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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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From this page you can share PSA Media Releases forJuly 2010 to a social bookmarking site or email a link to the page.
Social Web

PSA Media Releases forJuly 2010

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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (02)62834782      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or on mobile phone 0419 260 827.

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29 July 2010

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has established a dedicated area on its website for Early Career Pharmacists.

The website provides an avenue for ECPs to monitor the progress of the PSA’s ECP Working Group projects, submissions and activities. It also provides a link to the ECP Facebook page.

Chair of the ECP Working Group, Justin Lee, said the projects section of the site contains the results of the recent ECP survey that was conducted earlier in the year.

“The ECP Working Group is currently considering larger-scale and longer-term projects in response to the results of the ECP survey,” Mr Lee said.

“Once these projects are commissioned by the working group, they will be added to the website.

“With this ongoing information constantly being added to the site it will prove an invaluable resource for Early Career Pharmacists.”

The ECP Working Group was established last year to support pharmacists in the early stages of their career and represents students, interns and registered pharmacists with up to 10 years of experience.

The objectives of the Working Group include identifying the needs of early career pharmacists in relation to professional development, practice support and advocacy, and then to advise the PSA on how to address these needs.

“The new area on the website is a method by which we are letting ECPs know of the work we are undertaking and the results we are achieving,” Mr Lee said.

“The ECP Working group is a very active and forward thinking and this site is a way of developing two-way communication between the group and pharmacists.

‘I envisage new ideas to result from this interaction, as well as the further development of exiting projects and programs.”

The new site is available at http://www.psa.org.au/ecp


29 July 2010

Early Bird Registrations for PAC10 close today so there is still time to get a special deal and take advantage of the wide range of sessions and activities available.

One area of particular interest is the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development for pharmacists under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which has raised many issues and a question often asked is, “How is this going to work for me?”

To help answer this question, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Pharmacy Australia Congress this year is holding a session dedicated to the subject.

Titled Mandatory CPD: Making it Work for You! the session on Friday, October 29 from 11am-12.30 is an outcomes-focused workshop which will guide pharmacists through:

· Understanding life-long learning in the context of career development and the pharmacist’s professional role in delivering health services.

· Comparing their own professional capabilities and work practices with existing standards and guidelines.

· Developing a plan of action for addressing professional development and learning needs.

· Applying learning to extend or advance professional practice.

Chair of the PAC10 organising committee, Alistair Lloyd, said the special session was developed in response to questions from pharmacists as to how to make the most of the new system.

“Pharmacists realise that their working environment has changed significantly under the NRAS and want to make the best use of the mandatory CPD system which is now in place,” Mr Lloyd said.

“Attending the Mandatory CPD: Making it Work for You! session goes a long way to helping answer that question.

“No matter what a pharmacist’s area of practice, where they are in their career, or what they wish to achieve, pharmacists will leave this workshop well-equipped to meet the Pharmacy Board registration standard on CPD, and in a manner that will add value to their everyday practice.

“Attendance can help start the CPD ball rolling for pharmacists by earning them six Group 2 CPD credits.”

Being held in Melbourne from 28-31 October this year, delegates to PAC10 can also earn Continuing Professional Development credits which are mandatory under the NRAS.

To register or for more details visit www.pac10.com.au.

23 July 2010

Just two weeks into its national walk-a-thon, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia staff have walked the equivalent of the distance from the Society’s National Office in Canberra to Hobart and have turned around and are heading back north.

The aim of the walk-a-thon is for PSA staff across the country to see how many times they can walk the distance around Australia before the Society’s annual Pharmacy Australia Congress in October.

A personal goal for each participant is to see how many times they can walk from their home location to Melbourne, where PAC10 is being held from 28-31 October.

Participants and observers are being kept up to date on progress of the walk-a-thon through PSA’s Facebook page. After last week’s first post about the walk-a-thon, a number of Facebook followers joined the health initiative and new participants are welcome at any time.

This week, the staff have walked a staggering 776.48km.

In the Facebook update narrative, which is accompanied by a progress map, followers are told, “We had a slight hiccup along the way when we had to leave our fruit at the fruit fly checkpoint at NSW and Victoria border. We safely made it to the PSA Vic Branch where Bill and the staff provided us with a much needed cup of tea.

“We visited the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to check that arrangements for PAC10 were coming along; which they are. After a bumpy ride across the bite we arrived in Tasmania, albeit slightly green from sea sickness.”

The walk-a-thon is based on the Department of Health and Ageing’s Measure Up program with participants trying to meet the department’s guide of a healthy lifestyle recommendation of a minimum of 10,000 steps (or about 8km) a day.

The results of the walkathon will be announced at PAC10. The PSA walk-a-thon began on Monday 12 July and finishes on Friday 15 October. You can follow the staff’s progress on Facebook

23 July 2010


Next week marks a number of important milestones for pharmacists planning to attend, or participate in, the Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC) in Melbourne during October.

Those planning to attend PAC10 have only until next Thursday, July 29, to save up to $250 on their registration fees through the PSA Early Bird Price offers.

Under the offers, delegates can pay a fee which represents substantial discounts on the $850 standard registration fee.

Due to the Spring Racing Carnival being held the same weekend as PAC10, some of the accommodation reservations made for PAC delegates must be released back to a number of hotels at the end of next week. To ensure delegates receive their hotel of choice it is recommended that hotel bookings be finalised by July 30.

Another milestone next week is the closing of submissions of poster abstracts for presentation at PAC10. This is the second year PAC has featured posters as part of the pre-eminent pharmacy event and follows the overwhelming success of the poster presentations last year.

The Congress Organising Committee is keen to receive submissions from practitioners who wish to share their own work without necessarily having undertaken structured research.

To ensure maximum exposure of poster submissions, special poster presentations sessions have been set aside during the middle of the day so delegates can be present without it limiting their attendance at other Congress sessions and events.

PAC10 is being held in Melbourne from 28-31 October this year and will feature a range of pharmacy and business specialist speakers, workshops and social functions including the Welcome Reception being held on Thursday 28 October.

The major trade exhibition as well as other activities will ensure there is something to interest and educate all delegates.

PAC10 delegates can also earn up to 35 Continuing Professional Development credits which are mandatory under the national Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals which came into effect on 1 July.

To makes sure you don’t miss out on the Early Bird Price offers register now at the PAC10 website at www.pac10.com.au.


21 July 2010


The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which came into effect on July 1, 2010, requires pharmacists across Australia to complete continuing professional development (CPD) which is relevant to their scope of practice.

Under the NRAS, the initial requirement for CPD credits is 20 credits for the period ending 30 September 2011, increasing 12-monthly to 40 credits for the period ending 30 September 2013.

An ideal way for pharmacists to earn CPD credit points is through attendance at the Pharmacy Australia Congress in Melbourne form October 28-31.

During the congress (Thursday to Sunday), delegates have the opportunity to earn up to 35 CPD credits. These can be earned through the following:

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Military Pharmacy Special Interest Group 6 Group 1 CPD credits

Pharmacy in Health Forum (open session) 3 Group 1 CPD credits

Pharmacy in Health Workshop 6 Group 2 CPD credits

Pharmacy Practice in Government 3 Group 1 CPD credits

Mandatory CPD – Making it Work for You 6 Group 2 CPD credits

AACP Accredited Pharmacist Forum 12 Group 2 CPD credits

Friday, 29 October 2010

Opening Plenary Session 1 Group 1 CPD credits

Concurrent Sessions: Morning 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Concurrent Sessions: Afternoon 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

PSOTY 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Plenary Session: Practicing Professionally 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

in a Commercial Environment

Concurrent Sessions: Morning 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Plenary Session: Pharmacists as 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits


Concurrent Sessions: Afternoon 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Motivational Interviewing Workshop 6 Group 2 CPD credits

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Breakfast: Marketing for Pharmacists 0.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Concurrent Sessions: Morning 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits

Plenary Session 2 Group 1 CPD credits

Concurrent Sessions: Afternoon 1.5 Group 1 CPD credits or

3 Group 2 CPD credits

Motivational Interviewing Workshop 6 Group 2 CPD credits

For details of sessions or to register visit the PAC website at www.pac10.com.au.


16 July 2010


Pharmacy has welcomed the representation of the profession on the Australian Government’s Indigenous Allied Health Australia Incorporated (IAHA), a peak national body established to improve the health of indigenous Australians.

The IAHA has been launched by the Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Service Delivery, Hon Warren Snowdon, and will represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health professionals and students.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates Trangie pharmacist Faye McMillan on her appointment as the pharmacy representative on the IAHA Board of Directors.

Chair of the PSA’s Rural Special Interest Group, Karalyn Huxhagen, said the IAHA would bring together for the first time indigenous allied health professionals such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists and optometrists, and students in these professions, from around the country.

“Over the many years of the Rural Pharmacy program there has been a concerted effort to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to choose pharmacy as a career,” Ms Huxhagen said.

“However, there have been many barriers to achieving these goals and pharmacy has worked very hard to overcome them.

“But many issues were out of the scope of what pharmacy organisations alone could rectify so PSA welcomes the opportunity to work with the Indigenous Allied Health Australia Incorporated partnership on achieving the goals of the National Indigenous Health Workforce Training Package.”

Ms Huxhagen said the barriers were not specific to pharmacy so the opportunity to address the overall issues of education of indigenous health professionals was a very positive and welcome step.

“PSA is also very pleased that non–indigenous health professionals are being provided with culturally appropriate education and training to enable them to work in indigenous communities,” Ms Huxhagen said.

16 July 2010

A central aim of Australia's National Medicines Policy is the quality use of medicines which aims to ensure that all medicines are used appropriately, safely and effectively by consumers.

The pharmacist, as an important and well-placed member of the health-care team, has a pivotal role in promoting health and wellness in the community, particularly through the quality use of medicines.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Practice Support Unit is committed to developing health promotion presentations as an easy-to-use tool for community pharmacists wishing to run local information sessions.

These sessions are aimed at ensuring the quality use of medicines and optimal health outcomes for consumers.

A number of specially designed presentations are now available on the PSA website for pharmacists to download and use in their practice environments. Reviewing the downloads available will afford one CPD point per hour.

The presentations cover a range of topics including:

* Asthma: managing your child's medicines

* Dose administration aids

* Home medicines review

* Head lice

* Weight management

Each presentation pack includes a ready-made PowerPoint presentation as well as a presenter guide with notes and a participant handout (both in Adobe Acrobat.pdf file format).

More presentations will be available in the coming months.

The health promotion presentations are a free resource for PSA members. They can be accessed from the Nationally-Developed Materials link in the Professional Development Materials section of the PSA members-only website.


15 July 2010

The passing today of Judith Liauw, PSA member and President of the Tasmanian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, is a loss that will be felt by the profession throughout Australia, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said this afternoon.

Ms Liauw was a community pharmacist who had been director and manager of Westside Pharmacy, Ulverstone, Tasmania since 1985.

She was President of the Tasmanian Branch, as well as a National Councillor, of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and held other positions including the Chair of the Guild’s Women and Young Pharmacists Committee.

She was also a Member of the Pharmacy Board Tasmania and the Chair of the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy from July 2008. Her contribution to the AACP was a very important part of helping to progress the profession and her efforts are greatly appreciated.

Ms Liauw also held the position of Chair of the Pharmacy Board of Tasmania Competency Committee, and was the only pharmacist on the 13-person External Resource Group for the Department of Health and Ageing’s National Primary Health Care Strategy.

Mr Plunkett said Ms Liauw was an untiring advocate for the pharmacy profession both in Tasmania and nationally.

“During her Guild presidency in Tasmania, the PSA and the Guild worked closely and constructively for the profession and Judy was always very supportive of PSA programs,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Throughout her years of practice in Tasmania, Judy was unstinting in supporting and promoting rural pharmacy as well as doing everything she could to help early career pharmacists become established.

“On top of her work for the profession broadly, Judy was well known to her customers for her commitment and dedication as a community pharmacist who represented the very best that the profession has to offer.

“Her death is a sad loss to the profession.

“On behalf of the PSA, its Board and all its members I extend to Judy’s family our condolences and our best wishes during this difficult time.”

12 July 2010

Pharmacists across Australia will today begin receiving the new Practice Improvement Training Program (PITP) kits which aim to help pharmacists train their staff in the supply of non-prescription medicines and help ensure pharmacies achieve quality use of medicines and optimal health outcomes.

The PITP encourages pharmacists to embrace their leadership role by equipping them to be trainers in their pharmacy. The program also enables pharmacists to be positive role models and meet professional obligations through evaluating and improving their own performance in the provision of non-prescription medicines.

The PITP includes a resource kit with a variety of training materials to help pharmacists and pharmacy staff. There are six training modules, each about 30 minutes long, to be delivered by a pharmacist. As the PITP is a flexible program, these modules can be delivered in any order in a format that suits the pharmacy.

The training modules will help pharmacists maintain QCCP accreditation, which requires three hours per year of refresher training for all staff who supply or assist with supplying Pharmacy Medicines and Pharmacist Only Medicines.

National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said the program was tailored so that each pharmacy’s different approach to the delivery of PITP could be accommodated.

 “This invaluable program has also been designed to suit the varying range of experience among staff,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Pharmacies can use the training as an induction tool for new staff, or they could present to groups with a skill mix for more experienced members to guide others in their learning,”

Presentation of the PITP training to pharmacy assistants is recognised under PSA’s Continuing Professional Development and Practice Improvement Program for four points an hour of presentation (for the first presentation of all six modules only if multiple presentations are to be held).

Presenting pharmacists need to complete and return their evaluation form, along with the evaluation forms of the attending pharmacy assistants, to ensure points are included on their record in the PSA database.

The PITP has been developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia with the support of the Pharmacy Guild and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

9 July 2010

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia staff across the country are taking part in a health initiative to see how many times they can walk the distance around Australia before the Society’s annual Pharmacy Australia Congress in October.

An added interest is for individuals to calculate how many times they can walk from their home location to Melbourne, where PAC10 is being held from 28-31 October.

The walkathon initiative has been devised by PSA’s Social Club and aims to improve the health of staff while also raising awareness of the need for office-based workers to get more exercise.

Social Club organisers said it was appropriate for a health sector organisation to lead by example.

Staff are also being encouraged to weigh themselves and measure their waistlines so that total losses can be calculated at the end of the walkathon.

Based on the Department of Health and Ageing’s Measure Up program, participants will try to meet the department’s guide of a healthy lifestyle recommendation of a minimum of 10,000 steps (or about 8km) a day.

With Australia’s circumference being 25,760km, all PSA staff are being urged to take part and help circle the continent.

To assist in calculating the distance walked, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, has donated 50 pedometers for staff to wear as they strive to meet their goals.

GSK Marketing Manager ANZ- Expert Marketing, Rod Stosic, said it was heartening to see the initiative being embraced by PSA staff who clearly wanted to set an example while improving their health and meeting individual health goals.

“We are delighted to be part of this initiative and know that pedometers are important as many people are surprised at just how few steps they take during the normal course of their daily routine. Wearing a pedometer gives you an accurate measure and acts as a good motivator,” Mr Stosic said.

The results of the walkathon will be announced at PAC10, The PSA walkathon begins on Monday 12 July and finishes on Friday 15 October. You can follow the staff’s progress on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/pages/Pharmaceutical-Society-of-Australia/235688174116


7 July 2010

A highlight of the annual Pharmacy Australia Congress every year is the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy Accredited Pharmacists’ (AACP) Forum which attracts accredited and other interested pharmacists from across Australia for a day of educational and informative sessions.

At PAC10 this year, the AACP Accredited Pharmacists’ Forum is titled Clinical and Practical Skills for MMRs, Building your Portfolio on Thursday 28 October from 9.00am – 5.00pm and the day’s program includes a wide range of speakers with a mix of clinical presentations, therapeutic updates, clinical controversies and practice pointers.

Chief Executive Officer of the AACP, Grant Martin, said the AACP Forums continued to grow in popularity and support due to the high quality and relevance of the programs and the outstanding reputation of their speakers.

“The AACP strives to provide pharmacists with up-to-date programs consisting of information that they can take away and incorporate into their day to day practice,” he said.

“The AACP Forum at PAC10 will provide pharmacists with yet another stimulating day of clinical education in keeping with the high standards set by previous forums.”

Presenters include Professor Michael Woodward, Medical Director of Aged and Residential Care Services at Austin Health speaking on the subject of Insomnia in the Elderly.

Christine Culhane of the Victorian Psychotropic Drug Advisory Service will present on Medication Use for Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) and The Use of Chemical Restraint in Aged Care Facilities. This presentation will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Debbie Rigby, with a group of experts, including Christine Culhane, discussing How is BPSD managed in your Aged Care Facility?

These speakers will be joined by popular presenters Dr. Peter Tenni, speaking on the The Odium of Low Sodium and Dr. Geraldine Moses continuing her series of presentations on eye health with a talk entitled Ophthalmic Effects of Systemic Drugs/Systemic Effects of Ophthalmic Drugs.

Debra Rowett from the Drug and Therapeutics Information Service will conclude the day’s proceedings with an interactive presentation involving a review of current clinical controversies.

Being held in Melbourne from 28-31 October this year, delegates to PAC10 can also earn Continuing Professional Development credits which are mandatory under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals which came into effect on 1 July.

To register or for more details visit the PAC10 website at www.pac10.com.au.


1 July 2010


Plans by the Federal Opposition to boost mental health services are welcome and arguably overdue, but must not be funded at the expense of other health services and initiatives, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has revealed a Coalition Government would spend $1.5 billion to boost front-line mental health services. This would include 80 new mental care facilities, including 60 specially tailored to meet the demands of the younger population.

National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett said the boost was most welcome but it must not be achieved by slashing funding for other health programs.

“eHealth is the missing link in enabling genuine collaborative primary health-care teams to work effectively and improve the wellbeing of all Australians,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Pharmacists need to be better incorporated into any mental health policy given the dependence of most sufferers on compliance with their medication regimen and the role pharmacists can cost-effectively play in achieving that outcome.”

Mr Plunkett said the Opposition had said it would fund its mental health initiatives through cuts to the bureaucracy and by a range of other measures including scrapping any extra GP super clinics and scrapping aspects of eHealth, including the very important development of eHealth records.

“PSA is particularly concerned at any suggestion that the Opposition would remove funds from eHealth to fund its promises,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The eHealth area is of particular concern. eHealth has been a long time coming and its benefits have been clearly and thoroughly canvassed and identified.

“There is demonstrable evidence that eHealth records will go a long way to reducing hospitalisations and to improving the wellbeing of all Australians.”

Mr Plunkett said that this alone was reason enough not to cut programs or reduce funding for them.

“An added incentive for the Government is that improving the health of Australians and cutting hospitalisations presents cost savings over the short and long term,” Mr Plunkett said.

”Clearly the Opposition needs to rethink its strategy on this issue. The mental health initiative is very much needed, but to implement it at the expense of eHealth is a short-sighted approach which could adversely affect the long-term viability of Australia’s health-care system.”

1 July 2010

Incentive payments of $120,000 to doctors in cities to encourage them to move into rural areas came into effect today in an attempt to overcome the shortage of doctors in rural and remote areas.

However, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says such incentives must be extended to other health professionals, including pharmacists, to ensure that people in rural and remote areas have access to the full range of health services.

National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the $120,000 incentive payment to doctors was only one step in the process needed to bring equity and access to health services for people in rural and remote areas.

“The Government must extend the range of its incentive programs and tax concessions to other health professionals like pharmacists who are also critical to the health needs of rural populations,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Doctors cannot be expected to meet the needs of these people by themselves. They need the services of other allied health professionals to complement and support the work they do.

“At present, pharmacists are catered for through the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance which, while a very positive and effective program, falls short of the incentives being offered to doctors.

”As part of the health-care reform process, the Government has recognised the need for a collaborative and multidisciplinary health system but its rural incentive program seems at odds with this objective. Moreover, the Government is taking an approach which is not consistent with health reform to promote collaboration between health professionals.

“Attracting GPs to rural and remote areas is essential, but they also need pharmacists and other health professionals to deliver effective and sustainable primary health care services to populations in these areas.”

Mr Plunkett urged the Government to urgently review its policies and to offer more opportunities for other health professionals to move out of the cities and meet the demands of non-urban Australians.

“There is clearly a need to have doctors and pharmacists co-located in rural settings, and therefore the need to incentivise both professions where necessary, to ensure patients will receive optimal care and better health outcomes,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Offering a range of incentives to pharmacists and other health professionals will go a long way to easing the acute shortage of health services experienced by people in a number of rural and remote areas of Australia,” Mr Plunkett said.

health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

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