Publication Date 01/06/2011         Volume. 3 No. 5   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Well here we are in June, nearly the end of the financial year and the paperwork toil that comes with it.
Accompanied by some cold weather that I am finding it difficult to take.
This month we present with a range of very interesting articles, and what follows is a brief summary.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for June2011

Newsflash Updates

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

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Pipeline

Pipeline for June 2011

Pipeline Extras

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

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Feature Contribution

Priceline & Angus & Robertson - Lessons to be learned?

Neil Retallick

Priceline’s fixed price drugs list echoes that of Angus & Robertson's imitation of online booksellers. Before more follow, consider the lessons to be learned. The demise of the Angus & Robertson and Borders retail brands from the book market is a wake-up call for all community pharmacists who are thinking they need to match online pricing for drugs. The introduction by Priceline of its $5.99 drug list might have been taken from the Angus & Robertson play book.

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Pharma-Goss: Remote Pharmacy Practice Needs Change

Rollo Manning

Pharmacy practice in remote towns in Australia needs to be evaluated against a set of criteria that will ensure consumers a long term assurance of a top quality service. Technology should be used to create a new service standard that will not have to rely on the goodwill, generosity or entrepreneurship of individual pharmacists for years to come.

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An Automated Satellite Chain Dispensing Model

Peter Sayers

The following information appeared in Drug Topics published on 15 May 2011.
It is not too difficult to see that this is one potential model of pharmacy for the immediate future.
Envisage, for example, a central pharmacy on the scale of the model illustrated servicing a chain of satelite pharmacies within, say, a 45 minute drive.
Prescriptions transmitted electronically from each satelite pharmacy (or directly from a GP) could be dispensed by the central pharmacy, saving on inventory costs, labour (in the satelites) and error costs.
Return delivery could be direct to the patient or to a satelite pharmacy.

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Pharmacy Organisations and Moving Forward

Dr John Dunlop (PGDipPharm, MPharm, DPharm(Auck), FACPP, FNZCP, FPSNZ, MCAPA)

About eighty percent of New Zealand pharmacists work in community pharmacy. We have approximately 3,000 pharmacists on the register which translates to about 2,400 pharmacists working full or part time in the community or retail pharmacy setting. I suspect the same proportions apply to Australia. Of the pharmacists working in retail we have approximately 900 pharmacies here and an unknown number of owners, but it is reasonable to assume that operating under laws that permit pharmacists to own >51% of the shares of up to 5 pharmacies, that there are considerably fewer than 900 owners. A reasonable guess might suggest a number of 500 owners.

Comments: 2

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Here we are! And the money goes to….?

Pat Gallagher

The Australian health informatics or e-health development situation is perhaps now at a point of soaring to a bright new world, or not.
Depending on how well ‘we’ spend, between now and June 2012, the $400 million allocated to the Wave 1 and Wave 2 PCEHR development and demonstration sites now under way.
If you are not across what Wave 1 and Wave 2 refer to - then please contact the saintly editor and we will point you to the information.
If you are not across PCEHR then you may as well stop reading now
In this context I was somewhat rocked by a report that came out of the UK on 18 May 2011.
It is a UK Government Audit Report
toThe National Programme for IT in the NHS; an update on the delivery of detailed care records system (click on link).

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The Plan is to Plan

Barry Urquhart

Several Australian (snow) ski retailers and sporting good stores have introduced a fee, typically $50.00, for customers to try on skies, clothing and specialist footwear to establish the right and appropriate size. If and when the sale is transacted the fee total is credited.
The newly introduced policy is an attempt to counter the practice by customers to try on for size merchandise and then to purchase such on-line, usually from overseas suppliers.
It is an inane, inappropriate strategy which will simply foster ill-feelings and adversely impact the respective brand names, images and store customer counts.
Moreover, little consideration is being given to the profile and characteristics of the new customers who they are affronting. These people are internet savvy and primary users of social media.

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Ego trips have a dangerous destination

Harvey Mackay

Talent is God-given, be humble.  Fame is man-given, be thankful.  Conceit is self-given, be careful.
This anonymous saying is often attributed to legendary college basketball coach John Wooden.  And he surely hit the nail on the head.
I have a different way of talking about conceit in my speeches.  If you think you're indispensable, I tell my audiences, stick your finger in a bowl of water and watch the hole it leaves when you pull it out.

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Complementary Medicines – panaceas, poisons or placebos?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

If you believe all the advertising hype, then swallowing a bucket load of complementary medicines (CMs) may be just as good as a glass or two from the fountain of youth.  While a number of these non-prescription drugs, to give them their correct name, do provide some health benefits, others either do nothing or may even make you sick.  So how do you know whether you are taking panaceas, poisons or placebos?

As a scientist and a skeptic, I’m partial to a bit of evidence, especially when it relates to my health and well-being.  When I watch a sporting hero claiming to have ‘energy’ because of a CM, or I hear that there is a natural treatment that can help me, it certainly gets my attention. 

Comments: 2

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Roles for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians

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

Since commencing practice in hospital pharmacy in the early 1980s I have always worked with hospital pharmacy technicians.  Early in my career there were middle aged ladies with names like Shirley, Joy or Sylvia and their roles included washing bottles, pre-packing bulk supplies of tablets into smaller quantities for dispensing, distributing imprest stocks of medication into ward cupboards, making up bulk supplies of disinfectants, sterilising equipment, preparing batches of stock solutions for use in manufacturing and collecting and delivering medication orders around the hospital.

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Not a pharmacist in sight but plenty of bulk supplied medicines

Rollo Manning

The reasons why a Senate Inquiry is necessary?

Ten years and $234 million of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) money later there are still thousands of Aboriginal people living in remote Australia who have never met a pharmacist. All will have met a doctor, a nurse and probably a bunch of allied health professionals but no pharmacists. This is despite the fact that PBS medicines have been in abundant supply since the introduction in 1999 of special supply arrangements for remote health services.

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The ABCs of negotiating

Harvey Mackay

As a kid, I practiced the art of negotiating daily with my parents and teachers.  I continued to hone my skills as I grew, eventually buying a small struggling envelope company.  Over decades as a business owner and salesman, I've probably spent as much time in negotiations as any other part of my job.  I know you can't negotiate anything unless you absolutely know the market.  And I always let the other person talk first.

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Medicare Locals - What's in it for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

It will be interesting to see how Medicare Locals will shape up and genuinely provide a focus to transition patients to the full spectrum of primary care services, including pharmacy.
Recently, Nicola Roxon announced the opening of 15 Medicare Locals, and has released the list of the first wave of Medicare Locals, which will include four in NSW, five for Queensland, two each for South Australia and WA, and single Medicare Locals for Tasmania and the ACT.
The minister has also revealed the final boundaries and catchments for all Medicare Locals, which will see more delivered for NSW and WA.

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Medicare Locals - The Devil is in the Detail...and there are no Details

Neil Johnston

Medicare Locals are now emerging as a system for serving population health needs including primary health care.
GP’s are determined to make sure that the organisation is doctor-led at every level of activity, and they are very vocal about it-particularly from power-brokers from the AMA.
This does not bode well for the objectives of Medicare Locals (ML’s) – that of introducing a patient to the best forms of primary care, using the entire spectrum of pharmacy, nursing and allied health.
Unless there is a high-level of shared responsibility, it is easy to see that the only health professionals that will eventually be left standing are the doctors. All other health professionals will simply take the line of least resistance and avoid unnecessary conflict.

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Walmart, Small Pharmacies and Building Back Growth.

Neil Johnston

History repeats itself, but most of us don’t learn the lessons from history.
In 1998 Walmart, the US-based pharmacy retailer, embarked on an expansion program of opposites consisting of the development of “super-centres” while simultaneously developing a “corner store” prototype.
Thirteen years later the corner stores have grown to 155 in number and the financial return from these much smaller stores (now called Walmart Markets) is now comparable to the larger super-centres.

Comments: 1

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Mushroom compound suppresses prostate tumours

Staff Writer

A mushroom used in Asia for its medicinal benefits has been found to be 100 per cent effective in suppressing prostate tumour development in mice during early trials, new Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research shows.The compound, polysaccharopeptide (PSP), which is extracted from the 'turkey tail' mushroom, was found to target prostate cancer stem cells and suppress tumour formation in mice, an article written by senior research fellow Dr Patrick Ling in the international scientific journal PLoS ONE said.

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Tomatoes may help ward off heart disease

Staff Writer

A University of Adelaide study has shown that tomatoes may be an effective alternative to medication in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, thus preventing cardiovascular disease.
A paper published by Dr Karin Ried in the international journal Maturitas reveals clinical evidence that a bright red pigment called lycopene found in tomatoes and to a lesser extent in watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and rosehip has antioxidant properties that are vital to good health.

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New research shows hip fracture rates declining

Staff Writer

Deakin University research has found a drop in hip fracture rates in people over 55.
Researchers with Deakin’s School of Medicine based at Barwon Health analysed data from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, a long-term study involving men and women living in the Barwon Statistical Division in southeastern Australia, and found that hip fracture rates had decreased by eight per cent for men and 31 per cent for women from 1994 to 2007.

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Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower relapse risk in MS

Staff Writer

A Menzies’ study published in the international renowned journal Annals of Neurology has shown for the first time that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower relapse risk in multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers.
More people are suffering with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) per capita in Tasmania than in any other state in Australia.
In fact, between 1951 and 2009 the incidence of MS in Tasmania nearly doubled.

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Capturing CO2

Staff Writer

A team of leading researchers from some of Australia's top universities and research institutes will join forces to develop new ways to capture and transform carbon dioxide, the notorious gas at the centre of the greenhouse discussion.
Recently awarded $6 million from the CSIRO's Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) the team will explore how smart materials, called metal-organic frameworks (or MOFs) can be used to capture and concentrate CO2 with minimum energy requirements.

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University of Sydney expert developing next generation biofuels

Staff Writer

The University of Sydney's Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is behind cutting edge research that could fuel the aviation industry from sustainable energy sources in the not too distant future.
Speaking recently on the ABC's The Science Show, Professor Maschmeyer said the process uses what is known as lignocellulosic feedstocks - sourced either from existing processes in the pulp and paper industry or even grass cuttings.

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Smoke detector' gene discovered in plants

Staff Writer

Researchers at The University of Western Australia have discovered a gene that allows dormant seeds buried in the soil to detect germination stimulants in bushfire smoke called karrikins.
The same gene has also been found to provide the means for plants to respond to a growth hormone called strigolactone, which controls shoot branching, the formation of beneficial fungal associations, and germination of parasitic weeds.

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New generation asthma drug could improve metabolism

Staff Writer

Formoterol, a new generation asthma medication, shows great promise for improving fat and protein metabolism, say Australian researchers, who have tested this effect in a small sample of men. The researchers present their results today at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.
The research team comprises members of Professor Ken Ho’s lab from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research as well as Professor Ric Day, a clinical pharmacologist from St. Vincent’s Hospital.

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Liver structure could hold the key to battling diabetes

Staff Writer

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Dangerous Toxins From Genetically Modified Plants Found in Women and Fetuses

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: The Institute for Responsible Technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops. They investigate and report their risks and impact on health, environment, the economy, and agriculture, as well as the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting.
Founded in 2003 by international bestselling author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, IRT has worked in more than 30 countries on 6 continents, and is credited with improving government policies and influencing consumer-buying habits.
IRT's work comes from a dedicated team of subject experts, consultants and staff who generously donate their time and experience. In addition, IRT employs media experts, social network campaigners, writers, graphic designers, communications specialists, fundraisers, outreach professionals and support staff, who operate from their Iowa office, and from virtual offices in the US.
IRT's Campaign for Healthier Eating in America mobilizes citizens, organizations, businesses, healthcare professionals, and the media, to achieve the tipping point of consumer rejection of GM foods.
The following article has been written by Jeffery Smith.

Comments: 2

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GP Super Clinics ideal training ground for student health professionals

Staff Writer

A unique program providing our future health professionals with vital practical experience at three Queensland GP Super clinics was a finalist in the Excellence in Collaborative Workforce Initiatives Category of the Workforce Council awards.
The QUT-GP Super Clinics program manager Susi Wise said the program began in 2010 to address the growing problem of finding suitable placements for health students so that they could fully qualify and practise in the community.
The students in the program are from nine health disciplines taught at QUT: nursing, dietetics and nutrition, exercise physiology, pharmacy, podiatry, psychology, social work, radiography, and medical laboratory science.

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Natural Communications

Staff Writer

Wireless signals of varying wavelengths are of increasing concern to human health.
The volume of this type of signal is increasing daily in the average home or business environment through simple appliances and electronic equipment and health concerns are centred on the possibility of tumor development, depending on exposure.
Recently WHO announced that there was now sufficient evidence to link mobile phone transmissions to the formation of gliomas, a type of brain tumor.
Now it appears that a form of "natural transmission" can exist to avoid the health risks posed by wireless transmission. It depends on "rings" of air presure that can be directed towards a pressure sensor sufficient to create binary code to generate communication between robots.

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Biomaterial aids Nerve Regeneration-Xyloglucan From Tamarind Seeds

Staff Writer

A Monash University researcher has developed a new biomaterial that encourages damaged nerves in the brain and spinal chord to regrow. The work could revolutionise treatment of nerve-based injuries and diseases, such as Parkinson’s.
PhD student Andrew Rodda was part of a Monash Materials Engineering team investigating xyloglucan, a plant-based compound derived from the seeds of the tamarind tree.
Within plants, xyloglucan plays an important role in linking cells together and Mr Rodda has been studying its effects in animals with damaged nerve cells.

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Doctors renew call for mothball ban to prevent brain damage in babies

Staff Writer

Three leading professors have welcomed last week's decision by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority to suspend the sale of naphthalene flakes for domestic use. The professors are citing a link between exposure to naphthalene and brain damage, disability and even death in babies.
Nick Evans, Associate Professor in Neonatal Medicine at the University of Sydney, commented:

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Protein Intake can Influence Weight Loss

Staff Writer

Adjusting the intake of high protein foods like meat, eggs and milk products could determine whether you become a rugby player or marathon runner and may help you lose weight, according to new research published this month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Dr Stefan Broer, head of the molecular nutrition group in the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment at The Australian National University, said the study by a group of ANU and Sydney researchers could potentially lead to the development of new weight-loss drugs.

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A Fresh Look at Health Insurance

Neil Johnston

Suddenly, health insurance issues are under the spotlight here in Australia through a survey published in the “Australian Health Review” May edition (The Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association, published by the CSIRO).
 The survey indicates that a fresh approach needs to be taken in regard to patient reimbursement for pharmaceuticals, particularly in the high-cost, non-PBS area.
Australian Health Review thanked Ken Gray from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch) for his support in the steering committee, and Roche Products (Australia) Pty Ltd (Dee Why, NSW) for providing an unrestricted research grant to carry out this study.
The unrestricted research grant was paid to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and this was utilised to fund a part-time research officer to complete the project.

Roche manufactures some high cost pharmaceuticals, particularly in the anti-cancer category.
Below are the relevant media excerpts and i2P have asked Mark Coleman to research some of these health insurance issues and make relevant comments.

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