Publication Date 01/09/2011         Volume. 3 No. 8   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the September 2011 new homepage edition of i2P, (Information to Pharmacists), E-Magazine.
A significant number of pharmacies are having to belt-tighten as financial impacts from all sources begin to bite.
Of course, other retailing organisations have noticed this trend long before pharmacy.
It has occurred quietly with pharmacists preferring to bite their lip rather than openly complain.
The business of pharmacy has a 20-year cycle and commonly cash flow and capital issues coincide with the transition from the old cycle to the new.
The current cycle that we are just starting seems to be biting a little harder than for previous cycles.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for September 2011

Newsflash Updates

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

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Pipeline

Pipeline for September 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

Financial Stresses in Pharmacy - It's Part of a Cycle

Neil Johnston

Financial experts are now openly commenting that Community Pharmacy is under financial stress and they estimate that around 1000 pharmacies (20% of the total of all pharmacies within Australia), can identify with that tag.
It's never happened to that degree before.
Of the financially stressed, 20% of those are drowning or under administration of some sort.
“Stay liquid and stay profitable” is, more than ever, the catchphrase for today’s financial environment.
Maybe it’s “crunch time” for a number of models of pharmacy because it is the most severe financial stress ever, when compared to past cycles.
The warehouse-type pharmacy that relies on low margin and quick turnover to generate a strong cash flow will be one of the entities feeling the pinch unless they have a strong financial management control that is able to turn that cash flow into a profit, usually by investing through the short-term money market.

Comments: 4

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The Offline Experience

Neil Retallick

Ultimately, any retail business can only be as good as the people who work in it.
The role of the pharmacy assistant is critical to the success of any community pharmacy.
Last week I witnessed some pharmacy assistants working during a store promotion.
What I saw was a wonderful commitment to their customers; every attempt being made to make sure every customer’s every need was met.
No stone was left unturned as that saying goes.
It was not lost on me as I watched the sales being processed through the POS that the commitment of these team members to their customers was being translated into a commitment to their employer, the company they worked for.
A win-win-win situation where the customers won, the company won and the team won.
They certainly felt good about their achievements after the event.

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NZ Community Pharmacy Politics - Consortium Control is Emerging

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

The spectre of another general election is raising its head in New Zealand overshadowed only by the imminent start of the Rugby World Cup – and the recent loss of the TriNations!!.
The incumbent National Party has somewhat gently but persistently pushed forward health system reforms towards a more centralised model.
Our 81 Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) have been reduced in number less than 35 and while this government has previously declared that they would not interfere with the structure of the 21 District Health Boards (DHBs), there are clear moves to regionalise the DHBs into four or six regions.
If National retains power, which seems highly likely, there will be a concerted push to reduce the number of DHBs.

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The "Terror of the TGA"

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

On a recent visit to a pharmacy, I was faced with an entire wall promoting yet another totally useless appetite suppressant
Six years have passed since I wrote to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), challenging the efficacy of hundreds of natural weight loss products. 
So what has happened since then and will improved TGA transparency and a parliamentary report slamming their automatic acceptance of thousands of potentially useless complementary medicines (CM)s, dissuade pharmacy owners from continuing their blatant exploitation of these vulnerable people?

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A Tale of Two Countries- and their drug distribution problems

Peter Jackson

The European Union has a free movement of goods and services.
This includes trading in medicines.
With the UK having the lowest medicine prices in Europe, this has caused an outflow of medicines intended for UK patients.
As a result, there are severe branded medicine shortages in the UK.

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Dick Smith joins the national conversation on progress

Staff Writer

Mr Dick Smith gave his views on Australia’s progress today, contributing to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) national conversation on progress. People from all walks of life are encouraged to join this conversation over the next few weeks www.abs.gov.au/about/progress/blog
Reflecting on national progress, Mr Smith said he would like to see "growth in efficiencies, and saving waste and improving the quality of life" and, "plan for still getting the same amount of money, but using productivity gains to reduce working hours."

“I’d love to see our population stabilise at about 24-25 million"

"I think we have to plan a new system which is not based on the exponential growth in the use of energy and resources", Mr Smith added.

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Lifestyle Prescriptions – a Healthy Marketing Approach

Neil Johnston

Over the years I have noticed that patients respond positively to any interaction with them that is genuinely educational, and most importantly, gives them the knowledge to provide some of their own input into management of their condition, independent of their GP, pharmacist or any other health professional.
Surprisingly, not all the knowledge transfer is directly related to drug or condition knowledge.
Some years ago when I was working as a clinical pharmacist in a public hospital I turned up at a patient’s bedside with some drug information to assist this patient recover from his recent heart attack.
I had prepared a medicines use review and other supportive information for the patient to take home with him, after a discharge planned for the following morning.

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Marketing Focus: Do Not Fear Failure

Barry Urquhart

IN THE PINK

It's official.
Well, close!

Findings from a 3-year schedule of research conducted by academics at Harvard University in the United States of America have concluded that the colour pink is no sure way to open up the hearts and purses of women to raise funds for breast cancer research.
Adult females do not emotionally relate strongly to the colour pink.

Pink is perceived to be most appropriate for preschool-age girls.
A little known fact in modern western society is that until 1923 pink was a male oriented colour.
It was favoured by French pompadours and fashionistas, together with English "dandies".
Remember, nothing is forever.
In a similar vein, but with significantly different outcomes is the use of a soft, bright yellow flower graphic for the promotion of "Daffodil Day", in the promotion of fundraising for cancer research. Commonly held perceptions about this symbolism are the sentiments of a "new start" and "new hope". Full marks.

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Pediatrics to Geriatrics

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about geriatrics, births, pediatrics, deaths, and bar-code safety systems.

In the early 1970s, Alan Haberman (then in his early forties) chaired an ad hoc committee that chose the UPC bar code for the grocery industry.
For the next decade Alan unrelentingly worked to persuade manufacturers, retailers and the public to accept machine-readable codes at the point of sale.
Several decades passed before bar coding wound its way to the point of care in America’s hospitals.

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Use your energy level to stay on the fast track

Harvey Mackay

Consider what the average body does every 24 hours:
Your heart beats 100,689 times.
Your blood travels 168 million miles.
You breathe 23,040 times, inhaling 438 cubic feet of air.
You eat more than three pounds of food, and drink about three quarts of liquids.
You lose almost a pound of waste.
You speak 25,000 words.
You move 750 muscles.
Your nails grow .000046 of an inch, your hair .01714 of an inch.
You exercise 7 million brain cells.
And you wonder why you are tired?

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Direct Distribution - Time for Government to act

Neil Johnston

In an earlier article, (found on the September homepage edition), by Peter Jackson, discussion occurred regarding drug distribution costs and drug shortages in the UK compared to Australia.
Parallel importing had resulted in a trade between low-cost European countries and high-cost countries, resulting in drug shortages in the lower cost countries.
It turns out that patients in the US are also facing drug shortages, very high prices and parallel importing systems set up by Canadian pharmacists who are able to service US patients at a lower price.
The only difference between the US and the European systems is that the US drug manufacturers have not been able to monopolise drug distribution as effectively as they have in the UK.
Australia, however, is particularly vulnerable to this new type of monopolistic supply chain and pharmacy wholesalers, supported by community pharmacists are lobbying government to legislate against this development.

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Mobile Phone Apps – Australian Pharmacists not organised as yet

Peter Sayers

There has been an explosion of “smart phones” with titles such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry etc.
Depending on which system you support, there has been a corresponding explosion of “Apps” – the applications that can be installed on mobile phones that have an intelligent utility that encourages people to use them.
The “Apps” range from aids to shopping, dose reminders, emergency protocols and now a range of health information for both consumers and health professionals.
Even the National rescribing Service has a "medicines list" app.

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Monday’s medical myth: a diet high in antioxidants slows the aging process

Staff Writer

This article was originally published in The Conversation and was written by Michael Vagg, a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health

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Dick Smith joins the national conversation on progress

Staff Writer

Mr Dick Smith gave his views on Australia’s progress today, contributing to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) national conversation on progress. People from all walks of life are encouraged to join this conversation over the next few weeks www.abs.gov.au/about/progress/blog
Reflecting on national progress, Mr Smith said he would like to see "growth in efficiencies, and saving waste and improving the quality of life" and, "plan for still getting the same amount of money, but using productivity gains to reduce working hours."

“I’d love to see our population stabilise at about 24-25 million"

"I think we have to plan a new system which is not based on the exponential growth in the use of energy and resources", Mr Smith added.

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Behaviour changes in dementia pinpointed in brain

Staff Writer

Researchers have located the site of shrinkage in the brains of people with frontotemporal dementia that causes disturbing changes in behaviour.
Lead researcher Dr Michael Hornberger says this discovery will improve our ability to diagnose the disease, and paves the way for the development of drugs to combat the disease.

"This research is the gateway for us to identify objectively the behavioural changes in frontotemporal dementia," he says. "Now we know which brain regions to target with future therapeutic approaches."
Brain regions in yellow/red show areas of atrophy implicated in disinhibited behaviour in FTD
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
is a common cause of dementia in people aged under 65 years. The age of onset is typically in the 50s or 60s but affect people as young as 30.
One of the main symptoms of FTD is a loss of normal inhibitions, which can manifest as inappropriate remarks and embarrassing behaviour in public.

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After 20 years, male and female GPs still practise differently

Staff Writer

University of Sydney research has found female GPs see more female patients and younger patients and are more likely to consult on psychosocial issues than their male counterparts.
The research confirms the findings of a two decades old study that found male and female GPs had different general practice characteristics and managed different types of medical conditions, and that many of these differences were inherent to GP gender.

Comments: 1

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Obesity linked to cognition

Staff Writer

New research suggests obese individuals often perform poorly in reasoning and planning tasks and, likewise, those with poor cognitive function are more vulnerable to excessive weight gain.
The controversial findings, published this week in the international journal Obesity Reviews, suggests that obesity should be treated, at least in part, as a brain condition, similar to anorexia nervosa.

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Indigenous focus good for business

Staff Writer

Indigenous students progressing into successful business careers can be the enablers and catalysts for economic development in their communities, writes Professor Alec Cameron, Dean of the Australian School of Business.
I recently had the great pleasure to be able to formally welcome students to UNSW for the Indigenous Winter School. The program involves 165 Indigenous students in years 10-12 selected from around Australia, with the objective of encouraging and supporting these students to pursue tertiary education.

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97.7% of Pharmacy graduates secure full-time work

Staff Writer

This year's Graduate Careers Australia report has found that 97.7 per cent of pharmacy graduates are securing full-time work.
The report surveys about 100,000 university graduates and found that the number of graduates finding full-time work was down 10 per cent from a high of 85.2 per cent in 2008.
Pharmacy graduates however are an exception to the rule and have emerged unscathed despite the overall slump, and pharmacy has emerged as one of the best professions to pursue to guarantee full-time work.

Comments: 1

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Study to screen more than 8000 Australians to develop a snapshot of the nation's health

Staff Writer

Health screening begins in Victoria this week, marking a major milestone in Australia's largest longitudinal study which is enabling researchers to track how many people have developed diabetes,obesity, kidney and heart disease.
Mordialloc in Victoria will play host to the first test site for participants in the Australian Diabetes,Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study, with health research teams to travel the country over the next year to test more than 8300 people.

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Medicare Locals: new look, new approach to primary health care

Staff Writer

The Australian General Practice Network has welcomed the new branding for Medicare Locals, which featured today at a Medicare Local Forum involving the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard at Parliament House.

“Australia's network of Medicare Locals will be easily identifiable as a cohesive national network with its new "ribbon helix" branding. But it's the changes Medicare Locals will bring to local health care services for both health care professionals and consumers that will make the difference over time,” Dr Djakic said.

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Australian mammals take on antibiotic-resistant bugs

Staff Writer

The Australian wallaby and platypus could turn out to be key weapons in fighting the growing health threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria, a team involving University of Sydney researchers has discovered.
In collaboration with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and the University of Melbourne, they discovered molecules from wallaby and platypus young are highly effective at killing a range of bugs.

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Eating speed linked to weight: Otago research

Staff Writer

Middle-aged women who eat slowly are much less likely to be overweight or obese than those who eat at a faster pace, according to new University of Otago research.
In the first nationwide study of its kind anywhere, Department of Human Nutrition researchers analysed the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and body mass index (BMI) in more than 1500 New Zealand women aged between 40 and 50. Women in this age bracket are known to be at high risk of weight gain.

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Deakin University medical researchers find potential new treatment for bipolar depression

Staff Writer

Deakin University medical researchers have found that an antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), is an effective treatment for bipolar depression.
Following the positive results experienced by 149 people with bipolar depression who took part in a two month trial, the researchers believe that NAC could be added to the treatment regimen of people with bipolar disorder.

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Northern Territory pharmacists now have the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS). Toll free number 1300 244 910

Staff Writer

The Victorian based Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS), an independent incorporated association supported by the official bodies of pharmacy, is expanding its service to Northern Territory (NT) from 12 September 2011.
Pharmacists in NT will be able to contact this anonymous service for the cost of a local call. 
PSS offers support to pharmacists who wish to talk to a colleague about any issue including workplace stresses, pharmacy practice matters, work or personal pressures, health issues including mental health concerns and drug and alcohol misuse.

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Asia's E-Waste Pollution May Spread World-Wide

Staff Writer

So dire is the electronic waste contamination problem in Asia that it can potentially spread worldwide, a leading environmental researcher will tell the CleanUp 2011 Conference in Adelaide today.
Professor Ming Hung Wong from Hong Kong Baptist University says that the illegal shipping of e-waste to developing countries in recent decades, coupled with inadequate handling and disposal methods, can potentially return the pollutants to developed nations.
Thousands of tonnes of toxic e-waste are entering the world’s atmosphere, oceans, fresh waters, soils and foodstuffs every year. This is now spreading round the planet, including back to the societies that originally produced them.

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DDT Consistently Found in Humans a Study Reveals

Staff Writer

Despite being banned almost thirty years ago, the pesticide DDT is still being widely found in human bodies, a leading health researcher says.
In a study of 146 human milk samples, most of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) found belonged to the DDT group, Professor Tze Wai Wong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong will tell the CleanUp 2011 Conference in Adelaide recently.

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E-Toxins ‘Escaping From Our Landfills

Staff Writer

Fourteen kinds of heavy metals and toxic flame retardants have been detected in  contaminated water draining from landfill sites in Australia, environmental researchers will report to the CleanUp 2011 conference in Adelaide today.
Steps should be taken to prevent further leaching, as traces of these metals were also found in groundwater adjacent to the landfills, Ms Kiddee Peeranart and Professor Ravi Naidu from CRC CARE and The University of South Australia say.

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Comparing weight loss programs: results are in

Staff Writer

An international study of overweight and obese adults comparing commercial weight loss programs with weight loss plans managed by local doctors or nurses found both groups lost weight, but participants in the commercial program lost significantly more weight.
Participants in the commercial program - in this study Weight Watchers - lost twice as much weight as did those in the standard care group - an average of 5.06kg for those in the commercial program versus 2.25kg for those receiving standard care.

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Environmental “time machine”

Staff Writer

A new machine at the University of New South Wales Water Research Laboratory can act as an environmental “time machine”, allowing researchers to preview the long-term effects on groundwater aquifers of activities such as coal seam gas and longwall mining.
Researchers can use the centrifuge to study the movement of water and contaminants through clay layers, called aquitards, which often surround aquifers. By subjecting core samples of aquitards and “cap rocks” – rock which sits above some aquifers – to centrifuge testing, researchers can determine how much water or contaminant will move into or out of an aquifer once it is disturbed by drilling or pumping bores.

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Frogs leap away from deadly disease

Staff Writer

The chance discovery of a previously thought to be extinct species of frog has led James Cook University researchers to believe amphibians may have found a way to survive a devastating and fatal infection.
The Armoured Mist frog had not been seen for 17 years when a population was discovered in 2008 in a remote area of Far North Queensland by then JCU PhD student Robert Puschendorf working with Professor Ross Alford and the University’s Amphibian Disease Ecology Group.
It was believed until then that the Amoured Mist frog had been wiped out by outbreaks of Chytridiomycosis, caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus, which has caused frog extinctions in many regions of the world.
Chytridiomycosis was believed to have caused the extinction of all known high elevation populations of seven frog species in the Wet tropics.

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PHARMEDIA: PCEHR - A Fight for Control?

Neil Johnston

Squabbles are breaking out in respect of who is going to manage Person Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) being the most vocal.
This against a backdrop of a contract being awarded to Accenture and their alliance partners, Oracle and Orion to develop the system on behalf of the Australian government.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon has said Accenture would receive $47.8m to develop the personally controlled e-health record system.
The department will also pay $17.8m to Oracle in licence fees for access to e-health records stored within all PCEHR repositories, and $11m in fees to Orion for operating a portal.
Many doubts are being raised about the security of PCEHR data, some of which is vulnerable because it will be accessed through cloud storage provided by Telstra (already been found to be sub-standard in security structure).
The PGA wants to be at the centre of PCEHR as illustrated by the story below in brown text.
i2P has asked Mark Coleman to try and sort out what is happening and what needs to happen.

Comments: 4

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