assessment and diagnosis, investigations, interpretation of results and antibiotic selection. Expert advice and feedback is delivered at each step, helping to improve learning outcomes.

The modules, which reflect the format of the World Health Organization’s Guide to Good Prescribing, have been written by some of the authors of the publication Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Hospitals1 and are based on the principles described in Therapeutic Guidelines for antibiotics.

ACSQHC CEO, Professor Debora Picone says the increase in antimicrobial resistance is a significant public health issue. The good news, however, is that health professionals and consumers can work together to change the way we use these important medicines and slow down or even reverse much of the damage.

“It’s well known that the misuse or overuse of antibiotics in the hospital setting is one of the key drivers of antibiotic resistance, which is why it’s important we provide health professionals in this environment with ongoing education and support,” says Professor Picone.

NPS MedicineWise Chair Dr Janette Randall says the modules fill a previously unmet need for an online teaching resource on a common curriculum for hospitals and universities.

“These new modules will guide health professionals towards better prescribing of antibiotics, ultimately helping to reduce the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in Australia,” says Dr Randall.

“Online education is fast becoming the preferred mode of learning for busy health professionals and NPS MedicineWise is proud to be delivering high quality e-learning tools in this space.”

The modules have been released as part of the ACSQHC antimicrobial stewardship initiative and a broader 5-year campaign from NPS MedicineWise to tackle the issues associated with antibiotic resistance in the Australian community.

Four free e-learning modules are available:

·         Surgical prophylaxis

·         Catheter-associated urinary tract infection

·         Bacteraemia

·         Community acquired pneumonia (available later in November)

To register for the modules, visit http://www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/online_learning

For further information regarding the NPS MedicineWise campaign to fight antibiotic resistance, visit www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewise/antibiotic_resistance

Information on the ACSQHC Antimicrobial Stewardship Initiative is available from http://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/healthcare-associated-infection/antimicrobial-stewardship/

1.     Duguid M, Cruickshank M, editors. Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Hospitals. Sydney: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2011.


12 NOVEMBER 2012

MINSTER MARKS ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK, 12-18 NOVEMBER 2012

Today marks the beginning of global Antibiotic Awareness Week and for the first time in Australia, doctors, pharmacists, hospitals staff, and consumers alike will take part in a national program of activities designed to combat antibiotic resistance.

On Wednesday November 14, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, will join NPS MedicineWise and the Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care in Brisbane to mark Antibiotic Awareness Week and launch new data on Australian consumer attitudes to antibiotics.

Globally, there is growing concern that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the rapid development and spread of bacteria that antibiotics may not be able to treat. In fact, the World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health today.

With around 19 million prescriptions written every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. Combating antimicrobial resistance by encouraging the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals and the community is a key focus for Australian state and territory governments.

2012 is the first year this global health initiative has been held as a nationally coordinated event in Australia. The event, held from 12 -18 November, is also recognised in Canada, the USA and Europe.

Over the course of this week, Australian consumers and health professionals will be encouraged to rethink the way they use or prescribe antibiotics to help fight the global spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In Australia, Antibiotic Awareness Week is officially supported by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (The Commission), and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia. 

You are invited to join:

·         The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health and Ageing;

·         Dr Janette Randall, GP and Chair of NPS MedicineWise; and

·         Dr Marilyn Cruickshank, Chair of the Antimicrobial Resistance Standing Committee (AMRSC) and Program Director at the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.for a briefing on Australia’s first Antibiotic Awareness Week and the role all Australians can play in the global fight against antibiotic resistance.

 

Date:                Wednesday 14 November, 2012.

Time:               2:15pm AEST

Location:          585 Old Cleveland Rd, Camp Hill, Brisbane, 4152.

 

8 NOVEMBER 2012


GLOBAL ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK, 12-18 NOVEMBER 2012 MEDIA BRIEFING:
TOOLS FOR THE TRADE

On Monday 12 November you are invited to join:

 

·         Dr Janette Randall, GP and Chair of NPS MedicineWise; and

·         Professor Debora Picone AM, CEO of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission)

 for an exclusive briefing on Australia’s first Antibiotic Awareness Week and the role of health professionals in the global fight against antibiotic resistance.

 The briefing will be held at the NPS MedicineWise Sydney office at 10:30am.

 The overuse and misuse of antibiotics globally threatens to drive us back to a pre-antibiotic era - where infections last longer, are more difficult to treat and have an increased risk of complications and death.

 With around 19 million prescriptions written every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world, contributing significantly to the global threat of antibiotic resistance.

 There is a strong link between antibiotic prescribing practices and the rate of antibiotic resistance; Australian health professionals have an important role to play in bringing Australia’s antibiotic use down in line with the OECD average. 

 2012 is the first year that Antibiotic Awareness Week has been held as a nationally coordinated event in Australia. The event, held from 12 November – 18 November 2012, is also recognised in Canada, USA and Europe.

 In Australia Antibiotic Awareness Week is officially supported by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia. 

 

 

Date:  Monday 12 November 2012

Time: 10:30am – 11:30am

Location:  NPS MedicineWise (Level 7, 418a Elizabeth St, Surry Hills – corner of Devonshire Street)

 

The briefing will be followed by a Q&A session and the opportunity for one-on-one interviews with Dr Randall and Professor Picone.

Refreshments will be provided

 

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