s NPS Media Releases for October 2013 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

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

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for July 2014

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated

Comments: 1

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Feature Contribution

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

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

Comments: 5

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Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

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

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The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

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

Comments: 1

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‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

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

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Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

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

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Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

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

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

Staff Writer

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

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I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

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

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Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

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

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

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Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

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

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Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

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

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Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

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

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Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

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

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

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

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Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

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

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Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

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

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

Staff Writer

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

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

Staff Writer

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

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

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Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

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

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

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

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Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

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

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Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

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

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NPS Media Releases for October 2013

NPS Spokesperson

articles by this author...

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

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22 OCTOBER 2013




The latest NPS MedicineWise case study Type 2 diabetes: tailoring ongoing treatment has been launched in a new dynamic online format. The case study focuses on available treatment options for a 75-year-old male with type 2 diabetes and offers continuing professional development (CPD) points for GPs, pharmacists and nurses.


NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says the new online case study offers an interactive, engaging and flexible online learning experience.


The case study provides immediate individual and peer results to challenge thinking and includes feedback from an expert in the field of diabetes: Professor Stephen Twigg from the University of Sydney,” he says.


Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in Australia and 1 in 4 people over the age of 75 are estimated to have type 2 diabetes, so this case study is an essential learning activity for all health professionals.”


Participants are able to work through the clinical scenario online with interactive questions and receive immediate feedback based on their responses. The activity also provides best practice points that can be applied to patient care.


Users are able to access the case study on a computer or tablet and switch between devices seamlessly meaning you can start the learning activity at the workplace  and continue it on the train on the way home,” says Dr Boyden.


The case study covers concepts including:


·         Management of CVD risk factors and glycaemic control

·         Update on role of low-dose aspirin for patients with type 2 diabetes

·         Changes to HbA1c reporting

·         Advantages and disadvantages of newer glucose lowering medicines

·         Tailoring treatment for an older patient with type 2 diabetes


Case studies are also recognised for the Quality Prescribing Incentive (QPI) of the Practice Incentives Program (PIP). This activity is also accredited for pharmacists and nurses to earn CPD credits.


For more information and to get started on the new case study visit www.nps.org.au/casestudy.



18 OCTOBER 2013





Today, NPS MedicineWise is urging people to ask questions about their medicines by speaking to a health professional or calling the NPS Medicines Line.


The call to ask questions is the last of five daily challenges set for Australians as part of Be Medicinewise Week 2013, which has focused on the health of Australia’s ageing population. The medicinewise challenge was launched on Monday by Australian icon Bert Newton to help people make better decisions about their health and medicines.


NPS Medicines Line Manager and pharmacist Sarah Spagnardi says asking questions is one of the best ways to avoid potentially serious problems with your medicines, but says too few people play this active role in their health care.


In our research* with older Australians and their carers, only half of people surveyed said they regularly talk to their doctor or pharmacist about how they feel about their medicines,” says Ms Spagnardi.


And while 75% of older people and their carers say they talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of their medicines, only one in three will discuss their non-prescription and complementary medicines.”


Ms Spagnardi says everyone involved in your health care needs to know about all the medicines you take, and there are good reasons why older Australians should always ask questions about what they’re putting into their bodies.


Around one in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older Australians are due to problems with medicines – half of those problems could be prevented.


Typically, we have more long-term health problems and will take more medicines when we’re older, so as we age the risk of medicine-related problems can increase.”


Our bodies also change a lot as we age. We handle medicines differently and become more sensitive to medicines, which means there’s a greater risk of side effects and potentially harmful medicine interactions.”


Ms Spagnardi says medicine-related problems can sometimes go unrecognised because common symptoms – like confusion, tiredness or falls – are often considered ‘normal’ for older people, when they may actually be due to the medicines they are taking.


Medicines are supposed to keep us healthy, so we tend to assume they will. But when we combine multiple medicines it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong,” she says.


So don’t make assumptions about your health and medicines. Be medicinewise: talk to your health professionals about how you want to improve your health, and ask to have your medicines reviewed regularly.


And if you have any questions about your prescription, over-the-counter, or complementary medicines, ask your health professional or call the NPS Medicines Line.”


For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


For more information Be Medicinewise Week visit http://www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewiseweek

or visit www.facebook.com.au/npsmedicinewise to join the conversation.


*Survey of 796 older Australians or their carers conducted for NPS MedicineWise by UMR Research in July/August 2013



17 OCTOBER 2013






On day four of Be Medicinewise Week 2013, NPS MedicineWise is urging people to check the instructions for all their medicines and make sure they are taking them the right way.


The call comes as part of the week’s national medicinewise challenge which was launched on Monday by Australian icon Bert Newton.


This year, Be Medicinewise Week is focused on the health of Australia’s ageing population, and clinical advisor at NPS MedicineWise, Dr Andrew Boyden, says Thursday’s challenge is particularly important for older Australians.


In our new research* with older Australians and their carers, we found that around one in four older people have problems remembering to take some of their medicines; and one in three people don’t always read the labels on their medicines,” says Dr Boyden.


Following instructions is crucial. Taking medicines at the right time, in the correct dose; not taking certain medicines together; and other instructions - like taking medicines with food - helps to keep us safe and healthy.


But following instructions isn’t always easy. This is particularly true as we get older and start to take several different medicines, each with different doses, and often, each taken at different times of day.


And if your hearing, eyesight or memory is affected, it can be difficult to keep track of the instructions written on your medicines or given to you by a health professional.


Mistakes with your medicines have the real potential to cause you serious harm, so it’s important that you have the information and support you need to follow instructions carefully.”


According to Dr Boyden, the consumer medicine information (CMI) is a valuable source of information about prescription and pharmacist-only medicines, but only 45% of older people always read the CMI when they start a new medicine. You can search for the CMI for your medicines at www.nps.org.au/medicines or ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy.


Dr Boyden suggests that if you, or someone you care for, has trouble reading the instructions on medicine labels, you can ask your pharmacist for the same information on a separate sheet in large print.


You can also ask your pharmacist about getting a medication organiser – like a dosette box – to help you take your medicines the right way,” he says.


It can be easier to follow instructions if you set a reminder on your alarm clock or phone; take your medicines as part of a daily routine – like brushing your teeth; or ask someone to remind you about your medicines.


And if you find you’re still having difficulty following the instructions for all your medicines, or you care for somebody who is, ask your doctor or pharmacist about a medicines review.


Being an active partner in your medicines management is one of the best things you can do to be medicinewise and stay healthy.”


For more information Be Medicinewise Week visit http://www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewiseweek

or visit www.facebook.com.au/npsmedicinewise to join the conversation.


*Survey of 796 older Australians or their carers conducted for NPS MedicineWise by UMR Research in July/August 2013


 16 OCTOBER 2013




This Wednesday NPS MedicineWise wants everyone to clean out their medicine cabinets and rid their homes, cars and offices of unwanted, unnecessary and potentially harmful out-of-date medicines.


Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day’ (16 October) marks the halfway point in a national medicinewise challenge that has been set as part of Be Medicinewise Week 2013.


This year the national initiative is focused on the health of Australia’s ageing population but on Wednesday, Be Medicinewise Week ambassador Dr John D’Arcy and NPS MedicineWise are urging everyone to get involved.


It’s pretty clear that Australians need to become more medicinewise. Around 1.5 million people experience a medicines-related problem each year and hospitals see 190,000 admissions per year as a result,” says Dr D’Arcy.


Medicines use in Australia is just about universal. Chances are we’ve all got a few medicines lying around the house, stuffed in a draw at work, hiding in the glove box or stashed in our bags. But when was the last time you checked whether those medicines were still safe to use?


Medicines can change significantly over time – chemically or in their physical form. Beyond their expiry dates, they may become less effective, and in some cases might even become toxic. Holding onto your old pills and potions can be dangerous if you end up taking them.”


But it’s not just out-of-date medicines we need to worry about. Dr D’Arcy warns you should also dispose of medicines you no longer need.


Medicines you no longer need may no longer be right for you, so saving some for next time or giving them to someone else is a big risk that’s not worth taking.”


According to Dr D’Arcy, the key to spring cleaning your medicines cabinet is knowing what to look for. Medicines come in many forms, including tablets, liquids, inhalers, drops, patches, creams, suppositories and injections.


A lot of people don’t realise that complementary medicines such as herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements are medicines too,” says Dr D’Arcy.


It helps to remember that a medicine is what you take to change the way your body deals with illness or injury, or to maintain your health and wellbeing.”


This Wednesday, take the medicinewise challenge and use our C.L.E.A.N tips to help you keep your medicine cabinet safe and tidy.

·         Collect all the medicines in your house. Check your handbag, car, bedside table and first aid and travel kits.

·         Look at the expiry date on the label or packaging of all medicines to check if they’re still in date.

·         Exclude medicines from your cabinet that are past their expiry date or are no longer needed. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist or doctor. If a medicine has an expiry month, this means the end of that month.

·         Arrange to have unwanted or out-of-date medicines disposed of by a pharmacy. Return your medicines to any pharmacy for safe and easy disposal through the Return of Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project.

·         Note all your medicines using an NPS Medicines List to help you keep track of them.

For more information about Be Medicinewise Week visit http://www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewiseweek

or visit www.facebook.com.au/npsmedicinewise to join the conversation.



14 OCTOBER 2013





Today, Bert Newton joins Dr John D’Arcy and NPS MedicineWise to launch Be Medicinewise Week 2013. 

Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week helps people to make safer and more informed decisions about their medicines and health. This year, the national initiative focuses on Australia’s ageing population.

CEO of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes, says that being an active partner in your health care and medicines management is especially important for older Australians who tend to suffer more chronic health issues and often need to take multiple medicines.

Medicines problems are common in older people. One in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older Australians are due to problems with medicines, but half of these could be prevented,” says Dr Weekes.

Bert Newton is a national icon whose personal health story will ring true for many. With his support, we’re working to build a medicinewise Australia and reduce the number of medicines problems people experience.”

Dr Weekes says that 43 percent of people aged 50 plus take five or more medicines a day, and research released today underscores the importance of the medicinewise movement for Australia’s ageing population. 

While many older Australians are managing multiple medicines, only 55 percent of people surveyed keep a list of their medicines; of those who don’t, 30 percent have no way of keeping track of what they take.

People aren’t always aware of the risks and benefits of their medicines. One in four people think that prescription medicines rarely or never have side effects and just 20% know that side effects are common for these medicines.”

Be Medicinewise Week ambassador, Bert Newton, says he can relate to the experience of many Australians who’ve suffered chronic health issues and found they’re taking more medicines as they get older.

There’d be a lot of people who don’t realise that when it comes to taking medicines, they’re not as wise as they should be; I too have had some personal experience of this as the result of my ill health last year,” says Bert.

I’m in pretty good health now but I had to learn very quickly to keep track of what medicines I’m taking, and why. My advice to people would be: make sure you understand what your medicines are for; know how to take your medicines properly; and seek out advice and information to help you take your medicines safely.

I’ve had the benefit of a close relationship with a wise doctor, who’s been my GP for the past 30 years. I think it gives you confidence when you understand your medicines as much as you can as a non-medical person.

Be Medicinewise Week all boils down to some simple but important advice for people in my age group, below it and certainly above it - and I’m right behind it. Take the medicinewise challenge and get medicinewise.”

For more information Be Medicinewise Week visit http://www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewiseweek

Or visit www.facebook.com.au/npsmedicinewise each day to join the conversation with Bert Newton.



11 OCTOBER 2013





On Monday NPS MedicineWise, with the help of ambassadors Bert Newton and Dr John D’Arcy, will launch Be Medicinewise Week 2013.


The week is a national public health initiative to encourage the quality use of medicines in the community and support people to make safer and more informed decisions about their medicines and health.


Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week 2013 will focus on Australia’s ageing population, providing older Australians with tools and information to be active partners in their health care and medicines management.


NPS MedicineWise Clinical Advisor, Dr Andrew Boyden, says health professionals play a vital role in community education and can help older patients better understand the role of medicines in their healthcare.


Helping patients to understand why they are taking medicines; how to take those medicines safely; and what to do if they experience problems is critical to reducing adverse medicines events,” says Dr Boyden.


In a national census of medicines use, NPS MedicineWise found that most older Australians take five or more medicines per day and the proportion of people aged 75 years or older taking multiple medicines is double that of those aged 50-64 years.


By taking more medicines, older people have a higher risk of adverse outcomes: people who take five or more medicines everyday are almost twice as likely to report a medicines problem as those who take less.


Medicines use in older people is a balance between managing conditions according to disease based guidelines and addressing patient goals while at the same time avoiding medicine-related problems.


Finding this balance can be helped when patients an active role in their care. Encouraging patients to keep a list of their medicines, discuss their long-term health goals and understand the risks and benefits of their medicines is key to safe medicines management.”


During Be Medicinewise Week, all Australians are being urged to take part in a daily medicinewise challenge. Dr Boyden says that health professionals can support their patients in the following ways:


·         Learn: Approximately 46% of people aged 50 years or older use complementary medicines. Many are not aware that these medicines may interact with prescription medicines and contribute to increased risk or pill burden. Review your patients’ medicines and ask about complementary and over-the-counter medicines use. 

·         Manage: For older people taking multiple medicines, knowing the active ingredient is important so they can avoid doubling up. Ensure your patients know how to recognise the active ingredient in their medicines and encourage them to maintain an up-to-date medicines list.

·         Discuss: Encourage older people to ask questions and discuss the risks and benefits of their medicines. Assist patients and their carers to access the information they need understand their condition, their medicines and their care.


The latest therapeutic topic from NPS MedicineWise, Older and wiser: promoting safe use of medicines in older people, supports GPs to achieve good medicines management with older patients. GPs can request an educational visit via email to edvisits@nps.org.au or by calling (02) 8217 8795.


For more information about Be Medicinewise Week visit www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewiseweek 


9 OCTOBER 2013




Next Monday, Bert Newton will join NPS MedicineWise to launch Be Medicinewise Week 2013 and urge everyone to take part in a national medicinewise challenge.


Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week 2013 will focus on the Australia’s ageing population, giving older Australians the tools and information they need to get wise about their health and their medicines.


At the launch on Monday, Australian icon, Bert Newton, will tell of his own experiences with health and medicines, urging everyone to become medicinewise and get more involved in their health management.


Dr Lynn Weekes, CEO of NPS MedicineWise, will also address the launch to release new findings about older Australians’ attitudes and behaviours when it comes to taking medicines.


Every year, 190,000 Australians will be admitted to hospital following a problem with their medicines and one in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older people is be medicines-related.


Many medicines problems can be prevented and urging people to be medicinewise is one way NPS MedicineWise works to bring down the number of potentially dangerous adverse medicines events in Australia.


During Be Medicinewise Week, we’re asking people to get to know their medicines, to play an active role in their health care, and to learn how to get the most out of their medicines and medical tests.



Be Medicinewise Week is on from 14-20 October, 2013.


Members of the media are invited to join:


Australian icon, Bert Newton,

Celebrity GP, Dr John D’Arcy; and
CEO of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes


for the launch of Be Medicinewise Week, new NPS MedicineWise research, and the medicinewise challenge.


Date:                Monday 14 October, 2013

Time:               12:15 for 12:30pm

Location:          Redfern Oval Community Room

                        51 Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney.

                        Next to the Redfern Oval grandstand.


Light lunch, tea and coffee will be provided.

Numbers are strictly limited. Please RSVP by Thursday 10 October.


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

Erin Jardine (02) 8217 8733, 0419 618 365 or ejardine@nps.org.au


About NPS MedicineWise:


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables Australians to make the best decisions about medicines and medical tests, creating better health and economic outcomes for individuals and the nation.


We identify and resolve challenges around the way medicines and medical tests are used, creating and implementing practical solutions that deliver health benefits to Australians.


We are for a medicinewise Australia. Our programs are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.




1 OCTOBER 2013


Latest edition of Australian Prescriber out now


Asthma drugs in pregnancy and lactation

Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy poses short and long-term risks to the mother and her baby. Angelina Lim, Dr Safeera Hussainy and Professor Michael Abramson from Monash University explain that while pregnant women may have some concerns about asthma medication during pregnancy, optimal asthma control should always be the first priority, and that guidelines recommend women should continue the same therapy they used before pregnancy.


The article examines the evidence behind commonly used asthma medicines in pregnancy, and provides an explanation of the Australian categorisation of risk for these drugs in pregnancy.


Assessment and management of eating disorders

Professor Phillipa Hay from the University of Western Sydney writes that early identification of eating disorders –particularly anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents, and bulimia nervosa and binge eating – is associated with good outcomes. Optimal management involves coordinated care between primary and specialist care.

The author outlines and provides an update on some of the evidence-based treatments which include family-based therapy for young people with anorexia nervosa, and a specific form of cognitive behavioural therapy with or without a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.


Prescribing for refugees

Problems that may arise when prescribing for people of refugee background can be minimised by taking time to undertake education and careful explanation, write Dr Mitchell Smith, Director of the NSW Refugee Health Service, Dr Winston Lo, medical educator at GP Synergy, and Jessica Bindra from the University of NSW.


The authors write that religious and cultural beliefs, limited health literacy and use of traditional medicines can all affect health care for refugees. In addition, psychological conditions are very common, and the doctor may encounter unfamiliar conditions. Recently arrived refugees should have a thorough health check. There are Medicare items for assessing the health of refugees.


Clear communication by the health professional is vital. They need to confirm the patient’s understanding of the information they provide, and use a professional interpreter when necessary. The Translating and Interpreting Service (1300 131 450) provides free phone interpreters for doctors in private practice, and for community pharmacists.


Other articles in this edition of Australian Prescriber include


•       Principles for managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

•       Rational use of topical corticosteroids

•       Making sense of equivalence, non-inferiority and active control trials


To read the full articles and more, visit www.australianprescriber.com



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