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Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

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
http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8863098/prescription-drug-warning

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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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From this page you can share PSA Media Releases August 2009 to a social bookmarking site or email a link to the page.
Social Web

PSA Media Releases August 2009

Peter Waterman

articles by this author...

Keeping you up to date with PSA activities.

Information made available from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia by Peter Waterman. Peter Waterman is the Public Affairs Manager for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. He may be contacted by telephone (02)62834782, or on mobile phone 0419 260 827

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27August 2009

STUDY HIGHLIGHTS EFFECTIVENESS OF HOME MEDICINES REVIEWS

A new study has shown Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) undertaken by accredited pharmacists and GPs have a significant impact in reducing the rate of hospital admissions from heart failure.

HMRs are Government-funded collaborative medicines reviews designed to prevent, detect and resolve medication-related problems.

The study titled The Effectiveness Of Collaborative Medicine Reviews In Delaying Time To Next Hospitalisation For Heart Failure Patients In The Practice Setting: Results Of A Cohort Study, published in Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association, found HMRs appeared to be effective in reducing hospitalisations among those at high risk, including the elderly.

“Unadjusted results showed a 37% reduction in rate of hospitalization for heart failure at any time. Adjusted results showed a 45% reduction amongst those that had received a home medicines review compared to the unexposed patients,” the report says.

“Conclusion: Medicines review in the practice setting is effective in delaying time to next hospitalisation for heart failure in those treated with heart failure medicines.”

President of the PSA Warwick Plunkett said the risk of misadventure from medication misadventure had risen significantly in the past 20 years.

“Adverse-medication events are conservatively estimated to account for more than 400,000 visits to general practitioners each year and about 140,000 hospital admissions across Australia a year, adding a huge cost burden to the health-care system,” Mr Plunkett said.

“In the United States, the Bootman study found a health-care cost of $1.50 for every $1 spent on medicines as a result of medication misadventure, of which at least half are avoidable. Given the similarities between the US and Australian systems, I don’t think those figures would be much different in Australia.”

Mr Plunkett said the study clearly demonstrated that HMRs were an effective and accessible way of reducing hospitalisations through medication misadventure.

“Patients, particularly the elderly or those in high-risk groups — patients taking five prescriptions or more — are encouraged to speak to their GP and pharmacist about an HMR. It is a critical investment in their own wellbeing.”

26 August 2009

PAC SESSION ON PATIENT SELF-MONITORING WITH WARFARIN THERAPY

Antithrombotic agents (anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs) are some of the most frequently prescribed medications in Australia and yet they are also often associated with adverse drug reactions.

It is common to see antithrombotics used in various combinations, and in the elderly, which further increases the risk of adverse events, a situation made even more pertinent to pharmacists with a number of new antithrombotic medications available in Australia. 

As part of the AACP program at this year’s Pharmacy Australia Congress, a session presented by Dr Luke Bereznicki will provide some context to the appropriate use of antithrombotic agents available including some background into thrombosis and its consequences, the rationale for pharmacotherapy, appropriate drug choice and the importance of clinical monitoring.

PAC’s theme this year is Securing Your Practice Advantage, and the Congress is being held at the Sydney Hilton from 15-18 October.

Dr Bereznicki’s presentation will look at the subject of patient self-monitoring (PSM) of warfarin therapy which has emerged as the gold standard of care for those willing and able to perform it.

Dr Bereznicki says the benefits of PSM have now been well established in several countries and include a greater proportion of time spent in the INR therapeutic range, a reduction in the number of haemorrhagic and thromboembolic events, reduced mortality, improved warfarin knowledge and improved quality of life.

He explains that portable INR monitors are readily available and are becoming less expensive and easier to use. Community pharmacists are well placed to promote and facilitate PSM for interested consumers, and provide support for those who are self-monitoring.  

Dr Bereznicki is currently a lecturer at the Tasmanian School of Pharmacy.

He is part of a pharmacy-practice research group, UMORE, and writes regularly for a range of pharmacy industry publications. He is also a practicing pharmacist and regularly works in retail pharmacy and performs medication reviews. Dr Bereznicki was the PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year in 2008.

PAC organisers advise that registrations for the Congress should be made as soon as possible as places at some sessions are limited.

21 August 2009

ROXON E-HEALTH COMMENTS WELCOMED BY PSA

Comments by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, committing to e-health reforms and electronic patient records have been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Addressing the ‘Health e Nation Conference’ in Canberra during the week, Ms Roxon said she wanted Australia’s future health system to be connected, secure and efficient.

“It is frustrating that in a sector where technology and research drive continual innovation in patient care, paper is still king. After a decade of doing our banking – and almost everything else – online, we’re still carrying our x-rays under our arm, a script to the pharmacy, and the hospital can’t send a discharge summary to the family GP,” Ms Roxon said.

The President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said pharmacists endorsed Ms Roxon’s comments and called on the Government to fast-track the implementation of e-health.

“The National E-Health Strategy has pointed to a 10-year implementation phase for the introduction of e-health in Australia which the PSA believes is just far too long and has the potential to endanger patient care,” Mr Plunkett said.

“We have to speed the process up so that reforms such as electronic prescriptions and electronic health records are available as soon as possible for the wellbeing of Australian consumers. There is little doubt that e-health initiatives will make our health-care system safer and more efficient and there is demonstrable proof that the technology is efficient and secure.

“The recommendation in the final report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission for the introduction of personal electronic health records by 2012 is a timetable than can and should be met. There is no reason for Australia to be holding back.”

Mr Plunkett said the implementation of projects such as Medicare and the GST, which included privacy provisions and major IT capability, showed that with Government commitment major undertakings could be introduced in as little as two years.

“There is no reason that e-health should be any different.”

The PSA also calls on the Government to introduce robust standards for e-health capability and processes which includes the inter-operability of commercial solutions in the market place.

“The development of these commercial solutions is getting ahead of Government.  It is important that the health professionals who will drive the system and the public who use the system have confidence and choice in it from the outset,” Mr Plunkett said.

Mr Plunkett said the PSA and its members would do everything possible to assist the Government in speeding up the process of implementation of e-health and its various components.

21 August 2009

PHARMACISTS’ ROLE IN MENTAL HEALTH HIGHLIGHTED

The Pharmacy Australia Congress this year will present a wide range of concurrent sessions covering subjects of clinical and professional interest for all pharmacists.

The four concurrent session themes this year are Advanced Clinical Practice, Professional Practice, Therapeutic Updates and Credentialed Programs.

PAC, the pre-eminent pharmacy event of the year, will be held at the Sydney Hilton from 15-18 October and will have as its primary theme Securing Your Practice Advantage.

In the Therapeutic Updates stream one particularly relevant session is Early Intervention in Mental Illness and the Role of the Pharmacist to be presented by Professor Ian Hickie.

Professor Hickie said that in the context of the recent development of collaborative care models of mental health treatment it was proposed that community-based pharmacists require specific training to intensify their capacity for work with customers to whom they are dispensing psychiatric medication and he would examine this issue in his presentation

Professor Hickie, the Executive Director of the Brain & Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney has been described by The Australian Financial Review as one of the top 10 cultural influences.

His appointments include CEO of beyond blue: the national depression initiative as well as serving as its Clinical Advisor. In 2003, he was appointed as the inaugural executive director of the flagship Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. In 2006, Professor Hickie received the Australian Honours Award of Member (AM) in the General Division; for services to medicine in the development of key mental health initiatives and general practice services in the public and non-government sectors. In 2007, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Australian National Council on Drugs and has led the BMRI as a founding member of the new National Youth Mental Health Foundation (‘headspace’). In 2007, Professor Hickie was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. His research, clinical and health services development work focuses on expansion of population-based mental health research and development of international mental health strategies. In July 2008 he was appointed to the Federal Health’s Minister’s new National Advisory Council on Mental Health. In May 2009 he became a member of the Common Approach to Assessment Referral and System Taskforce

His session promises to be one of the many highlights for delegates at this year’s PAC.

Full details of PAC can be found at www.pac2009.com.au

19 August 2009

WARWICK PLUNKETT RE-ELECTED AS PSA PRESIDENT

Warwick Plunkett was re-elected as the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia at a Board meeting held in Melbourne today.

The election sees Mr Plunkett, a former community pharmacist, serve a second term as the PSA President.

South Australian community pharmacist Grant Kardachi and Queensland academic pharmacist Lisa Nissen were elected Vice Presidents at the meeting.

Mr Plunkett said one of the major tasks for him in his new term was to lead the PSA as it entered into negotiations for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

“This agreement is of vital importance to the whole profession and this time the PSA has a seat at the negotiating table,” Mr Plunkett said.

“This gives the PSA the ability to press for a much greater focus on the provision of professional services and the development of services to help enhance the health-care system in this country.

“It also gives us the opportunity to secure for pharmacy a greater role in the multi-disciplinary model of health-care which is evolving in Australia.

“Clearly one focus will be to expand the role of pharmacists to include additional services such as prescribing.”

Mr Plunkett said another focus for his Presidency would be to continue the consolidation of the PSA following its unification process last year.

“The unification has resulted in a stronger, more cohesive PSA which is better able to represent its members across all spectrums of the pharmacy profession,” Mr Plunkett said.

“I look forward in the coming year to help position pharmacy for the future and to ensure the profession and the professionals within it are recognised as pivotal members of the primary health-care system.”

7 August 2009

PSA CALLS FOR ACCELERATED IMPLEMENTATION OF E-HEALTH

A suggestion that the implementation of e-health infrastructure across Australia be funded from the Health and Hospitals Fund has been supported by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Chairman of the Health and Hospitals Fund’s advisory board, Bill Ferris, was reported today as saying the country’s e-health ambitions could be funded form the remaining $1.8 billion in the Health and Hospitals Fund.

President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said it was essential that the introduction of an e-health system in Australia be fast-tracked.

“The PSA strongly supports an accelerated timetable for the implementation of e-health initiatives such as electronic prescribing and electronic health records and believes that the 10-year horizon envisaged by the National E-Health Strategy is far too long,” Mr Plunkett said.

“We know that e-health initiatives have the potential to make our health system safer and more efficient, we know that the technology works, we know that privacy can be protected, so what is holding Australia back?”

Mr Plunkett said the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed more than three years ago to a national approach to developing, implementing and operating systems for individual and health-care provider identifiers as part of accelerating work on electronic health records to improve the safety of patients and improve efficiency for health-care providers.

“However, while work on the individual identifiers is finally underway, we are yet to see any agreement from Health Ministers or COAG on the adoption of electronic health records,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Indeed, even if the recommendation in the final report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission for the introduction of personal electronic health records by 2012 is actually adopted, this would still be a full six years after COAG’s 2006 agreement.

“Discussions on national uniformity around health privacy have been underway between governments since at least 2000 and we still appear to be no closer to resolving jurisdictional differences.

“It is time to stop delaying and start acting.”

5 August 2009

PSA DISAPPOINTED AT CODEINE DECISION

The announcement by the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee today to implement major changes to the scheduling of medications containing codeine is disappointing and could place barriers in the way of legitimate consumers, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the rescheduling of many products containing codeine and reducing pack sizes could present more problems than it sought to address.

“The PSA fears that reducing the pack size will only result in those people who are determined to secure a supply of these products engaging in ‘pharmacy shopping’, that is buying packs at as many pharmacies as they can,” Mr Plunkett said.

“This defeats what the NDPSC hopes to achieve by limiting the pack size, and that is to stop these products being used for illicit purposes.

“The PSA fully supports the intent of stopping the illicit use and over use, but believes the NDPSC has opted for an approach which could be counter-productive and put pressure on pharmacists with inappropriate consumer demand for multiple sales of smaller packets by those abusing the product.”

Mr Plunkett said the PSA had presented a submission to the NDPSC in which it advocated the uniform scheduling of medications containing codeine.

“We submitted that standardising arrangements across all jurisdictions for all combination analgesics containing codeine including, but not limited to scheduling, pack sizes, storage requirements, supply and recording would be a major and productive step in containing the illicit use of these medications.

“Simply restricting pack sizes and access doesn’t seriously address the issue of abuse to any real degree.

“Making these delete large numbers of products S3 will also put significant pressure on pharmacists’ precious time and may well require a rethink of how they allocate their staff and other resources.

“The lesson for pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry is that when substance abuse or potential therapeutic misadventure is known to be likely, it is essential that such products are handled by appropriately trained support staff or pharmacists.

“The delivery of education and training on the therapeutic issues surrounding these codeine-containing products may have been a far more effective answer than the blunt restrictive response to the problem by the NDPSC.”

3 August 2009

LEADING AUSTRALIAN HEALTH EXPERT TO SPEAK AT PAC

One of Australia’s leading experts on the health-care system in this country will present what promises to be a thought-provoking session at the Pharmacy Australia Congress in Sydney.

John Menadue AO, currently a Board Director of the influential Centre for Policy Development, will address PAC delegates on the subject of “An Extended Role For Pharmacists In Prevention And Healthcare”.

This year’s PAC, to be held at the Sydney Hilton from 15-18 October, will focus on the theme of Securing Your Practice Advantage and Mr Menadue’s topic is especially timely given the range of studies and reports being undertaken and presented with a view to improving the health-care system in Australia.

Mr Menadue has had a distinguished career in the private sector and in the Public Service.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1985 for public service.

In 2003 he was awarded the Centenary Medal ‘for service to Australian society through public service leadership’. In 1997, he received the Japanese Imperial Award, The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Kun-itto Zuiho-sho).

Mr Menadue was Private Secretary to Gough Whitlam, Leader of the Opposition, from 1960-67, before moving into the private sector for seven years as General Manager, News Limited.

He was head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1974 to 1976 and worked for Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser. He was Australian Ambassador to Japan from 1976 to 1980. In 1980 he took up the position of Head, Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. In March 1983, he became Head of the Department of the Special Minister of State. He was appointed Head of the Department of Trade in December 1983.

He has chaired the NSW Health Council which reported to the NSW Minister for Health in March 2000 on changes to health services in NSW. He also chaired the SA Generational Health Review which reported to the SA Minister for Human Services in May 2003.

In October 1999, John Menadue published his autobiography Things You Learn Along the Way and there is no doubt his PAC presentation will show delegates a great deal they can learn along the way.

Full details of PAC can be found at www.pac2009.com.au


MEDIA CONTACT:

Warwick Plunkett 0412 304 45
Peter Waterman 0419 260 827

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