30 Sep, 2014
29 Sep, 2014
Spotting cancer early is key, but trying to do that — often when there are no symptoms — has been challenging.
Still, more and more evidence suggests that all cancers have a signature, or even a scent, that can be detected early. Now, researchers worldwide are testing simpler methods to spot the subtle signs of:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Oral cancer
- Other cancers
Some tests are already available.
“During the past couple of decades, scientists have learned a great deal about the cellular and molecular changes that distinguish cancers from normal tissues,” says Ted Gansler, MD. He’s the director of medical content at the American Cancer Society. “Most professionals who follow the field of cancer screening and diagnosis are excited about the implication of this … in eventually reducing cancer deaths.”
Breath Tests for Cancer
Your breath can reveal many clues about your health, and not simply whether you brushed recently. The air that you breathe out has hundreds of different chemicals, called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Many studies have shown that exhaled breath from people with lung and breast cancers has a distinctly different panel of “odors” or VOCs compared to the breath of people without such cancers.
Detailed lab experiments and a robust knowledge of cancer’s biochemistry helped fuel these findings. But some say you could also give a bit of credit to dogs.
Decades ago, there were a few word-of-mouth reports about dogs sniffing out cancer in their owners. Since then, “a growing number of scientific studies support the accuracy of dogs in detecting chemicals released by cancers,” Gansler says. Those include colon, breast, bladder, ovary, prostate, and lung cancer, among others.
Today, clinical trials are underway to find out if breath sensors and artificial noses based on dog-sniffing research can accurately detect certain lung cancers.
Peter Mazzone, MD, MPH, is director of the lung cancer program at Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute. He has studied breath and urine tests for lung cancer with encouraging results. “Our results have shown around 85% accuracy in distinguishing those with cancer in high-risk patients,” he says.
The tests are fairly simple and pose no risk, according to Mazzone. You just breathe out, and sensors in the equipment pick up your unique “breath print.” The odors in the breath sample are captured by the system and change colors when exposed to specific chemicals.
“Easy detection is the key,” says Hossein Borghaei, DO. He’s the chief of thoracic medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where a lung cancer breath test clinical trial is being done. “Exhaled breath collection is cheap and can be applied to a wide population relatively quickly and at low cost.”
A breath test may also help spot early breast cancer or help confirm an abnormal mammogram, according to research published online in the March 2014 issue of PLOS One.
Study co-author J. David Beatty, MD, says it’s possible that checking for VOCs in women without obvious symptoms “will help find breast cancer earlier and result in improved outcomes from treatments.” But he cautions that it’s too early to consider such testing as a replacement for mammograms. Beatty is the medical director of the clinical and bioinformatics program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle.
29 Sep, 2014
Antibiotic treatments from GPs ‘fail 15% of the time’,” BBC News reports. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers estimated that just under one in seven antibiotic prescriptions in 2011 “failed”.
This study examined the failure rates of antibiotics prescribed by GPs in the UK for common infections over a 21-year period – from 1991 to 2012. Most of the failures (94%) were cases where a different antibiotic needed to be prescribed within 30 days, suggesting that the first antibiotic had not worked.
In general, the overall failure rate remained fairly static over the course of three decades; 13.9% in 1991 only increased to 15.4% by 2012.
When considering specific types of infection in combination with specific classes of antibiotics, there were notable changes in failure rates. For example, when the antibiotic trimethoprim was prescribed for an upper respiratory tract infection, failure rates increased from 25% in 1991 to 56% in 2012. Reassuringly, failure rates with commonly prescribed antibiotics (such as amoxicillin) currently remain fairly low.
The study did not look at the reasons for antibiotic failure, but one reason could be antibiotic resistance – an increasing problem worldwide.
If you are prescribed an antibiotic, you can increase the chances of it working and decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance by ensuring that you take the full course as prescribed by your GP, even when you start to feel better.
Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from Cardiff and Oxford universities, and Abbott Healthcare Products in the Netherlands, who also funded the study.
While the overall reporting by the UK media was broadly accurate, many of the headlines were not.
The Daily Telegraph claimed that “Up to half of antibiotics ‘fail due to superbugs’”.
We don’t actually know the reason for needing another antibiotic prescription, as this was not examined in this study. Therefore, we don’t know that any of these apparent antibiotic failures were due to “superbugs” as no laboratory data was available.
The Daily Mail claims that, “Now one in seven patients cannot be cured using antibiotics”, which is also not correct. It could well be the case that many patients were cured through the use of alternative antibiotics.
25 Sep, 2014
MESSAGE FROM DATUK NANCY HO, PRESIDENT
Dear Fellow Pharmacists
Today is a special day in our Calendar. Today 25-9-14 pharmacists around the globe celebrate “World Pharmacists’ Day”.
This day is dedicated to pharmacists throughout the world in celebration of their contributions to healthcare services.
The theme for this year’s World Pharmacists’ Day is “Access to Pharmacists is Access to Healthcare”. This is indeed appropriate as Pharmacists today are in the forefront of health delivery.
“Pharmacists” have been described by the World Health Organisation and its sister organisation – the International Pharmacist Federation (FIP) – as a caregiver, communicator, decision-maker, teacher, lifelong learner, leader and manager. In short, they are dubbed the “Seven-Star Pharmacist” highly respected and accreditated to be one of the most trusted professionals by rating authorities such as the Gallup Polls. Thus we have a HUGE reputation to uphold!
Pharmacists in Malaysia rank high among the Health Ministry authorities as hardworking, passionate, competent and committed, thanks to the efficient team at the Pharmaceutical Services Division of the Ministry of Health. Pharmacists have been found to make a big positive difference in many arenas, be it in Hospital Pharmacy, Community Pharmacy, Academia, Manufacturing, Industry, Marketing, Research and Development, to name just a few
Yes, fellow pharmacists, we have reasons to be proud of our achievements. Let us celebrate!
Happy Pharmacists Day
Yours in MPS
Datuk Nancy Ho
22 Sep, 2014
WORLD PHARMACISTS DAY: 25TH SEP 2014
Every 25th of September is World Pharmacist Day; a day set aside to honour and appreciates the outstanding contributions of pharmacists to the betterment of health globally.
A Pharmacist is a professional trained to be honest with his patients about their health. He is trained to be accountable to his community and the world in general by putting their health and welfare above all things. He is resourceful, smart and fast in providing solutions to his patient’s health challenges. He is trained to handle situation with maturity. Highly and easily accessible to his people and this is why you can find him in every community. His utter confidence inspires his patients to believe every of his word and concur sorely to his instruction to achieve superb result. Three of his cardinal attributes are sincerity, trust and intelligence. And with these exceptional qualities he is and remains a blessing to his community, nation, region, continent and the world.
Some of the pharmacist functions are:
- To provide expertise about the composition of drugs including their chemical, biological and physical properties, and their manufacture and use.
- To educate consumers and patients on the use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications and advice physicians, nurses and other medical professionals on drug decision.
- To help patients to get well.
Pharmacists are the impetus behind the discovering of new and all medicines that saves lives, reduces morbidity, mortality and helps us to have a healthier and better world.
Pharmacists are the key that unlocks all you and I need to know about our medicines, health and good living. They are the world most accessible healthcare provider because they are very close to you; they are in your street, in your estate or perhaps a stone throw from your house. They are always with you in sickness and in health.
Pharmacists are not just drug experts; they are leaders, drug designers, clinicians, communicators, councillors, managers, role models, entrepreneurs, technocrats per excellence, motivators, change agents and blessings to our world.
The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS), working together with the Pharmaceutical Services Division of the Ministry of Health, would like to encourage pharmacists in Malaysia to celebrate this auspicious day at their own practice settings so as to uplift the spirits of the Pharmacist profession in this Country. This will certainly benefit the Country and its people towards better health.
On this day, pharmacists should celebrate our profession by organising activities that promote and advocate for the role of the pharmacist in improving health in accordance with the theme for this year’s celebration “Access to Pharmacists is Access to Health”.
And to create awareness of this special day, we provide a poster for you to print out and display at your pharmacy, your place of work, your office or any other conspicuous place.
PHARMACY WEEK IN CONJUCTION WITH WORLD PHARMACISTS DAY, 20-26TH SEPTEMBER 2014, PAHANG
11 Sep, 2014
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
We are at the threshold of the final quarter of the year and need to quickly try to achieve what we’ve set out to do at the beginning of 2014.
We’ve reached many milestones this year with a Strategic Meeting held at the beginning of the year to conduct a SWOT analysis of the Society.
The Annual General Meeting saw many Council members being elected into office and they wasted no time to get the ball rolling into working with the hardworking Bahagian members to look into Good Dispensing Practice and Good Distribution Practice. The Dispensing Separation project is also well on its way to the finishing line, thanks to all the hard work put in by all concerned.
On 25th September 2014, the World Pharmacist Day will be celebrated throughout the Pharmacy World. Here in Malaysia, much emphasis is paid to propagating the theme “Access to pharmacist is access to Healthcare”. Let us work together to celebrate our Day.
For All FAPA Congress Participants, we are coming to the final stage of our preparations and count down is in progress.
We shall be grateful if you could kindly take note of the following details.
- 9th October 2014 – There shall be a Ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:00pm for the Poster Exhibition by the Honorable Datuk Ewon Ebin Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in Magellan Sutera Hotel. This is especially important for exhibitors to take note that they set up all the exhibition by then.
- Please wear Business attire (e.g. lounge suit) for the Opening Ceremony by the Sabah Chief Minister with Health Minister giving a keynote address. A tour of the booths will take place after the group photo immediately after the Opening Ceremony. There will be a rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony at 11:00am in the Magellan Ballroom.
- Please wear National costumes for the Friendship Night on 10th October 2014. It will be held in another Hall and punctuality for transfers is requested.
- Please wear something to match the “Gold and Silver” theme of the Gold and Silver Gala Banquet on 11th October 2014. Evening gowns and black ties are preferred.
- A special luggage tag is featured hereafter for all delegates to download from the website and attach to their luggage for easy recognition by Customs Officers.
- Kindly bring exercise gear for morning tai-chi exercise.
Pharmacists are in the forefront of Health and Wellness and let us continue to work together to make a difference.
Yours in MPS
Datuk Nancy Ho
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.
22 Sep, 2014
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia rejects the Competition Policy Review’s draft recommendations
that regulations governing the ownership and location of pharmacies be removed.
The Federal Government has made its position clear on this issue both before and since the
election – expressly supporting the current pharmacy ownership model and the Location Rules.
The current model of community pharmacy serves Australian health care consumers extremely
well – an assessment reaffirmed repeatedly in published public opinion polls.
The Executive Director of the Guild, David Quilty, said: “Australia’s 5450 community pharmacies,
currently struggling under the pressures of price disclosure, need certainty and stability – not a
constant push to abolish a system that’s working and replace it with an economic theory.”
The regulation around pharmacy including the Location Rules, ensures that health care consumers
can get timely and equitable access to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines wherever they
live in Australia. The regulation has a clear public benefit, to which the competition review panel
seems completely oblivious.
It is disappointing that the competition panel, while acknowledging the negative impact such
“reforms” would have on pharmacy, still went ahead and recommended changes that would
destroy the investments and livelihoods of pharmacy owners, the jobs of their staff, and patient
access to many local pharmacies.
The Guild will be making a formal submission to the Competition Review in response to the draft
Media inquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910261
16 Sep, 2014
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is committed to the continuing professional development of community
pharmacists. To assist pharmacists in reaching their annual Pharmacy Board of Australia requirements for
professional development, the Guild has made their online education service, myCPD, available free to all
The Guild is one of Australia’s largest providers of online pharmacy education. In August, 2014, the Guild
recorded over 6,000 course completions by around 18,000 pharmacists. The quality of myCPD’s content has
been bolstered through partnerships with leading experts in the health sector, including Beyond Blue,
Boehringer Ingelheim, Australian Asthma Council, AstraZeneca and the Heart foundation.
myCPD provides access to over thirty five educational activities accredited for Group 2 CPD points. There
is a strong focus on education that supports the ongoing sustainability and growth of your pharmacy.
Modules cover topics such as how to run professional services in your pharmacy, how to effectively utilise
available pharmacy practice incentives and how to ensure you meet current industrial relations requirements
in your store.
To complement their business focus, the Guild has also made available more than fifteen clinical modules
which cover topics such as disease state education, medication management and therapeutic updates for
new drugs. Pharmacists are also able to submit answers to Australian Pharmacist, Pharmacy News and AJP
assessment items via myCPD.
By utilising the self-record function and the extensive library of online education modules, pharmacists are
able to use myCPD to centralise all of their professional development efforts. This simplifies the
pharmacists reporting of CPD activity to the Pharmacy Board.
In the coming months, the Pharmacy Guild Academy, the educational wing of the Guild, will be
releasing a suite of online education modules via myCPD as part of the Guild’s pharmacy
transformation support for Guild members. These modules are aimed at assisting pharmacies in
maximising the opportunities available to them to buffer the effects of PBS reform and growing cost
pressures. The first module is called ‘Pharmacist-Only Health Solutions – Preparing your pharmacy for change’.
This module will assist pharmacists in enhancing their service offering to customers through their
provision of PharmacistOnly Medicines.
To register for or access myCPD, visit guild.org.au/academy/pharmacists
Pharmacy organisations looking to be involved in the development of future pharmacist training modules
should contact Adam Casey at the Guild Pharmacy Academy on 03 9810 9945.
15 Sep, 2014
A joint team from the University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University have taken out this
year’s Pharmacy Guild of Australia National Student Business Plan Competition.
The winning team of Jessica Cahill, Jamie Pisani and Cyd Soriano won with their fictitious
“Primelink Pharmacy” which featured two innovative programs – one providing telehealth
services to patients aged over 65, and another involving a Sun Care app aimed at reducing the
incidence of skin cancer in the region.
The winners were announced at the PBN 2014 conference in Melbourne over the weekend. The
two runners-up were:
La Trobe University – Pharmcare Pharmacy – Linda Alexander, Sumeet Khakh and Sylvia Teh
Queensland University of Technology – Complete Pharmacy Townsville – Elena Newey,
Yongmin Kim, Imran Bhagoo and Jesse Flemming
These three teams successfully progressed through the rigours of the competition which
commenced in May, by firstly producing exciting and innovative business plans and then
progressing through the quarter final and semi-final rounds to be named the top three teams for
They had to complete online financial questions, write additional short answer essays about
business finance and operations and pitch their business ideas to the judges before being selected
to pitch to the PBN delegates and the final judging team.
Following the live pitches, each team met the judging panel to answer some post-pitch questions
about their business ventures. All three teams should be extremely proud of their achievements.
The National Student Business Plan Competition is an initiative designed to promote creative
entrepreneurship among pharmacy students and encourage the development of viable, innovative,
pharmacist-owned community pharmacies.
The competition was open to all pharmacy schools across Australia and this year’s finalists have
risen to the top of the 18 entries received.