25th Singapore Pharmacy Congress, Pioneering Care For Tomorrow.

Dear colleagues and friends,

On behalf of the Organising Committee, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to the 25th Singapore Pharmacy Congress, which will be held at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on 12-13 September 2015.

The Congress theme for this year is “Pioneering Care For Tomorrow”. It is aptly chosen to demonstrate the commitment of pharmacists in bringing the best and latest evidence-based care to patients in the not so distant future. For the past few months, the Scientific Committee, under the able leadership of Dr Adeline Wee and Dr Chew Eng Hui, have researched intensively to put up a comprehensive programme that will include care integration, new pharmacy practice models, polypharmacy issues, innovative technology or process ideas, interesting basic science topics (relevant to practice), workforce and productivity developments in pharmacy areas. We sincerely hope that these topics will be beneficial in understanding current healthcare landscape and prime pharmacy profession on future opportunities to push the frontiers of pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical science.

This year also marks the 110th Founding Anniversary of Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore and Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore. As a part of this celebration, both bodies will co-organise the Congress to signify rekindled ties between Academics and Practitioners. A grand Gala dinner will also be organised on Saturday night to commemorate this joyous occasion. I hope you can join us in this fun-filled dinner to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company! Details of the event will be unveiled soon.

In closing, I wish to extend my warmest welcome and hope the 25th Singapore Pharmacy Congress will bring you an enriching and memorable experience!

Thank you


For more information: http://www.pharmacycongress.org.sg/

Death toll from water park inferno may rise: doctor

Death toll from water park inferno may rise: doctor

picture from: http://cdn2.independent.ie/incoming/article31335326.ece/4ff8d/ALTERNATES/w620/taiwan007.jpg


TAIPEI–The death toll from the June 27 colored powder blast at a New Taipei water park may increase as more than 200 seriously injured people still remain in intensive care units, a doctor warned Saturday.

Society must understand that severe burns and inhalation injuries can easily lead to death, according to Tsai Ming-chung, secretary-general of the Taiwan Medical Association.

Even if they are under the attentive care of healthcare workers, severely burned patients will probably still sucumb to their wounds, he said.

He said the blaze was a very serious accident. Before this, there had never been another country that had experienced a similar dust explosion accident that left more than 500 people burned, with over 200 in intensive care units.

After passing the acute phase in the first week, the patients are entering their second week, which is a peak period for systemic infections, he said.

If the patients can survive through one month, their conditions will become more stable, he said.

According to tallies provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare Saturday, of the 495 people injured in the searing inferno who were taken to hospitals for treatment, two have died, while 449 remain hospitalized, 276 of whom are being treated in intensive care units.

As of Saturday afternoon, 230 of the patients were in critical condition, the ministry said.

Reference: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2015/07/05/439938/Death-toll.htm

Doctors urge NHI to include Chinese medicine treatments

Doctors urge NHI to include Chinese medicine treatments


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TAIPEI, Taiwan — For patients seeking Chinese medicine treatment on a more regular basis than Western-style medical treatment, cheaper medical bills for overnight surgery may become a reality as a group of Chinese medicine doctors are urging the National Health Insurance Administration (NHI Administration, 健保署) to include Chinese medicine treatment for several major illnesses into the National Health Insurance Program (NHI Program), according to the United Evening News yesterday.

During the initial implementation of the NHI Program, officials considered including Chinese medicine treatments, but later rejected the idea as regulations demand that medical treatment be based on “scientific evidence” for inclusion in the public health system.

According to Liu Lin-yi (劉林義), chief of the NHI Administration, around 7 million patients seek Chinese medical treatment every year. For severe illnesses, patients must either pay around NT$2,300 per night as inpatients for overnight surgery, or are forced to go to the hospital as outpatients on a daily basis, which often involves spending much time waiting in line.

Owing to these factors, a health care campaign group, the Alliance for NHI Program Oversight (民間監督健保聯盟) joined with Chinese medicine doctors to petitioned the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW, 衛福部), urging the government to agree to provide financial support for patients undergoing outpatient treatments.

Patients often need treatment for major diseases involved in the program, including cancer, strokes, head injuries, bone fractures, and dementia. “Patients should not be waiting in line everyday just because the medical fee is too high,” said Yang Hsien-hong (楊賢鴻), director of the Chinese Medicine Department of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (林口長庚醫院).

Trial Program Looks to NT$300 Million

According to the United Evening News, the first step is to conduct a trial program at 10 hospitals around the nation. The NHI Program will cover NT$2,500 for each bed. An estimated NT$300 million will be required.

Ko Fu-yang (柯富揚), secretary-general of the National Union of Chinese Medial Doctors’ Association, R.O.C. said that this would not only benefit patients, but also the research and development of Chinese medicine treatments, as doctors will be able to train and learn from more clinical practices.

In response, MHW officials said that they will take the petition into consideration once it is received.

Reference: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2015/06/27/439334/Doctors-urge.htm

Taiwan Formosa Water Park explosion injures hundreds

Taiwan Formosa Water Park explosion injures hundreds

picture from: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/1274F/production/_83899557_027914286-1.jpg

More than 500 people were injured when fire ripped through crowds at a party at an amusement park outside Taiwan’s capital Taipei.

Saturday’s incident at the Formosa Water Park is believed to have happened when a coloured powder ignited after being discharged onto the crowd.

Footage showed people panicking and screaming. Inflatable water toys were shown being used as stretchers.

Some 190 people are seriously hurt – 182 are in intensive care.

Some of them breathed in the powder, causing respiratory problems.

Local media said organisers of the Color Play Asia event had been taken in for questioning by prosecutors.

Skin ‘gone’

Footage of the incident shows a party in full swing when suddenly fire erupts.

It was “hell”, a male student who sustained minor injuries said, according to AFP news agency.

“There was blood everywhere, including in the pool where lots of the injured were soaking themselves for relief from the pain.”

His girlfriend added: “I saw lots of people whose skin was gone.”

The fire was quickly brought under control, but the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

The authorities believe something that caught fire caused the coloured powder spray or dust – used to create a party atmosphere – to explode.

The substance is also used in other countries. It is made of dried corn and can be highly flammable, our correspondent says.

The 519 victims were sent to 41 hospitals, and 413 are still in hospital, say municipal authorities.

The incident occurred about 20:30 (12:30 GMT). More than 1,000 people were near the stage at the time.

The fire department said: “Our initial understanding is this explosion and fire… was caused by the powder spray. It could have been due to the heat of the lights on the stage”.

Soaring temperatures

Many people flocked to water parks on Saturday as temperatures reached 36.6C (98F) in Taipei and as high as 38C in other parts of Taiwan, says the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taipei.

New Taipei City’s mayor, Eric Chu, ordered an immediate shutdown of the water park pending an investigation.

Taiwan has suffered a series of deadly fires in the past couple of years due partly to poor enforcement of building and fire safety codes and illegal construction, our correspondent adds.

A fire earlier this year killed six firefighters, prompting orders to rectify illegally constructed buildings and upgrade firefighters’ equipment and training.

Reference: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33300970

PSA15 – Leading pharmacy innovation

PSA15 – Leading pharmacy innovation

PSA15 will help shape the future of pharmacy.

PSA15 will help your broaden your career and secure new income streams.

The conference will deliver an engaging and integrated program to inspire new directions in pharmacist care, celebrate local innovation and promote implementation of consumer-focused health services.

Learn from experts in the industry and be part of forward thinking discussions about the future of pharmacy in Australia.


Learn more: http://www.psa.org.au/psa15

Medicine wholesaler Symbion recalls three types of children’s medicine due to choking hazard

Medicine wholesaler Symbion recalls three types of children’s medicine due to choking hazard

picture from: http://babyology.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/medicne-recall-cover-800×417.jpg

An Australian medicine wholesaler has urged parents to check any children’s medicine they have recently purchased, with concerns three products present a choking hazard.

Medicine wholesaler Symbion has issued an urgent recall of “Ibuprofen Children’s Suspension” medicine sold under the brand names Pharmacy Choice and Chemmart.

The products come in 200ml bottles.

Symbion said the Pharmacy Choice medicine with batch numbers IA45162, IA50044 and IA50026 had been recalled, with expiry dates of May and June 2017.

The Chemmart medicine had the same expiry period with batch numbers IA45163 and IA50030.

The 200ml Chemmart concentrated children’s paracetamol for children aged 6–12 should also be returned if it has an expiry date of October 2016.

The company said although there was nothing wrong with the medicine itself, bottle grooves could break off when people opened the bottles, creating a choking hazard for small children.

Symbion made the decision to issue a recall after consulting with the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

A spokeswoman for Symbion said no other batches were affected.

“It’s important to underline to consumers that there is no problem with the medicine itself, and the packaging fault is limited only to the batches we have identified,” she said.

“We immediately consulted with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and notified them of our intention to issue a voluntary recall, and that has been supported with advertising.”

She said the child-proof cap was to blame for the safety hazard.

“We first became aware of the issue when we received feedback from two consumers who had experienced the problem when opening the bottles,” she said.

Customers with the products are being advised to return them to the place of purchase for a refund.

Reference: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/childrens-medicine-can-present-choking-hazard-wholesaler-warns/6596818

The manipulation of medical research

The manipulation of medical research

picture from: http://assets.nst.com.my/images/articles/07nt14pills.transformed.jpg


IN a world already choking on half-truths, the one emerging from pharmaceutical research and testing is really shocking. News of this process being fabricated currently circulating in medical circles is sending shivers down the spine of many. And it has ostensibly led to further speculation and readjustments of prescriptions.

A doctor in Kuala Lumpur, for instance, has just told one of his patients that this was one of his suspicions all along as he asked the patient to stop taking the life-long cholesterol-lowering drug that had been prescribed. He would not object if the patient continued with herbal formulas instead.

Lest accusations of spreading misleading information and creating panic start flying towards me, let me make it clear that I am merely stating the side effects of what has already been written in influential international publications. Though whispers of “falsehoods” in medical research were aplenty before, it became somewhat full-blown just recently when the editor-in-chief of United Kingdom-based The Lancet, dubbed the world’s most respected medical journal, wrote rather bluntly that a shocking amount of published research is unreliable at best, if not completely false.

Dr Richard Horton, in his editorial comment in the April 11 issue, wrote that “the case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” Quoting remarks made at an earlier symposium, he incredibly declared: “A lot of what is published is incorrect” and “poor methods get results”. The message was like a massive bomb explosion.

What Dr Horton is saying, according to independent online newspaper nsnbc international last week, is that major pharmaceutical companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug company to get further grants.

“At least half of all such tests are worthless or worse he claims. As the drugs have a major effect on the health of millions of consumers, the manipulation amounts to criminal dereliction and malfeasance,” it said in a news story headlined “Shocking report from medical insiders.”

The comments from readers that followed this posting underlined the distress. One said “I believe this is true, because this is happening in whole science, not just medicine. And the science gets tied with business more and more closely every day. If no one sees the danger of this, we may as well be doomed. Money literally do buy everything today. Even research.”

Another said: “The medical establishment’s relationship to health is, in many respects, no different than the military establishment’s relationship to peace. Without wars they’d go out of business. Both entities are to a certain extent, in the business of keeping themselves in business. Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).” To which, another reader replied: “Yes …the simplicity of your statement is perfect and in line with simple other facts like why would the pharmaceutical (firms) want a cure for cancer. A 10-billion dollar industry with a lot of people drawing six-figure incomes from it. A cure is the last thing they want.”

The same anguish is being felt in the medical fraternity in Malaysia, which already has to deal with the high cost of medicines, with one expressing it this way:

“Researchers and medical experts sponsored by big pharma have been influencing doctors to prescribe many drugs that don’t work as claimed. No wonder two thirds of diabetic patients are poorly controlled despite being on multiple drugs.”

But many said the drugs they prescribe are approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States which imposes very strict controls on medicines.

Another doctor in Kuala Lumpur, DKS, said: “All new drugs will undergo various levels of testing from lab studies, animal to human. Since most of the drugs are discovered and manufactured in Europe and USA, the studies are conducted within their domiciles. Countries outside of the western world will accept these drugs based on the evaluation of their studies and almost never local studies are done to look at its effectiveness and side effects. Should there be bad adverse reaction then companies will pull them out of the shelves before regulators do it.”

Whatever it is, the debate is sure to rage on. Just as Dr Horton had succinctly put it “The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.”

Reference : http://www.nst.com.my/node/91145

New service provides consultation with your doctor by telephone or video

New service provides consultation with your doctor by telephone or video

picture from: http://www.itwire.com/media/k2/items/cache/37d600e23688f7ac57749e0a5681fc1a_M.jpg

Telstra Health has launched a new GP telemedicine service – ReadyCare – that facilitates access to a doctor using phone or video to receive advice, treatment, diagnosis and prescriptions.

Registered doctors have been employed by the service which will operate 24-hours a day from a purpose built telemedicine centre in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. The service can be accessed by calling 1800 READYCARE (1800732392) or through the ReadyCare app.

Shane Solomon, Managing Director of Telstra Health, said patients calling ReadyCare will first speak to a telemedicine assistant to determine if the call is suitable for a telemedicine consultation and a GP will then call them back at a time that suits the patient.

“We’ve seen what the digital revolution has meant for other sectors and we believe that healthcare in Australia will benefit from eHealth to better serve all Australians,” Solomon said.


“This will provide choice and convenience for people to access a GP regardless of their location or the time of day, particularly in circumstances when they find it hard to access a face to face doctor. Patients can talk with a GP using phone or video, upload images of their condition and receive comprehensive care. 

“ReadyCare is based on technology and processes used by Medgate, the leading telemedicine provider in Europe, who currently conduct more than 4,300 telemedicine consultations daily. The evidence-based clinical guidelines have been refined to meet Australian conditions, with input from a Clinical Advisory Panel and delivered by qualified, Australian based doctors.”

Gianin Zogg, who leads Medgate’s international business and has been involved with Medgate since its inception 15 years ago, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of ReadyCare, with Dr Amandeep Hansra appointed Chief Medical Officer. 

The service will be advised by a Clinical Advisory Panel consisting of:

•    Dr Chris Mitchell AM, past President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

•    Associate Professor Bruce Chater OAM, past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

•    Associate Professor Sally McCarthy, past President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine

Solomon said that while ReadyCare will employ the doctors at the time of launch, the long term aim is for ReadyCare to be available for any GP to use with their regular patients.

“We’re introducing and operating ReadyCare in the first instance to demonstrate how telemedicine services can be provided safely and address issues such as timely access to care, but ultimately we want it to be a platform that will enable GPs to provide convenient and accessible telemedicine services for their own patients.

“ReadyCare is intended to be a complementary service, not a replacement for a regular face to face GP appointment. Telemedicine has proven very effective in delivering quality care for patients in other parts of the world, especially the USA and Europe and we are confident Australians will embrace the service.”

At today’s ReadyCare launch, Telstra Health also announced that Cover-More Group, Australia’s leading specialist travel insurance and medical assistance provider, had signed on as a foundation customer of the telemedicine service.

Cover-More Group Chief Executive Officer, Peter Edwards, said ReadyCare’s service meant that Australians travelling overseas with Cover-More would have the opportunity to consult an Australian-based GP regardless of where they were. 

“It is a natural extension of what our customer value proposition is about. We can offer our customers the chance to talk to an Australian doctor rather than present to a foreign doctor in a foreign country with a foreign standard of health care. It’s another way that we can keep our customers safe and healthy and allow them to keep travelling.”

According to Edwards, Cover-More currently provides travel insurance to more than 1.8 million Australian travellers every year and has greater than 40% share of the national travel insurance market.

Reference: http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/telecoms-and-nbn/68512-new-service-provides-consultation-with-your-doctor-by-telephone-or-video



picture from: http://ajp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dollarphotoclub_72809584-1140×641.jpg

Major global organisations for pharmacists, doctors and nurses, including FIP, have adopted a new set of ethical principles, designed as an important step towards the protection of healthcare workers and patients in situations of unrest.

Ethical principles of health care in times of armed conflict and other emergencies is a first-of-its-kind code of ethics that provides a common core for these healthcare professions.

Organisations signing the code in Geneva, Switzerland, last night were the International Pharmaceutical Federation, the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, the International Committee of Military Medicine and the International Federation of Medical Students Association, representing over 30 million healthcare workers.

Consistent information gathered by the International Committee of the Red Cross through its Health Care in Danger initiative has shown that, in armed conflict and other emergencies, healthcare personnel are often coerced into acting against healthcare ethics, or are victims of threats and subjected to deprivation of liberty for acting in accordance with the ethical principles of their profession.

It is expected that this widely adopted new code of ethics can be used as a significant negotiation tool for healthcare personnel (in and beyond the humanitarian domain) with the authorities and other relevant actors.

Its principles provide guidance on relations between patients and healthcare workers, and on issues such as discrimination, abuse of privileges, confidentiality and torture.

“In times of unrest, health professionals face hugely challenging situations, and ethics can be put under pressure, which may adversely affect our prime concern: the care of patients,” says Luc Besançon, FIP General Secretary and CEO.

This new code of ethics reflects our strong commitment to show a united front against all forms of violation of ethical principles. The principles in this code provide clear guidance and can be referred to whenever needed.”

Dr Xavier Deau, President of the World Medical Association, says this tool is a major advancement for the protection of health professionals and patients.

“As health professionals, our primary task is to preserve health and to alleviate suffering, with humanity and dignity of the person concerned, with no discrimination of any kind, whether in times of peace or of armed conflict or other emergencies,” he says.

Reference: http://ajp.com.au/news/fip-doctors-nurses-adopt-new-principles-for-conflict-emergencies/



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The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) will be holding its 3rd annual Colloquium in Canberra on Tuesday 25 August, 2015. The theme for the year is: “The secret ingredient: can we turn up the heat on experiential education?”

As contemporary pharmacy practice evolves in response to regulatory, educational, professional and societal needs so too must experiential learning for students and interns.

When the Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy degree programs in Australia and New Zealandwere reviewed in 2013, clinical placements generated robust discussion and debate.

While all stakeholders regarded experiential placements as extremely important to prepare pharmacy students for professional practice, there was debate regarding:

  • the quality and quantity of such training;
  • how best to deliver and assess experiential training; and
  • funding imperatives.

Another challenge identified in comparing experiential education across Universities and Programs was the lack of standard terminology to describe the various experiential education options.

The importance of the integration of practice and theory through experiential placements is embedded in the Accreditation Standards. These emphasise student outcomes and performance rather than being prescriptive about the duration of experiential learning.

Students and interns currently undertake experiential learning in a range of settings facilitated from within the profession by pharmacists and by other health providers. A key focus of experiential learning is to turn the facts or theory learned into value to meet individual patient needs.

Experiential learning also plays a role in developing professionalism and transitioning from the student role to a practising professional. This involves students’ learning in environments that are as close as possible to real life situations with all the uncertainty, diversity and complexity that actual practice involves.

The learning scenarios students experience should be authentic to the context within which they will practice and reflect progression of learning with increasing decision making and responsibility. The experience should be informed by the curriculum.

This is to ensure the theoretical base has been laid so that students can experience the placement appropriate to their stage of knowledge and skill acquisition.

Importantly, an understanding that it is not just the application of discipline specific knowledge, but the use of critical thinking, communication skills, inter-professional practice and patient-centred care.

Experiential learning must prepare students for current and future roles to meet evolving societal and workforce needs, commensurate with an ageing population, increasing multimorbidity and complex social and mental health needs.

This necessitates exposure to the workplace, to patients, to carers and to people working in other health professions. It needs to reflect that care will be delivered in different settings – people’s homes, residential aged care, hospitals, ‘integrated medical homes’ and that technological advances are transforming delivery of care.

Not surprisingly a wide range of structural models for experiential learning exist. These vary from university to university, and across student year levels and the internship year, including face to face (in-class and off-site) and simulated activities.2

The APC 2015 Colloquium is an opportunity to discuss the intersection of education and practice, network with a diverse range of colleagues and hear experiences from outside pharmacy and overseas.