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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
- Issue 75: September 2008
- Issue 74: August 2008
- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

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Issue 64: September 2007



Welcome to the September 2007 edition of i2P - Information to Pharmacists. September also heralded many changes to the PBS reimbursement system, adding to continuing difficulties experienced by pharmacy managers. The latter due to the government stifling of their planning abilities through poor system functioning e.g. the inability to reconcile payments with claims through PBS Online as one instance. It always seems that any improvement to a pharmacy system is more directed towards reducing government workload (and cost) plus all the attendant dramas, without a fair recompense for pharmacist work involvement. The strategy has the appearance of keeping pharmacists distracted with mountains of bureaucratic pinpricking, and professional attention diverted away from patient priorities and needs.

Your Say

Your Say is the column reserved for subscriber (or other source) comment relating to i2P articles, or reportage or general comment on the profession and industry at large. All posts must be identified, but the editor will suppress name and contact details if there is a sensitive reason.

PSA Press Releases

PSA News - the latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists. This month:  * Lloyd Sansom honoured for life works  * Ground-breaking researcher  * Young and committed  * Rosemary wins student award  * Demonstrate the Value of Pharmacy  * Let an expert help you with your medicines  * PSC launches herpes campaign

National Prescribing Service Press Releases

The National Prescribing Service (NPS)is a valued independent resource for good and unbiased prescribing information and education. Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies Australia is blessed to have such a resource. Pharmacists are moving closer to a prescribing role within the health system and it is appropriate that i2P promote the message of the NPS. This Month: * NPS to manage Adverse Medicines Line * Lifestyle changes and post-fracture treatment can improve osteoporosis outcomes     * Training for Aboriginal Health Workers in asthma, hypertension and diabetes * Up-skilling the QUM connection

Australian Self Medication Industry Press Releases

For over 30 years, the Australian Self-Medication Industry has represented companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of non-prescription consumer healthcare products and related firms. ASMI is the peak industry body for the Australian self-care industry including consumer healthcare products ranging from over-the-counter medicines (OTC) to complementary medicines.  Also represented by ASMI are companies providing manufacturers with services, such as advertising, public relations, regulatory consultancy, legal advice and industry statistics. Topics for this month:   * Side effects of medicines explained in new consumer campaign   * Hope for older Australians as new study establishes the value of calcium and Vitamin D in preventing osteoporosis

Selected Pharmacy Publications to Note

This section of i2P is designed to be an experimental section to introduce other publications that have similarities to i2P, but are based in other countries. The globalisation of Australian pharmacy started around the year 2000. It has had minimal impact up to 2004, but that is now changing and i2P must reflect that change. There are many aspects of globalisation not yet fully understood, but I think that to most of us, globalisation means that we must be quicker on our feet and have pharmacy practices with sufficient critical mass to withstand global pressures. Depending on the model of pharmacy chosen, and its location, global pressures will vary. As pharmacists we must begin to open up our minds to new ideas and innovative ways of delivering pharmacy practice.

Find it Here

As part of our information service, i2P informs on Conferences, Workshops and Seminars or press releases that may be of interest to pharmacists. PSA event information will be found here, but PSA news will continue to be published separately in the section reserved for PSA press releases. Pharmacy organisations may submit material for publication, preferably in digital format (Word document). This month: * Patient Safety & Quality Improvement - Embedding a Culture of Safety in our Hospitals & Health Organisations Two Day Conference: 4 & 5 December 2007 - Venue: Sydney * The Pharmacy 2007 Conference - organised by the Friendly Societies, this conference has gone from strength to strength each year to become the premier pharmacy management conference. Don't be disappointed - book now to ensure your reservation in Hobart this year. * Mike Lazarow Croatia Tour * Dynasties of China Tour - organised by Mike Lazarow in conjunction with the   ACPP&M * FIP Pharmaceutuical Sciences World Congress and the 67th Annual Congress (Beijing, China)

Health News from Around the World

This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy. Readers are encouraged to comment on any news item by contacting the editor through the "Contact Us" panel located on the home page. News items and topics displayed range from drug-related news, Information Technology, medical communications, medical research breakthroughs, management and marketing issues. Because this news area is dynamic and changes daily, readers should immediately bookmark any links that they find interesting. Response to any item will be published through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.


Pharma-Goss  With Rollo Manning  * REFLECTIONS FROM THE Pharmacy Australia Congress 2007 – Melbourne       + Old friends meet up       + The Ageless John Bell       + Concentrate on the professional side of the business       + The missing data from non-PBS items below the copayment level       + There is money in the PBS - use it wisely.  * OTHER BITS AND PIECES      + Cannabis control      + How good is the job being done?

Around the Traps

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column. This month: * Con Berbatis to be Keynote Speaker at NMA Conference * Another robotic arrival * HIP Builds on Success

Practice Improvements Need to be Considered Decisions

With the dramatic and ongoing changes that are occurring within the fabric of a community pharmacy practice, there is a need to change some of the methods involving the delivery of pharmacy services. Given that all available market research points to an expanding senior (50+ years) segment of the Australian population (peaking at 30 percent by 2047), prescription volumes are set to dramatically expand. Further, many of these services will have to be delivered in different formats and environments. For example, the decision by government to improve funding to carers and not invest in nursing home beds, indicates that Dose Administration Aids (DAA’s) will begin to become a mainstream service for all patients, whether they are located in nursing homes, hostels or private homes. The other consideration here is that many patients will require a pharmacy service within their private home rather than within a pharmacy setting, and this opens up a range of logistical problems for the physical delivery of medicines, the counselling support and the provision of continuing backup information.

Community Pharmacy Practice: 4. Demonstrating Benefits of Pharmacy Non-Prescription Medicines

Editor : The demonstration of the population benefits of pharmacy non-prescription medicines is critical to the future of pharmacy practice in Australia. Con Berbatis outlines the mystery shopper method of assessing medicines in practice and other options . He concludes that Australia needs a multi-pronged approach to demonstrate the population benefits and safety of pharmacy non-prescription medicines in practice. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker in the annual meeting of the US Nonprescription Medicines Academy (NMA) in Cincinnati Ohio in October 2007 to address these matters

The Funding of DAA's

Editor’s Note: Klaus Petrulis is the CEO of Persocare, a company involved in the supply of Dose Administration Aids (DAA’s) for pharmacist packaging of patient medicines for a variety of settings. PersoCare has a point of difference in their alliance with a system called Rx Right, a system for use in aged care facilities. Customised software enables pharmacies to take advantage of the opportunities presented by “The Better Community Health Initiative”. In a recent press release from the Department of Health and Ageing on the 20th August 2007 it was stated that... "Older patients and people taking multiple medications are set to benefit from better packaging of their medicines by pharmacists. The Commonwealth Government has provided up to $72.9 million to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia through the Fourth Pharmacy Agreement for the Dose Administration Aids program. The program provides support to community pharmacists to help patients manage their medication by packaging it into individual doses that are arranged according to the dose schedule throughout the day. The packaging can be either a unit-dose pack (one single type of medication per compartment) or a multi-dose pack (different types of medication per compartment). Participation in the program will be open to all community pharmacies nationally. Information and registration forms will be available on the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s web site during September 2007. All community pharmacies should also receive the kit in the mail during September and October. Pharmacies can be eligible for payments totalling up to $13,700 over the course of the program (to the end of the Fourth Agreement in June 2010). To be eligible for payment, pharmacies need to register with the Department of Health and Ageing and provide complete and timely data during the course of the program."

Weight Loss in the Pharmacy

Being a nutritionist and having worked closely with parents, teachers and schools, I am well aware of the problems associated with the growing obesity epidemic, especially among children. Consequently, my ears pricked up and I began to utter a quiet "thank goodness" a while back when a television commercial popped onto my screen which began discussing the growing problem of childhood obesity and the importance of good nutrition. My temporary relief however quickly turned to concern when instead of advising people seek advice from their doctor or dietitian, the commercial ended by advising us all to discuss this issue with our doctor or pharmacist.

Medication Review Payments: the Ridiculous Truth.

Question: Why is it that we have two different payment structures for the two forms of medication reviews? Is it just me, or does this seem to be a ridiculous state of affairs? At the moment HMR’s are paid at $180 only to pharmacies; however RMMR’s are paid at only $130 but may be made directly to pharmacists. This payment differentiation seems to say that pharmacists should perform less work when reviewing a nursing home resident’s medications compared to a community resident. It could therefore follow that we’re saying that residents of nursing homes are entitled to a lesser standard of care when it comes to medication reviews!

Consignment Stock? Selling Stock You Donít Own? Itís Not New.

It has been reported on a number of occasions recently that one reason why the CHS/DHL/Alphapharm consortium is not a legitimate CSO Distributor is that they don’t own the stock they are selling.  In the landscape that is pharmacy wholesaling today, this is not a major issue but it is important this notion be rebutted just in case anybody gives it credence because it is not.

Impacts, Not Outputs

From the inside looking out. There is a certain measure of logic in the current trend for entities, big and small, to progressively look introspectively to their own unique cultures before focussing on the external marketplace. However, the answer to achieving optimum market penetration, revenue, margins, profits and customer satisfaction may not necessarily lie with the internal and external forces alone. The Australian agriculture sector presents a significant and intriguing case study which casts light on the reality of numerous other industry and commerce groupings.

Who Are We?

Support sometimes comes when you least expect it and from a surprising source. I have, for many years, argued that community pharmacy suffers from a type of professional schizophrenia with very little response from my colleagues. I was therefore delighted when, in the July newsletter of our state Pharmaceutical Council, its president (Lenette Mullen) related the following story. "At a recent budget briefing I was talking with a person involved in waste management. He described his business as a service to industry. When I said I was with Pharmacy, part of the health sector, he looked quizzically at me and said ‘surely you’re retailing?”. The article then commented that: “While we may rate very highly in the trust stakes, perhaps we don’t rate so well in the area of professional respect.”

So, What Does the Future Hold?

The ubiquitous Mrs Wright dragged me off to inspect a new (actually a re-built) supermarket and small arcade in the belief it was interesting….. She was right. Interesting because in this sparkling complex that housed a member of the Colesworth mob. There was just a bread shop, florist, food outlet and surprise, surprise a pharmacy. Not just any pharmacy mind you, but one of the big banner groups.

Yippee! - A Win for the Common Sense!

On June 25, 2007 – just after the emergency intervention following the “Children and Sacred Report” release, I wrote an article entitled How Could e-Health Help in the Northern Territory.When I wrote the article I e-mailed it to relevant people in the appropriate branch of the Department of Health and Ageing. While not wanting to take credit for stating the ‘bloomin’ obvious’, it is wonderful to see something is actually happening.

The Value of Patency, Contingent or Real

This writer has previously discussed the relationship between inventor and investor, as well as the balance between perceived value in having a provisional patent as part of the contingent value of a business plan that has been prepared for the purpose of attracting development funds. This month I’d like to extend the theme somewhat, for those of you with an interest in IP.

Failure of a Naltrexone Implant Reported From Russia

Editor's Note:Dr Byrne (and his associates) advocate for better policies which are proven to reduce risks for drug users and the general community under a framework in parallel with Australia's official policy of harm minimization. The findings of the New South Wales Drug Summit recommend better access to methadone, detoxification and other dependency treatments. It also advised investigating alternative services such as supervised injecting centres, leading to the opening of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in 2001. Dr Andrew Byrne has been involved in opioid treatments from a primary care background for 20 years at the same site in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney. He is recognised worldwide as a specialist in the addiction field and was involved in the seminal stages of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He received the Dole-Nyswander award from the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence in April 2006 This month, Dr Byrne comments on the failure of the use of a naltrexone implant in a Russian setting.

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