Publication Date 01/11/2011         Volume. 3 No. 10   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the November 2011 homepage edition of i2P - Information to Pharmacists.
The preceding weeks have seen an unprecedented reportage of the lack of integrity surrounding many decisions of the pharmaceutical industry.
Peter Sayers, Harvey Mackay,Loretta Marron and Mark Coleman (in the Pharmedia column) weigh in with their opinions and kick off a debate that will hopefully have all pharmacists adjust their core values and eliminate hypocrisy (the opposite side of the coin of integrity).

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for November 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 November 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

The Health Village Concept

Neil Johnston

With pressures mounting on community pharmacy by the day, it is interesting to note that not many practical solutions are being piloted to develop a better, more professional business model for pharmacy.
You actually have to go to the UK to see a model that could suit Australia in the form of Health Village - a Lloyd’s Pharmacy pilot model.

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Professional Services Environment - is Community Pharmacy Sufficiently Developed?

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

If the gossip is correct, the new pharmacy contract in New Zealand is going to see a shift from the old payment system of dispensing fee (plus a little bit of profit) to a lesser payment for dispensing and opportunities for payment for a range of services that might include point of care INR testing, vaccinations, MURs synchronising patients medication, and a raft of other ‘medication management processes.

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The industry that delivers community pharmacy is beginning to look like a Heath Robinson machine.

Neil Retallick

According to Wikipedia, “William Heath Robinson (signed as W. Heath Robinson, 31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator, best known for drawings of eccentric machines....In the UK, the term "Heath Robinson" has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption...”
I have been developing this notion for some time now but was crystallized when I was talking to a supplier to pharmacies recently.

Comments: 3

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It's Time to Draw a Line

Peter Sayers

Pharmacy integrity has become an issue once more, following on from the outcry surrounding the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Blackmore's proposed alliance.
In another instance a formal complaint by Dr Ken Harvey, has been made to the Pharmacy Board of Australia relating to four online pharmacies promoting the product Sensaslim.
These pharmacies and any others following similar practices, need to reverse their policies that allow the unethical promotion of such products.

Comments: 3

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Integrity is all that matters

Harvey Mackay

In our country, and indeed all over the globe, we are facing so many crises that we hardly know which one to address first.
But one issue that is rarely identified as a real crisis, which I believe is at the root of so many of these other problems, is a crisis in integrity.  So many problems would be greatly diminished or perhaps even disappear if people had acted with integrity and honor.

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Pharmacy Guild & Blackmores - a quicky divorce?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

A media release from the Pharmacy Guild on 5 October 2011 announced 'Gold Cross endorsement of Blackmores Companions range withdrawn'.  
This embarrassing back-down came after considerable media attention that followed a flood of complaints from both outraged health professionals and consumers about the scheme. 
Did the Guild really think that this ill-conceived initiative would be welcomed with open arms by both the health industry and concerned patients?
When the package was announced in late September, the Guild stated that they endorsed a range of complementary medicines (CMs) that they claimed had been designed specifically to offset the possible side-effects of four common prescription drugs.

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Support services for pharmacists and doctors in the United Kingdom – Part 1 Pharmacist Support

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

In Australia the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) provides a listening ear and support over the telephone to pharmacists in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory and has plans for expansion to all states of Australia.
The medical profession in Australia has a range of state based Doctors’ Health Advisory Services including the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service which provides peer support over the telephone. 
Victorian is the only state to have a state based health program for doctors; the Victorian Doctors Health Program (VDHP).

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Marketing Focus: Pull the Digit Out

Barry Urquhart

FOLLOW THE LEADERS

There is proof-positive that smaller operators can take on, compete with and beat established trans-national and national trading groups.
However, be aware. Astute leaders of big groups are sufficiently flexible to  recognise and replicate strategies which work.
In recent times the IGA Supermarket network of independent stores throughout Australia (including Foodland in South Australia) has resonated with a broad cross- section of consumers and gained their patronage with the positioning statement:

"The Way the Locals Like It"

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A Major Retail Advance

Neil Johnston

There has been a long held dream within community pharmacies that there ought to be a system that, with the press of a button, could count all shelf stock and adjust any retail display price.
That system has nearly arrived in the form of Shelfx, a smart shelf that can communicate with other smart shelves and interface with a compact fileserver.

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Nurse Practitioners Succeeding in Community Pharmacies-Clinical Pharmacists Still Remain Invisible

Peter Sayers

Nurse practitioners based in community pharmacies have great potential to ease the burden in primary care, research by Curtin University and Griffith University has found.
The independently funded research, undertaken by Associate Professor Lynne Emmerton, of Curtin’s School of Pharmacy, and Sara McMillan, of Griffith’s School of Pharmacy, explored the roles of nurse practitioners who are based in community pharmacies in Western Australia.
Community pharmacies are a relatively new site for nurse practitioner clinics, which have traditionally operated in hospitals and, more recently, local general practitioner (GP) clinics.

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Walmart Plays Clinic Catch Up

Neil Johnston

It seems both sides of the Atlantic are looking to expand pharmacy hosted primary health care clinics.
In the UK Lloyd’s Pharmacy have launched a pilot for their version called Health Village, while in the US Walmart has announced that it is looking to partner a number of targeted primary health care practitioners.
Walmart’s stated aim is to become the largest (but lowest cost) pharmacy primary health care providers in the US.

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Walmart Launches New Mobile Apps

Neil Johnston

In time for the holidays, new Apps for iPad and iPhone developed by Walmart will give customers advanced shopping tools for use at home and on the go.
In Australia, Woolworths have launched a similar App with an extension for the Android market.
Walmart has a subsidiary company Walmart Labs that is dedicated to taking advantage of new innovations in IT and helping to develop or adapt them to a Walmart environment.
It is this type of infrastructure that creates the divide between small business and big business that is getting ever wider.
Wouldn't it be great if we had such a development wing in pharmacy that wasn't dominated by politics and truly represented innovation for the profession?
There's a lot of IT talent in pharmacy that is not being properly nurtured that also represents new job opportunities for pharmacists.

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Chemist Warehouse and the PGA prepare for Open Warfare

Neil Johnston

The battle for retail pharmacy control has just taken a very sharp turn.
Chemist Warehouse has thrown down the gauntlet and taken on the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) in respect of the new set of location rules negotiated by the PGA and the federal government - a set of rules that will severely hamper Chemist Warehouse expansion into the future.
At i2P we have never been in favour of location rules existing in the first place because of the artificiality created in the market place.
Nor have we been in favour of pharmacy company structure with only pharmacist shareholding - a system that keeps out specific skills from a board of directors that pharmacies badly need.

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The Face of Pharmacy's Moral and Financial Bankruptcy

Neil Johnston

The face of pharmacy has evolved to be that of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA).
Whether all pharmacists are accepting of this role is problematical as evidence of shabby commercial deals and political suppression of a pharmacist majority is seen to be a blatant reality.
Most pharmacists (including some members of the PGA) are trying to distance themselves from this bad behaviour, but find themselves inextricably bound up in these events with the 5CPA becoming the "glue".
Recently there has been a call from the Pharmacy Coalition for Health Reform to renegotiate the 5CPA, and a call by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale for an inquiry into the Government’s dealings with the PGA.
Pharmacy is beginning to be seen by the public at large as fast becoming morally and financially bankrupt.
I personally don't wish to be part of this image-do you?

Comments: 2

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Vitamin Supplements May Boost Risk of Death Among Older Women: Study

Staff Writer

Some dietary supplements may be associated with an increased risk of death for older women, even though those women tended to be healthier than those who did not take vitamins while alive, according to a study released Monday from the Archives of Internal Medicine.
While women who take dietary supplements tend to be healthier, a recent study found that older women who take at least one supplement per day tended to have a higher risk of mortality. In analysis of about 39,000 women who were at an average age of 62 at the beginning of the study, those who took vitamin supplements such as multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron died at a higher rate during the 19-year research period, researchers led by a team at the University of Minnesota report.

Comments: 2

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Court loss won't stop environmentalists' battle against modified-eucalyptus trees

Staff Writer

Environmentalists are vowing to continue their fight against genetically engineered "frankentrees" after losing a test case in Florida earlier this month.
"We're not terribly discouraged," said Anne Petermann, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign.
"We'll wait until the next stage of the regulatory process and intervene there," said Mike Stark, communications director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that aimed to block field tests of genetically modified eucalyptus trees across the South.
The trees in question were developed by Arborgen, a joint venture of Memphis-based International Paper, MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand-based Rubicon Ltd.
Industry expects the fight to continue.

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Obese people regain weight after dieting due to hormones

Staff Writer

Obese people may regain weight after dieting due to hormonal changes, a University of Melbourne and Austin Health study has shown.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 billion overweight adults, including 400 million who are obese. In Australia, it is estimated more than 50 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men are either overweight or obese.
Although restriction of diet often results in initial weight loss, more than 80 per cent of obese dieters fail to maintain their reduced weight.

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HPV vaccination for boys and young men

Staff Writer

Boys and young men should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) to help protect against anal, penile and head and neck cancers and to benefit women’s health says Director of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) Professor Marian Pitts.
‘It’s an equity issue, we are currently denying a life saving vaccine to half of our young people, and keeping them in the dark about how the HPV vaccine could protect them from cancers, just as it does for our young women,’ Professor Pitts says.

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Superannuation Age Discrimination Removed

Staff Writer

Many barriers exist to discourage seniors from continuing participating in the workforce.
The need for seniors to keep working as a fallout from the global financial crisis, has been one situation where potential retirees have been forced to consider all their options.
One of the obvious benefits to government in having as many seniors as possible in Australia's workforce is that it increases the tax base - a base that was slipping further away in its ability to finance future government programs.
In the biggest change to superannuation in 20 years, around 8.4 million Australians will have their superannuation savings boosted as a result of the superannuation guarantee rate legislation introduced into the Parliament today.
The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011 increases the superannuation guarantee (SG) rate from nine per cent to 12 per cent.

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Healthy ageing more important than aged care, expert says

Staff Writer

Deep-seated ageism is at the core of our culture and at the heart of an unproductive government approach to healthy ageing, says Professor Hal Kendig, Director of the Ageing, Work and Health Research Unit in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney.
Average life expectancy increased by 20 years during the 20th century and by the middle of the 21st century it is projected that one in four Australians will be aged over 65.

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A Lipitor Potential Replacement - New Drug by Sanofi-Aventis

Staff Writer

A new medicine being developed by Sanofi-Aventis of Paris, France, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.Y., dramatically cut cholesterol on top of high doses of Pfizer's Lipitor, the best-selling cholesterol drug, the companies announced today.

Comments: 1

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Stem cell research hopes to repair brain cell damage of Parkinson’s disease

Staff Writer

Australian scientists have developed a new technique using stem cells, in the hope to replace damaged cells in Parkinson’s disease. The technique could be developed for application in other degenerative conditions.
Drs Clare Parish and Lachlan Thompson lead the research from the Florey Neuroscience Institutes and the University of Melbourne. They are members of the newly established Stem Cells Australia collaboration launched at the University of Melbourne today.

Comments: 1

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Researchers closer to the super bug puzzle

Staff Writer

Infectious diseases specialists from Austin Health are working closely with Microbiologists from the University of Melbourne to understand how Staph is becoming resistant to all antibiotic therapies.
The treatment of serious infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) is complicated by the development of antibiotic resistance. Seriously ill patients, vulnerable to infections can be at additional risk if antimicrobial agents become less effective in fighting infections.

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Bill Thomson receives SHPA’s highest award

Staff Writer

Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference opened today in Hobart.  With over 800 delegates, 80 presented papers and 200 posters, this year’s conference is yet another example of the enthusiasm and dedication of pharmacists in hospitals and other parts of the healthcare system to share their work and learn from their peers.

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Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award 2011 to Adelaide Pharmacist, Greg Roberts

Staff Writer

During Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference, held in Hobart last weekend, the SHPA Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award for 2011 was awarded to Mr Greg Roberts, Clinical Research Pharmacist at the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide.
Greg’s skills in research, collaboration and communication have enabled him to realise his visions of improving patient care and medication safety.  His research outcomes have been integrated into everyday clinical patient care by pharmacists, doctors and nurses in many parts of Australia.

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Integrity - the word keeps appearing in a pharmacy context

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note: Pharmacy media has been alluding to the lack of integrity in some pharmacy activities, both industry and professional.
Problem is, whether we are involved in the process described, or not, we all still get tarred with the same brush.
Others may combat the criticism by stating that they are in survival mode and that to meet their financial obligations they have to be involved in transactions that help to pay the rent.

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A Lipitor Potential Replacement - New Drug by Sanofi-Aventis

Staff Writer

articles by this author...

Editing and Researching news and stories about global and local Pharmacy Issues

A new medicine being developed by Sanofi-Aventis of Paris, France, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.Y., dramatically cut cholesterol on top of high doses of Pfizer's Lipitor, the best-selling cholesterol drug, the companies announced today.

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In one early test of the medicine, which must be injected, patients whose cholesterol was still too high on the 10-milligram dose of Lipitor had their Lipitor dose upped to 80 mg. Half then received the new drug, code-named REGN727. Those who received REGN727 saw their low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol,” drop 65%, compared to just 17% of those who only got an increased Lipitor dose. A third group of patients who did not up their Lipitor but did take REGN727 shots had a 65% reduction in LDL.

In another study of patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that caused high cholesterol, patients who took REGN727 saw their cholesterol decline between 30% and 65% depending on how the medicine was dosed.

The studies were only the second of two phases in drug development, and larger, more rigorous clinical trials will need to be conducted before the drug reaches the market.

REGN727 targets the protein produced by a gene called PCSK9. It has been a hot target for drug development for several years, and PFizer and Amgen are also developing PCSK9 shots. A 2006 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who had mutations in the PCSK9 gene had a 28% lower levels of LDL in their blood than others and an 88% lower risk of heart disease.

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Submitted by Gerald Quigley on Sat, 26/11/2011 - 20:22.

Isn't it amazing that we make such as fuss about a new drug's ability to lower LDL, when so many options are readily available to do that already. More especially, these options don't have a down side. Apples,garlic, blueberries, fibre, grapefruit pulp, oily fish, oats, onion, spinach, yoghurt and green tea are part of a list of foods which we should be highlighting to our patients as part of good cardiovascular health management.

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