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Pharmacists want CAM database by alendar


Pharmacists want CAM database

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                                                                                                                              contact John Griffith
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 Thursday 4 December, 2008            Editor: I Advertising:                    1

Pharmacists want CAM database                                                                                                      Stay on top
                                                                                                                                   of it all with
                                                                                                                                   advice that
Survey finds lack of easy access to information                                                                                     matters.
         MARK GERTSKIS               Dr Lynn Weekes said.                      and the resources that would
                                        “What this study has shown             be accessed to provide this
                                     is that GPs and pharmacists               information if it was in a
Pharmacists have                     want to know where they can               centralised database,” Dr
voiced the need                      easily access evidence-based              Morrow said.
                                     information on complementary                “Before we could agree to a
for a centralised                    medicines. When GPs and                   specific mechanism of providing
electronic                           pharmacists are with patients             that information we would want
                                     they don’t want to waste time             to see a lot more data about
information                          having to search for information          the actual information they’re
resource on                          about complementary medicines.            looking for… It may be more
                                     They would like a fast, one-              about education than setting
complementary                        stop location where they can              up a whole new database. It
and alternative                      find information about adverse             may be more about educating
                                     effects, interactions with other          pharmacists, GPs and consumer
medicines.                           medicines, contraindications and          as to where to actually find that
A recent survey that looked          clinical evidence.”                       information… If the information
at attitudes of health care             Pharmaceutical Society of              is already there, the cost of
professionals and consumers          Australia president Warwick               replicating that information
about CAM revealed that              Plunkett said a centralised               to provide yet another source
pharmacists and GPs want an          database would be a good idea             without appropriate education
easily-accessible database of        but questioned its practicality.          would be worthless.”
interactions and fact sheets            “I think pharmacists by and              The research found that
about individual complementary       large are in desperate need of            pharmacists consulted a
medicines integrated into their      more education and training,”             variety of sources, ranging
dispensing or prescribing            Mr Plunkett said.                         from publications such as the
software or on the Internet.            The idea of a centralised CAM          Australian Pharmaceutical
  According to preliminary           database did not receive instant          Formulary and Handbook, the
findings of the National             backing from the peak body                Australian Medicines Handbook
Prescribing Service (NPS)            representing the complementary            and complementary medicines
study, 37 per cent of consumers      medicines industry.                       textbooks to colleagues and                 Profile nominations
surveyed consulted a pharmacist         While admitting that                   Internet search engines, of
about CAM but pharmacists            information about specific                which Google was the most                      Let a colleague know
believed they did not have           medicines was not easy to find,            popular.
                                                                                                                              they’re doing a great
enough access to evidence-based      Complementary Healthcare                    According to the study, the
information and, as a result, were   Council of Australia (CHC)                most common information                      job by nominating them
not confident discussing the         executive director Dr Wendy               sought by pharmacists and GPs                 for a profile in Contact,
medicines with their patients.       Morrow said the specific details           was about the safety of CAM,                 our pharmacy assistant
  “We know that health care          about a centralised resource              their effectiveness, dosage and              publication. Email your
professionals are overloaded with    would need to be established              usage indications, while the
information and complementary        before the industry committed             top three medicines that they
                                                                                                                              nomination to Tegan
medicine is just one small           to it.                                    wanted more information on                       at tegan.fleming@
component of a large medicines          “One of the main issues for us         were coenzyme Q10, glucosamine       
industry,” NPS chief executive       is the definition of independent           and fish oil.
                                                                                                                             To advertise please
                                                                                                                            contact John Griffith
                                                                                                                              at John.Griffith@

 Thursday 4 December, 2008           Editor: I Advertising:                     2

PBS ‘misinformation’ warning Pharmacists renew bond with GPs
PHARMACY remuneration               health department bureaucrats             ACCESS to good primary                     in national media to the contrary,
may be further squeezed if          at APP earlier this year and by           healthcare by all Australians was          general practitioners and
the profession doesn’t address      treasury officials at the Joint            the central premise of a renewed           community pharmacists work
misinformation on the PBS, Kos      Medicines Policy Conference in            memorandum of understanding                very closely on a day-to-day
Sclavos has warned.                 Canberra last week.                       signed between the Pharmacy                basis,” Guild national president
  Fed up with speculation             “At best, it shows people are           Guild of Australia and the                 Kos Sclavos said.
that the PBS is growing out         out of touch and at worst, shows          Australian General Practice                   “They are essential elements
of control, the Guild president     there is mischief making is in            Network (AGPN) in Canberra                 of the primary health care team
said it was up to pharmacists       progress,” he said.                       last week.                                 whose single focus is the health
to remain vigilant to ensure          Mr Sclavos said pharmacists               Pharmacists and general                  of their communities.”
that facts on the PBS are in the    should not accept again being             practitioners agreed that good                “This reinforces both
public domain.                      made the target of cost cutting           health of Australians depended on          organisations’ commitment to
  “If you’re a newcomer to          given that the profession had             good primary health care, which            primary health care, to influence
Australian pharmacy, there is       already delivered everything              would be enhanced by cooperation           improvements in the sector,
some notion that the PBS is         the government had asked of               between the Guild and AGPN.                its systems and specifically
blowing out of control. If we’re    them.                                       The MOU underlined the                   the individual roles in it. We
not careful, sometimes industry       “Pharmacists have delivered             central role that both community           recognise that health is enhanced
speculation becomes fact unless     in fewer scripts as per our               pharmacies and general practices           when health professionals adopt
somebody disputes it with facts,”   agreement with the government,            played in the provision of primary         a multi-disciplinary and team
he said.                            and they’ve delivered on the              health care.                               approach to care planning and
  Mr Sclavos pointed to             PBS reforms. We’ve done our                 “At a grass-roots level, and             delivery,” AGPN chair Dr Emil
misinformation rolled out by        bit.”                                     despite the occasional portrayal           Djakic said.
                                                                                                                            To advertise please
                                                                                                                           contact John Griffith
                                                                                                                             at John.Griffith@

  Thursday 4 December, 2008         Editor: I Advertising:                     3

Anti-smoking drug linked to psychiatric side-effects
                                   compiled by the Adverse Drug              to these symptoms has                       to monitor any evidence of
                                   Reactions Advisory Committee              “neither been established nor               changes in behaviour, agitation,
A drug prescribed                  (ADRAC) and the Therapeutic               excluded”.                                  aggression, depression and
                                   Goods Administration (TGA),                 “Based on the totality of                 suicidal thoughts, while
to help relieve                    almost three quarters of the              data, we stand by the efficacy               suggesting doctors let patients
nicotine cravings                  complaints described psychiatric          and safety profile of Champix                know about the possible
                                   symptoms including depression,            when used as directed, as an                emergence of these symptoms.
has been linked                    aggression, agitation, abnormal           important treatment option to                 “It is important to understand
to serious                         dreams, insomnia, hallucination           help patients stop smoking,” the            the nature of spontaneous
                                   and anger.                                statement said.                             adverse event reporting,” the
neuropsychiatric                     There have also been reports              The report in the bulletin                Pfizer statement said.
side-effects in the                of suicidal and self-injurious            follows a revised warning                     “These reports can come from
                                   thoughts and behaviour related            issued by the US Food and                   any person or source ranging
nine months since                  to the drug, as well as 15 cases          Drug Administration (FDA)                   from consumers to health care
its inclusion on the               of seizures experienced by                in February about “serious                  providers, and from phone calls
                                   patients using varenicline.               neuropsychiatric symptoms”                  to internet postings. Often
Pharmaceutical                       “While some patients may                associated with varenicline, of             these reports lack sufficient
Benefits Scheme.                    have experienced these types              which it first alerted the public            medical information to enable
                                   of symptoms as a result                   in November last year.                      meaningful assessment.
VARENICLINE, manufactured          of nicotine withdrawal, it                  The FDA noted that while                  In addition, because the
by Pfizer and marketed as          appears increasingly likely               in most cases the symptoms                  information is reported
Champix in Australia, has been     with accumulating experience              developed during varenicline                voluntarily from a population
prescribed 210,000 times and       that there is an association              treatment, some patients                    of uncertain size, it is not
was the subject of 339 adverse     between varenicline and serious           started experiencing them after             possible to reliably estimate
reaction reports since the start   neuropsychiatric events,” the             they stopped taking the drug.               frequency or establish a causal
of the year.                       bulletin stated.                            Champix product information               relationship to drug exposure
  According to the latest issue      In response to the new report           does mention the occurrence                 based upon post-marketing
of the Australian Adverse          however, a Pfizer statement                of serious neuropsychiatric                 adverse event reporting.”
Drug Reactions Bulletin,           said that a causal relationship           symptoms and advises users

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