Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress Opens in Melbourne

13 Apr, 2014

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Collaboration within pharmaceutical sciences and with pharmacists is crucial, says FIP president
•    Scientists and pharmacists must work together for the benefits of patients
•    Pharmaceutical research is now based on strong collaboration
•    Fundamental reform of education needed

Melbourne, 13 April: Pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists around the world were called on to collaborate in order to better respond to the diverse needs of their citizens by FIP president Michel Buchmann.

Speaking at the PSWC opening ceremony, Dr Buchmann said that by working cooperatively, science can develop better needs-based medicines, and practitioners can ensure their optimal use.

“Medicine is of value, not only when it is shown to be effective in clinical trials but, more importantly, when it is effective in practice,” he said.

“The survival of the pharmaceutical profession relies on the growth of dynamic relationships between scientists and practitioners, with scientists supporting the profession and the practitioners informing the scientists on patients’ and societal needs and thus serving the best interest of patients and society”. Dr Buchmann told congress participants that scientists cannot lose sight of the human aspects, of patient beliefs and values in the use of medicines and similarly, practitioners must understand the science behind the medicine, to then translate the mechanisms and precautions to be undertaken to the patients.

“Achieving productive collaboration will take time and effort. The undergraduate and postgraduate curricula will need to be transformed, reformulating the role of scientists and educators, and increasing the application of the role of the clinical pharmacist in diverse settings. Education is only possible with the support of scientists; scientists who can see the value, not only of their research, but of being able to educate others on the intricacies and use of their research outcomes,” he explained.

Not only is collaboration essential between the two groups, but it is also crucial within research itself. “In today’s world, it takes multidisciplinary teams of researchers, to progress step by step, from discovery to the production of a desired therapeutic agent,” said Dr Buchmann.

Other high level speakers during the opening included Craig Ondarchie, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of the Government of Victoria, who highlighted that in the 15 years to 2015, the state government will have invested over AUS$1.8bn in driving the development of Victoria as a world-leading centre for life sciences. Innovative technology needs to be targeted to improve health care and building global bridges between academic research and corporate sectors is necessary, Mr Ondarchie said.

Dr Brendan Shaw, Chief Executive of Medicines Australia, praised the international audience of pharmaceutical scientists for the great work that has been achieved, and called for more partnerships between industry, government and the scientific community, in Australia and abroad.

In his opening lecture Nobel laureate Peter Doherty said that there is a high possibility of developing vaccines for many pandemics but the underlying question is who will pay for it. He also voiced concern over current Alzheimer’s disease strategies and treatment development, particularly the outcomes so far.

Professor and dean of the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical science at Monash University William Charman congratulated the chairman of PSWC Dr Ross McKinnon and the other members of the programme committee for the quality of the congress. He concluded the ceremony with a pledge for innovation and a strong encouragement to all delegates to connect and network, making PSWC a true “innovation” factory.

Measles: know the risks, check your status, protect yourself

22 Apr, 2014

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Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.

It remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 122 000 people died from measles in 2012 – mostly children under the age of five.

This fact file on measles has been created for World Immunization Week (24-30 April). This year the slogan for the week is “Immunize for a healthy future: Know, Check, Protect”.

Facts about measles vaccination (HTML)

World Malaria Day 2014: WHO helps countries assess feasibility of eliminating malaria

24 Apr, 2014

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 On World Malaria Day (25 April), WHO is launching a manual to help countries to assess the technical, operational and financial feasibility of moving towards malaria elimination.

WHO’s new guide, “From malaria control to malaria elimination: a manual for elimination scenario planning”, will provide these countries with a comprehensive framework to assess different scenarios and timelines for moving towards elimination, depending on programme coverage and funding availability.

“Increased political commitment and the expansion of global malaria investments have saved some 3.3 million lives since 2000,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General at WHO. ”Countries where malaria remains endemic now want to build on this success.”

Since 2000, there has been a 42% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally, and a 49% decline in the WHO African Region. This progress has led some malaria-endemic countries, even those with historically high burdens of malaria, to start exploring the possibility of elimination.

But although many countries have the political will to commit to elimination, technical, operational and financial obstacles remain, particularly in countries that have a high disease burden.

From control to elimination

The WHO manual will help countries assess what resources they need to reduce malaria transmission to very low levels, i.e. the point at which focused elimination programmes can start in earnest. It will also help them consider appropriate timelines and provide them with essential knowledge for long-term strategic planning for malaria programmes.

“This long-term view on malaria is critical: it is vital to plan for the period after elimination,” says Dr John Reeder, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme. “If interventions are eased or abandoned, malaria transmission can re-establish relatively quickly in areas that are prone to the disease, leading to a resurgence in infections and deaths.”

Countries nearing elimination

Having reduced malaria transmission to very low levels and re-oriented their malaria programme activities, 19 countries are currently classified by WHO as being in the “pre-elimination or elimination phase”. Seven more countries have reduced transmission to zero and are in the “prevention of re-introduction phase”.

In recent years, the WHO Director-General has certified four countries malaria-free: the United Arab Emirates (2007), Morocco (2010), Turkmenistan (2010) and Armenia (2011).

World Malaria Day 2014

World Malaria Day was instituted by WHO Member States during the 2007 World Health Assembly. It is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria control and elimination. The theme for the 2013-2015 campaign is: “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.”

There were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012, causing over 600 000 deaths. Malaria transmission occurs in 97 countries and territories around the world, inflicting the heaviest toll on countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information please contact:

Mr Tarik Jasarevic
WHO, Geneva
Communications Officer
Telephone: +41 22 791 5099
Mobile: +41 79367 6214 

[Publication]: Forefront Volume 4 Number 11-13


  1. Forefront is a regular e-newsletter from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Subscription is free and – while content is produced with Guild members in mind as the primary audience – open to anyone interested in news and current events relating to community pharmacy in Australia.

Just as community pharmacists are at the forefront of primary health care in the Australian community, Forefront aims to provide up-to-date, relevant and valuable content to subscribers.

Subscribers will receive regular (typically weekly) email summaries that link to more in-depth content on the Guild website. These summaries aim to provide a quick and convenient snapshot of news, which provides value to the reader even if they do not have time to view the expanded content.

Click here to subscribe and see below for links to recent editions.

Forefront issues

April 2014

Transcript: Guild responds to calls for deregulation

17 Apr,  2014

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Station: 720 ABC PERTH  
Date: 16/04/2014
Program: DRIVE    
Time: 03:15 PM 
Compere:  JOHN McGLUE    


JOHN MCGLUE:               Pretty harsh views, really, there on the rules governing pharmacies from Janet Albrechtsen and indeed also on the Pharmacy Guild itself. Greg Turnbull is director – the Communications Manager of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Greg, welcome to the program.

GREG TURNBULL:            Good afternoon.

JOHN MCGLUE:                It’s 2014. Why is it that the pharmacy sector is so heavily restricted, so heavily regulated, when every other profession has been deregulated certainly in competition terms, and has been set free to make its way in the free market so that consumers can get price benefits. Why not pharmacies?

GREG TURNBULL:            Well, look, I think it’s a very legitimate area of debate, especially as you say we are coming up to the renewal of an agreement that the pharmacy has with the Federal Government. The fact of the matter is, though, that medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are not ordinary items of commerce as, with respect to Janet, they’re not like a deli setting up across the road. They’re a subsidised medicine scheme and an integral part of our health system, and most of the regulation that affects them, that affects pharmacies, is in fact what I call good regulation. And which we are very happy to defend, and not on the basis that it’s good just for pharmacists, but on the basis that it’s good for our health system.

JOHN MCGLUE:                Well, as you see it, Greg Turnbull, what does the Pharmacy Community Agreement put in place?

GREG TURNBULL:            Well, the government decided back in 1948 that it wanted to subsidise medicines to the Australian community very properly, and I think everyone would support that. What the agreement does – so, the government basically says, well, look, we want to subsidise these medicines and we want to make sure that they’re available in a fair and equitable and timely way right across the continent and right where people live. And so the agreement is about pharmacy coming to government and saying, okay, we will dispense these medicines subject to various conditions and subject to, effectively, price controls that are imposed under the PBS, and we will do it in those locations as part of this subsidised medicine system. So that’s what it’s about. It’s about a public-private partnership between privately owned pharmacies – and that’s what they are, they’re all privately owned – and the public interest of dispensing these medicines.

JOHN MCGLUE:                Why are the location and the ownership rules so important to you? The location rules, in terms of the tick off that’s required before anybody can set up a pharmacy next door to another. And I’ve got to say, Greg Turnbull, that in Western Australia there are a number of pharmacies that are located close to each other and our listeners are just reinforcing that with some texts. They really can be close to each other. Why is it important that somebody’s got to regulate that?

GREG TURNBULL:            Well, it’s important because if there was the free market, as economic rationalists and Janet Albrechtsen would support, then there would be a free for all which would see the clustering of pharmacies, which would see large what are called big-box pharmacies running other pharmacies – smaller, independent pharmacies – out of business. So that an elderly person in a suburb in Perth might actually have to be transported to or drive to, you know, an industrial state, to a mega-pharmacy, because there was no pharmacy in the shopping centre around the corner or in the shopping street around the corner. These rules are designed not to protect pharmacies from competition but to protect the timely and equitable availability of medicines where people live.

JOHN MCGLUE:                It’s sounding, Greg Turnbull, like you’re painting the scenario which sounds to me like the argument that runs about local bottle shops. That if you allow the big liquor stores to – the big liquor chains to dominate in the suburbs, well, then you’re going to see the end of the local, independently-owned bottle shop. Is that the same argument for pharmacies?

GREG TURNBULL:            Well, it would be if Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme medicines – some of them life saving medicines – were exactly the same as a six pack of beer, and I don’t think they are. I think there’s a real public interest benefit in ensuring that medicines are available where people live and where people need them. And that’s – if you like, I mean, the Federal Government, whether it’s the Labor or Coalition government, whether they’re free marketeers or not, they recognise this public health benefit of having pharmacies where people live. And so we have to bear the slings and arrows of economic rationalists, but we’re prepared to do that. Because I believe the system’s a good one.

JOHN MCGLUE:                So, Greg Turnbull, you enter in these negotiations with the Federal Government. You’re just about to start again. You will be going in with the same cards? Playing the same cards? No changes to the restrictions? You want to see it continued for another five years?

GREG TURNBULL:            Look, there have been reviews of the – the location rules as you might imagine are reasonably complex and there have been reviews of them in the past. There will be in the future. The Pharmacy Guild is a body that supports community pharmacy. We represent the owners. So we’re not a union as such, but I guess we can be called an employer union. And the fact of the matter is that what we’re about is making sure that pharmacies are viable to continue doing the good work that they do. But there will be, obviously, a negotiation. There’s give and take. But let’s see what that brings. The new agreement doesn’t come into place until July next year.

JOHN MCGLUE:                I think, Greg Turnbull, you’re in the same boat as the Australian Medical Association when it comes to descriptions. When in the normal course of events, you’re a professional organisation, but when it comes to money, you’re a trade union.

GREG TURNBULL:            Well, we’re prepared to bear all sorts of epithets if necessary. What we’re about is making sure that pharmacies are there and viable to do business for Austra… and do the important work they do with Australian healthcare consumers.

JOHN MCGLUE:                Yeah. Greg Turnbull, it’s good to talk with you today. Thanks so much for your time.

GREG TURNBULL:            My pleasure. Thank you.

JOHN MCGLUE:                Greg Turnbull there, the Communications Director of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

No further PBS savings measures required

24 Apr, 2014

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Medicines Partnership of Australia states that no further PBS savings measures are required or justified in the 2014 Federal Budget

With a united voice, members of The Medicines Partnership of Australia (MPA) have called on the Government to provide stability and certainty that is urgently required to continue the supply of medicines to Australian patients through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Given the recent passage of the Simplified Price Disclosure legislation, the MPA assumes the upcoming Federal Budget will not include further changes to price disclosure which is already reaping the Government billions of dollars a year in reduced PBS reimbursement costs.

However, it is clear from Mr Hockey’s speech last night that the Government is seriously looking at PBS co-payment and safety net levels as well as the eligibility for concessional PBS co-payments.

In its deliberations, the Government must recognise that medicines are not just a cost but a critically important investment in better health care for all Australians.

PBS medicines along with the professional advice and support of doctors and pharmacists keep people alive and out of more expensive hospital and residential aged care settings.  They keep people productive in the economy, in the paid workforce and caring for family members.

The world’s largest health information company, IMS Health, has estimated that Australia would save $6 billion a year from reforms that increase the responsible use of medicines.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) estimates there are 230,000 medication related admissions to hospitals annually costing an estimated $1.2 billion.

If changes to PBS co-payment levels and eligibility are not intelligently managed with a strong commitment to professionally supported medication adherence and management, there is a great risk that sick, elderly and less well-off Australians will be discouraged from taking their medicines.

This will not only be to the detriment of their own personal health, but will lead to further increased costs across the MBS, hospitals and aged care, all of which are considerably more expensive and growing much faster than the PBS.

The MPA also queried the longer term forecasts of PBS expenditures released by Treasurer Hockey.

Treasury and Finance do not have the best record in forecasting these expenditures.  In the last three years, they have had to reduce their pharmaceutical expenditure forecasts by a cumulative total of $8.9 billion, including $2.7 billion in last December’s MYEFO (the largest downward forecast across the entire Federal Budget).

PBS expenditure actually fell last financial year and is forecast to rise at a rate lower than GDP growth throughout the current forward estimates, a fact confirmed in Mr Hockey’s latest figures. How it is then suddenly forecast to start increasing by nearly $1billion a year is unexplained.

Attachment 1: National Commission of Audit PBS projections

The National Commission of Audit’s projections for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) show that the scheme is under control well into the future.  PBS as a percentage of GDP will be stable at approximately 0.6% of GDP through until 2023-24.  Based on recent experience, with successive downward revisions of PBS expenditure in budget after budget, this will be an overestimate.

 It is also notable that the National Commission of Audit’s projections are below those released in the most recent Intergenerational Report (IGR 2010).  For example, the projection for 2019-20 was 0.7% in IGR 2010 compared with the new estimate of just 0.59%.  IGR 2010 was in turn a massive reduction compared with previous Intergenerational Reports published in 2002 and 2007, as shown in the chart below.

PDF: Medicines Partnership of Australia states that no further PBS savings measures are required or justified in the 2014 Federal Budget

Pharmacists rate highly on ethics and honesty

14 Apr, 2014

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Pharmacists have again performed extremely well in the annual Roy Morgan Image of Professions
Survey 2014.

The survey found that 86 per cent of respondents rate pharmacists highly on ethics and honesty –
up two per cent on last year’s result.

This put pharmacists on the same score as doctors (down 2 per cent on last year), but trailing
nurses who again topped the list with 91 per cent.

This annual survey has again confirmed that pharmacists are a valued and respected part of our
health system. Public opinion research in Australia consistently shows that people rate their
community pharmacist among the most trusted professionals.

These findings should put a spring in the step of pharmacists all over Australia. They show they
are indeed valued and respected by patients for the great work they do dispensing medicines and
providing general health care services and advice.

The good result is also a challenge to the profession to ensure that this high regard is nurtured and
grown, rather than complacently assumed.

Media inquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910261

Job losses predicted in community pharmacy

2 Apr, 2014

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A national survey of pharmacies has found that nearly 9,000 pharmacy jobs will be lost in the next
12 months because of cuts to pharmacy revenue.

The predicted job losses include 2,229 pharmacists and 4,400 pharmacy assistants. This equates to
more than 10% of professionally trained pharmacy staff working in community pharmacies across
Australia. These figures do not include job losses that have already occurred, with a previous
Guild report showing that pharmacies have shed some 3,200 staff in the past 12 months.

The new survey conducted by the Pharmacy Guild reveals the employment intentions over the
next 12 months of 944 pharmacies, representing 17.6% of the total industry, including 24.9% from
rural areas and 20% of the 425 single pharmacy towns.

The survey results also show that more than half of all pharmacies will be reducing pharmacist
hours and over two thirds will be reducing pharmacy assistant hours in the next twelve months.

As the Government reduces PBS prices for off-patent medicines through price disclosure,
pharmacies are directly impacted through reduced government funding for mark-up and the loss
of trading terms. This has been exacerbated by Simplified Price Disclosure, announced on the eve
of the last Federal election, without any consultation or recognition of its flow-on impact on
pharmacy remuneration.

The Guild estimates that pharmacy gross profits will fall by an average of $90,000 in 2014-15 due
to price disclosure. As a result, many pharmacies are being forced to reduce staff to remain viable.

The Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild, David Quilty, said: “This survey paints a worrying
picture for employment in community pharmacy. While the Guild and pharmacies strongly
support the Government getting maximum value for money from the PBS, recent changes to price
disclosure are having a very real impact on hard-working pharmacy professionals and the patients
they serve.”

Community pharmacy is Australia’s most accessible and frequently used health care destination.
Every year, there are around 300 million pharmacy visits with about 65,000 trained professionals
supplying medicines and providing a wide range of patient care services, support and advice.

Employment Snapshot – next 12 months
8,993 jobs lost across the sector including:
2,229 pharmacist jobs
4,400 pharmacy assistant
69% of pharmacies reducing staff hours.
3,200 jobs already lost in 2013

Jobs lost per state:
124 3,026 53 1,795 721 238 2,105 931

The full survey results are available in the news section at:

Media inquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910261

Employment Expectations Report

 2 Apr, 2014

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Executive summary
Community pharmacy is Australia’s most accessible and frequently used health care
destination. Every year, there are around 300 million pharmacy visits with about 65,000 trained
professionals supplying medicines and providing a wide range of patient care services, support
and advice.

As the Government reduces PBS prices for off-patent medicines through price disclosure,
pharmacies are directly impacted through reduced government funding for mark-up and the loss
of trading terms. This has been exacerbated by Simplified Price Disclosure, announced on the
eve of the last Federal election, without any consultation or recognition of its flow-on impact on
pharmacy remuneration.

The Guild estimates that pharmacy gross profits will fall by an average of $90,000 in 2014-15
due to price disclosure. As a result, many pharmacies are being forced to reduce staff to remain
viable. This is not only affecting hard-working pharmacy professionals, but also importantly the
patients they serve.

read more :

The Traditional Pharmacy Transformation For New Opportunity and Thought -To Expand Your Market, Perhaps “1+1

26 Apr, 2014

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Date/Issue of Original Article2014/3/17-2014/3/23/藥師週刊第1859期

Article Author(s):藥師林俐妏



The Committee Council of Community Pharmacies Association is organized by visiting Kaohsiung Bridge pharmacy activities.

Essay/Pharmacist: Lin, Li-Wen

On February 25, they organized the Federation Committee on Community Pharmacies, Bridge pharmacy for a visit in Kaohsiung for new activities. Besides, Southern Association of Community Pharmacy main and sub committee. For the members in the community pharmacies of the committee council, they come from Taipei, even come from Tai-Tung, Hualien , Kaohsiung with long distance to visit the Bridge pharmacies. We feel the future development of the community pharmacies that has a positive learning with enthusiasm. The pen-friend will visit the process to share the experience with all of you.

Firstly, the evolution of the Japanese pharmacies, we focus on the next step for operating a drugstore. An evolution of trend from the Japanese Pharmacies, we can see the gradual decrease of traditional way of pharmacies. This will change gradually into a large-scale franchise pharmacies complex in a main-stream. This is mainly for a diverse consumer choice and a more diverse service. This provides us to meet up a more diverse customer need and a business opportunity.

Secondly, “an aging at home” is derived from the pharmacies with professional service in next step : the degree of aging in Japan is ahead of Taiwan but this generation of old people who have their own independent economic condition. They do not accept children who are delivering to hospice by their arrangement. A proactive self-arrangement of a plan for care at home. To a certain extend of the Japanese Pharmacy, it is so-called a sterile chamber. This helps the surrounding of the senior nutrition level for assistance and a business opportunity for peripheral products to be available.

Thirdly, “for a surround of yourself on your own”, this is a way of thinking about the next exposition step. How to expand their own plate, every pharmacy will expect the next step. But, how to show the shop of an area? How to choose? This is a lot of knowledge. For the way of speaking for Bridge. He would choose his own surrounding of pharmacy outside to set up a small piece of area opening a shop.  Many people wonder for the fact that this is not only unable to expand their market. There may be “1 +1 < 2” of state for a short time. But the operator told us to surround themselves on their own. Perhaps, for a short period of time “1+1 < 2”. But this under because of various focus which would significantly increase the reputation of an area. The customer’s impression of the new Bridge pharmacy will be quickly retained in their minds. I think this strategy that is a new development in the North region of Kaohsiung quickly. No matter how large was the size of the store, this can be one of the main factors for success.

After the visit, the pen-friend keeps to think about it. The inevitable aging is a trend. This is an obvious derivative of business opportunity. But there is an adequate supply of financial resource, this can be quickly surrounded by a franchise store for expansion. For a general traditional pharmacy, this is how to survive or this never falls down? The Government is currently undertaking for the business community pharmacy. Will this be currently for a transformation of traditional pharmacy of a buffer? This is definitely worth of our thought.

( The author is a member of The Community Pharmacy Committee of the Council)

Reference:pharmacist weekly