s Pipeline for August 2011 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 29/07/2011         Volume. 3 No. 7   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the August 2011 edition of i2P- Information to Pharmacists.
Direct distribution by pharmaceutical manufacturers is back in the news once more.
This disruptive attack on an efficient community pharmacy business model must be checked before it gets too far out of hand.
Neil Retallick discusses some of the issues as does Mark Coleman in the Pharmedia section of i2P.
Read and see what you can do to help.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for August 2011

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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Pipeline for August 2011

Pipeline Extras

A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.

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Feature Contribution

Pfizer Direct - the Implications as other Manufacturers look at this channel

Neil Retallick

Pfizer is working hard to improve its direct supply model, but no matter how efficient it becomes, it will still wreak havoc in community pharmacies.
It is almost a case of the more effective Pfizer’s logistics become, the more damage their direct supply model will inflict on community pharmacies.
The issue here has never been whether or not Pfizer can supply the right drugs at the right time to the right place.
If they lack the will to make this happen, there is a multitude of logistics experts that can help them achieve efficient supply.
Recent relaxation of order cut-off times is an indicator that Pfizer wants their model to be accepted by pharmacists and is willing to make concessions to meet their needs.

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Pharmacists - where are you when we need you?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

New parents are congregating  at alternative practitioner clinics for after-hours 'information' seminars, eager to learn anything they can do to improve their families health and wellbeing.  Seniors and major illness patients are attending meetings to learn how to better manage their illnesses.   But what advice are they being given and why is their local pharmacist not there to support them?
People want to feel they are in control of their health.  When they are told about a lecture on lifestyle and health education, they will turn up in droves to listen to what their friendly neighbourhood natural therapist has to say.

Comments: 2

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A conflict between selling complementary medicines and providing evidence based clinical medical reviews?

Dr Linda Bryant (PGDipPharm, MPharm, DPharm(Auck), FACPP, FNZCP, FPSNZ, MCAPA)

First came the randomised controlled trial1,which linked calcium supplementation with vascular events, then there was a meta-analysis linking calcium with cardiovascular events2 and then a further confirmatory meta-analysis of calcium plus Vitamin D and using individual patient data.3
The conclusions were reasonably secure that calcium supplements are likely to increase the risk of a cardiovascular event. It is now advised that people obtain their calcium intake by dietary means – which is feasible even for those who do not consume a lot of dairy products. General practitioners have now stopped prescribing calcium, leaving me confused as to what arguments are being used by the community pharmacists who continue to sell the calcium supplements.

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Post- discharge Home Medicines Reviews

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

Through the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement hospital initiated HMRs will now be available for high-risk patients recently discharged from hospital. This is an important step in addressing the fact that patients recently discharged from hospital are at risk of medication misadventure. The question I would like to raise is who is best placed to undertake these HMRs. The traditional model of HMR referral has been through a General Practitioner (GP) to the consumer’s community pharmacy. Under this model the HMR may be undertaken by an accredited pharmacist directly involved with or employed by the community pharmacy or be outsourced to an independent accredited pharmacist. Under the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement this model has now been modified to enable direct referral from a GP to an accredited pharmacist and also direct referral from a hospital based medical practitioner for a newly discharged patient. The traditional model will continue in tandem with this new model.

Comments: 2

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Make sure your perspective is perceptive

Harvey Mackay

We've reached a point in our country's history where authority and power seem to be manifested by the need to shout down the other person.  Discussion and compromise are words freely bandied about, but they've largely lost their meaning. 
What is really lost is perspective.
Just as there are two (or more) sides to every story, there are plenty of different ideas on how to get things done.  No one person has a corner on that market.

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Fingers crossed as FDA considers drug bar code packaging rule

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about baseball, movies, ambiguous bar codes, and the FDA.
On June 26, 1974, New York Yankee All-Star Derek Jeter was born, two-time Academy Award winner Elizabeth Taylor divorced (for the fifth time), and Sharon Buchanan, a young grocery clerk in Troy, Ohio, was the first ever to ring up a retail purchase by scanning a bar code. On the same day in 2011, I drove from Arlington, Virginia, to Silver Spring, Maryland, to meet with people at the FDA to talk about the future of bar-code labeling on drug packaging.

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More Shocks and Economic Pain

Barry Urquhart

There are more shocks and economic pain on the near-term horizon for taxpayers, small business owners and corporations.
This is a key finding of an extensive and intensive strategic analysis undertaken by Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, who will deliver a keynote address on the analysis at the forthcoming annual national conference for the Australian Mining and Exploration Companies Association.
Among the significant points which have been identified are: -

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Marketing Focus: Here's looking at you, kid!

Barry Urquhart


"Wealth....Innovation. Creativity. Originality. Dynamism. Growth. Capital. Technology."

Silicon Valley is both a name and locality known throughout the world and is synonymous with each of the above listed attributes. It means and is perceived to be many things to many people.
Since the 1960's Silicon Valley has been the birthplace of many scenario changes, iconic products, services, concepts and business entities. In itself it is a magnet which attracts some of the world's brightest, most enterprising, free thinking and driven entrepreneurs.
The Federal and State governments, in Washington DC and California, have welcomed, encouraged and supported investment in countless large and small, established and start-up businesses to enable them to blossom and to create wealth, employment, education and opportunities.
Financial injections and tax relief/incentives have been provided in abundance.
Everyone, it seems, is a winner.

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No success without access

Harvey Mackay

Over the years I've asked a lot of people what makes a great salesperson, and the answers are fairly predictable:  passion; persistence; personality/likeability; planning; trustworthiness; strong work ethic; drive/initiative; quick learner; goal-oriented; good communications skills; sense of humor; humility; good timing; strong at building relationships; and follow-up (or as I say, the sale begins when the customer says yes).
My own answer is always the same:  hungry fighter.  In many ways, that is the embodiment of all of the above traits.

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E-Health - High cost for very little return

Peter Sayers

Politicians in the UK are starting to wake up to the fact that their Department of Health is unable to deliver its electronic care records system, after investing 2.7 billion pounds sterling in the project without being able to demonstrate a single benefit of the system.
The project has suffered from the same problems that have beset a similar Australian project being developed by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
It is now recognised that the pitfalls and waste might have been avoided in the UK had they consulted a range of health professionals before starting the project.

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Question homeopathy’s remedies but not its approach

Staff Writer

It seems the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is likely to follow the lead of the UK and denounce homeopathy as an ineffective and unethical therapy that shouldn’t attract scarce government research funds.
This is within the remit of the NHMRC’s role to provide health advice to clinicians and the Australian public. But the NHMRC also funds the majority of health and medical research in Australia.
And this dual role means the NHMRC – or those looking to it for guidance – may look unfavourably at funding any research involving homoeopathy.
Homeophathy has its shortcomings but researchers still have a lot to learn from studying this practice. 

Written By Jon Wardle:NHMRC Research Scholar, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

Comments: 2

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Saving Lives at Birth

Staff Writer

United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has acknowledged Monash University researchers for a life-saving new drug concept at the Saving Lives at Birth global challenge forum held yesterday in Washington DC.
Following the forum, at which Monash University researcher Dr Michelle McIntosh spoke, the research team received funding to engineer a drug that could save the lives of mothers of newborn children in developing countries.

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UQ Law helps professionals deal with carbon tax challenge

Staff Writer

The University of Queensland is preparing for an increased uptake in post-graduate legal courses as lawyers, consultants and accountants prepare to implement the Government's carbon tax scheme, due to take effect in July 2012.
Head of the TC Beirne School of Law Professor Ross Grantham said he expected a significant demand for specialist skills in areas such as consumer law, contracts, taxation, climate change and policy, and mining and offshore resources law.

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Cholesterol drug may help diabetes sugar levels

Staff Writer

A medicine designed to improve levels of 'good' cholesterol may also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes who are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to a recently published study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study, led by the University of Sydney's Professor Philip Barter, made the finding while analysing data from a clinical trial on the drug torcetrapib. Torcetrapib is a cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, a type of drug that increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, or 'good' cholesterol).

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Microsoft grant boosts stroke, cardio disease detection devices

Staff Writer

A $100,000 Microsoft fellowship awarded to a lecturer leading the University of Sydney in the emerging field of bioelectronics will accelerate the development of electrical devices used to diagnose and monitor stroke and cardiovascular disease.

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Indigenous Science Education Program wins national award

Staff Writer

Macquarie University's innovative Indigenous Science Education Program has been recognised with an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.
The Indigenous Science Education Program (ISEP) works with Casino, Lismore and Maclean High Schools in northern NSW and Chifley College in Western Sydney and has its origins in requests for help from Aboriginal Elders in addressing the poor completion rate of secondary education by their Indigenous youth.

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Karratha GP Super Clinic to Provide Better Health Services

Staff Writer

Residents of the West Pilbara will soon have better access to GPs and allied health professionals following the signing of a $7 million agreement with the Pilbara Health Network for a GP Super Clinic to operate in Karratha.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, today welcomed the signing of the $7 million agreement as a welcome boost to health care in West Pilbara.
“This GP Super Clinic will deliver better access to health services for locals in a single, convenient location,” Mr Butler said.

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Stopping snoring cuts heart attack risk, researchers find

Staff Writer

Sleep apnoea patients who are successfully treated have lower blood fat levels and a reduced risk of heart attack than people who are left untreated, University of Sydney researchers have found.
Sleep apnoea, a condition in which people stop breathing momentarily while sleeping, affects up to 20 percent of the population. The researchers found treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device reduced post-meal blood fat (triglyceride) levels.

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New Advisory Council to Boost Disease Prevention Efforts

Staff Writer

Moves to prevent the lifestyle risks of chronic disease in Australia have been boosted with the creation of an expert Advisory Council for the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler today welcomed the appointment of 10 expert members to a new advisory council for the Agency in another significant step forward for national health reform.

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Researchers unveil body clock battle for Blind New Zealanders

Staff Writer

Nearly 3000 blind and partially-sighted New Zealanders could be suffering from undiagnosed sleep timing disorders according to a recent study from The University of Auckland.
The study, which was undertaken in conjunction with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB), was recently published in the journal PLosOne. It looked at self-reported sleep habits, sleep disruptions and medication use in people completely blind in one or both eyes; partially-sighted and fully-sighted.

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Stone Age Diet May Stop Ageing

Staff Writer

While some people may feel anxious about their body's condition as they age, US academician Professor Michael Rose has no qualms about it; claiming once individuals reach their 90s their bodies stop ageing.
According to Professor Rose, who is an expert in evolutionary biology, “if you are lucky enough to live that long, you stop ageing”.
To reach this point, he suggests adopting a 'stone age' diet when you hit 30 years of age.

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Forum told of seaweed’s bioproduct potential

Staff Writer

Commercial viability of high-value macroalgal (seaweed) bioproducts for human health is a step closer with a research collaboration between Flinders University biotechnologists and Australian Kelp Products.
Under the agreement, Flinders researchers will trial new processes developed at the University to create products for the food, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries.
These include marine sugars refined from seaweed that can have applications in anti-viral pharmaceuticals, functional cosmetics, and environmentally friendly agricultural pesticides and fertiliser.

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Flood Relief Funds Distributed – Pharmacists Supporting Pharmacists

Staff Writer

On behalf of the pharmacy profession of Australia, the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is pleased to announce that financial support for pharmacists affected by the floods, via the funds raised by the joint Pharmacists’ Support Service Inc and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia flood appeal, has now been distributed.  A total of 18 pharmacists were provided with financial assistance which was generously donated by their pharmacy colleagues from around Australia.

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Direct Distribution - the story continues to unfold

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: It was expected that other manufacturers would consider a direct distribution model after Pfizer had initiated a system that when developed, would appear to have most of the “bugs” knocked out of it.
The “who” and the “when” would then be the only unanswered questions.
i2P has covered a lot of the earlier discussion regarding this industry-changing decision, and in light of recent commentary, i2P has asked Mark Coleman to give us an update.
His comments appear below the media item in brown text published recently in Pharmacy News.

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Pipeline for August 2011

Pipeline Extras

articles by this author...

Pipeline brings you news "bytes" from everywhere.

A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.

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* Chef Pepin becomes the newest face of Navarro Discount Pharmacies

Navarro Discount Pharmacies has tapped a TV personality to serve as its celebrity spokesman.

Chef Pepin now is part of Navarro’s overall marketing campaign and expansion strategy, the Miami-based drug store chain said. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle to Navarro's customers through in-store demonstrations and other outreach efforts, Pepin will assist with the promotion of the company's extensive line of household appliances -- currently available in stores and soon to be available online.

The healthy-eating promotion is part of Navarro's Diabetes Club, which focuses on nutrition, exercise and prevention for adults and children, the retailer said. “Chef Pepin is an icon to Hispanics and Latinos everywhere,” said Steve Kaczynski, Navarro Discount Pharmacies CEO. “Together, we will educate Hispanics about adopting a healthier approach to food and how to cook healthy.”

* More nurse practitioner clinics to be opened

Australia’s first standalone nurse-practitioner-led clinic is scheduled to open at Brisbane Chermside Westfield shopping next month.
The clinic will be staffed by ten nurse practitioners and four midwives to deliver delivering standalone primary healthcare “with the support of a GP” says its operator, SmartClinics (link).
Patients at the clinic will have access to treatment for colds and flu, vaccinations, wound care, blood tests, repeat prescriptions and medical certificates, health checks, fracture assessment, pregnancy check-ups and more, the company says.

* Green roofs and walls are growing up

Environmental roof and wall installations are in vogue across the country for their touted efficiencies and cosmetic attractiveness. Architects, engineers, landscape gardeners, horticulturalists and even ecologists are teaming up to advance the base technology in Australia.

* New research exposes alcohol industry public relations tactics

A new study has revealed how the alcohol industry is using its Drinkwise organisation to create an impression of social responsibility while promoting measures for which there is little evidence of impact and are unlikely to hurt profits.

A research team from Deakin University’s School of Psychology examined submissions to the Australian National Preventative Health Taskforce (NPHT) to determine which organisations or individuals discussed positive relationships or work by Drinkwise. They found that all the submissions mentioning Drinkwise were submitted by the alcohol industry or its affiliates as evidence of their social responsibility or in recommending actions that are likely to benefit their bottom line.

* The next generation of stores

The retail sector in Australia continues to reverberate with profit downgrades and restructuring including DJ's and Solomon Lew's Premier Retail Group last week.
However, the steps being taken by all major retailers send a clear message that things are changing for the better. Retailers are shaking out poor performing stores and categories and embracing online as another part of their offering.Almost all key department stores in the world use online as a time saving service for their store shoppers. Shoppers can order online and collect in-store to save time. Or use the online store as an extended home delivery or gift giving service.

* Why do people take part in clinical trials?

By Geoff Bird Producer, Radio 5 live Cancer Trials

Tamoxifen, the breast cancer drug, was first trialled at The Christie 40 years ago
Taking part in a clinical trial for a new cancer drug is not something to be done lightly.
Often the patients involved are at an advanced stage of their illness, and have already been through long and debilitating bouts of treatment. In some cases, the time left to them is short.
So why spend it returning time and again to hospital to be given drugs whose properties aren't yet fully understood - they're on trial after all - and potentially highly toxic?

* How a decade has changed the world of pharmacy

It's official: your workload shot up 70 per cent in the past decade. In actual fact, it's probably more than that, with MURs, enhanced services and the endless reams of paperwork that plague pharmacists' daily lives. The 70 per cent figure is just how much the annual number of scripts dispensed in England has gone up since 2000.
It's a shocking rise, and just one of the facts that will startle and amaze (perhaps I'm getting a little carried away) in the latest 10-year review of prescription costs from the NHS, published on Wednesday (July 27).


Last Month:

Testosterone and brain function link

It is already known that testosterone plays an important role in cardiovascular health as well as its function as the male sex hormone. Now Australian researchers are testing the links between testosterone and brain function in women.
Researchers believe it could unlock the secrets of treating dementia and even improve the libido of people on anti-depressants.
But despite this, they say Australian pharmaceutical regulators have set the bar too high for testosterone therapy.

Robotic aged care still on the cards

New Zealand nursing homes are considering using robots to perform routine tasks such as dispensing pills, serving meals and helping residents seek assistance as the ongoing aged care workforce crisis comes to a head.

In a study of attitudes to “assistive technologies” among nursing home staff and residents, New Zealand primary care researchers found that robots would be welcomed if they could perform tasks that would result in allowing staff to spend more time with residents.

Don’t work yourself into the ground

While employment in our later years can have positive impacts on self-esteem and overall health, we should not have to work until we drop.
A UK study, issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found the last 20 years have seen a significant increase in the number of over-50s and people over retirement age in employment.
Analysis showed the job market has changed significantly since 1992. About 57% of people aged between 50 and 64 were employed in April 1992, but this rose to 65% by December last year.
This is said to be a significant increase for retirement age workers in the UK, who now make up a bigger share of the total working population.

Sensing promise in seniors’ health

A small pilot study of wireless mobile sensors used by a group of retirees suggests the technology may be useful in detecting meaningful changes in seniors' health, researchers at Dartmouth College in Connecticut say.

Eight elderly residents in a continuing care community, whose average age was 85, wore the waist-mounted, two-inch sensors for 10 days while the devices continuously measured such factors as time spent walking, sitting, standing and speaking with other people.

“These everyday behaviours often reflect physical and psychological health and potentially predict health problems, like depression or dementia,” the study author, Dr Ethan Berke says.

Twitter Yields Useful Public Health, Flu Information

Twitter allows millions of social media fans to comment in 140 characters or less on just about anything: an actor's outlandish behavior, an earthquake's tragic toll or the great taste of a grilled cheese sandwich. But by sifting through this busy flood of banter, is it possible to also track important public health trends? Two Johns Hopkins University computer scientists would respond with a one-word tweet: "Yes!"

Toughbook H2 Most Rugged Tablet Yet

Taking the ruggedized tablet concept to a new level, Panasonic released the Toughbook H2, arguably the hardiest tablet computer available to the healthcare market. Hardened to “military-grade" ruggedness, the H2, which has a variant specifically designed for the healthcare sector, has a magnesium alloy casing coated with an anti-scratch surface. It can survive a 6-foot drop on concrete, temperatures from -20 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and exposure to dust and sprayed water. (Full immersion is not mentioned on the spec sheet.)

Why Google Health’s Failure Is Good News

Google officially shuttered its stumbling Google Health personal health record (PHR) service on Friday, marking an ignominious end to an ambitious project to make health and medical data storable and searchable for vast numbers of consumers.

“With a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would," wrote senior product manager Aaron Brown and Bill Weihl, head of green energy for Google, in a blog post. (Google is also shutting down its PowerMeter smart-grid service.) “There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people."

Dawn of a new profession

The role of the case manager in Australia is poised to undergo the biggest evolutionary change in its fifteen year history as it agrees its first process of formal case manager certification.  

At the 14th Case Management Society of Australia’s (CMSA) national conference next month, members will hear for the first time, details of a certification scheme which aims to provide increased structure and professionalism for the rapidly growing healthcare role

South Australians continue to migrate to eastern states

Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales were the top three interstate migration destinations for South Australians, according to the June edition ofSA Stats (cat. no. 1345.4) released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

More residents are moving from South Australia interstate than are arriving, with a net loss of 3,000 people between June 2009 and June 2010. The highest number of people leaving South Australia were in the 25-29 year age group, with a net loss of 700, followed by the 20-24 year age group with a net loss of 500.



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