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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2006
professional pharmacy professional updates to use the material we send out every 13 weeks and apply our processes in their own pharmacies. These materials are devel- oped and reviewed by Australian experts in their field and are consistent with cur- rent guidelines. They provide an opportu- nity for pharmacists to reflect on various groups of patients and how they are cur- rently being managed in their practice. For example, in topic three we identi- fied veterans who had diabetes but were not taking cardiovascular protective med- icines such as an ACEI, lipid lowering medicine or antiplatelet agent. Our letters to the GPs, identifying these patients and asking the GP to consider adding in one or more of these agents, led to significant increases in the dispensing of these agents to these veterans. Is it possible for pharmacists to identify their patients with diabetes, look in their records to see if they are taking cardio- vascular protective medicines and to iden- tify the GP in charge of their care? I sug- gest that the answer to this question is yes. If the patient is not being prescribed these cardiovascular protective medi- cines, the pharmacist could use the Vet- erans’ MATES material on the topic to dis- cuss with the GP which of their patients might benefit through their use. To use another example, topic six con- sidered patients with COPD. Nearly half of all identified veterans with COPD used two or more different types of inhaler devices. How often would you review inhaler technique with your patients who have COPD? This reflective practice is the key to fur- ther developing the contribution phar- macy makes to healthcare. While it can involve more time, it is important we find that time. The materials being produced every 13 weeks through the Veterans’ MATES Program are a starting point. Perhaps a pre-registration candidate, a pharmacy student on placement or a staff member could conduct the search in your pharmacy computer for patients who are relevant to each module and then, within the pharmacy, have a discussion about their overall management. ITHIN a decade, Australians will be able to find out how good their genes are at fighting disease, which envi- ronmental risks they are susceptible to and steps they should take to prevent the onset of ill health. By the turn of the cen- tury it will be commonplace to have a bad combination of genes repaired to avoid disease, according to a new report by Research Australia. Then, now...imagine was compiled in con- sultation with 10 of the country’s leading health and medical researchers including two Nobel Prize winners and four Aus- tralians of the Year. Professor Ian Frazer, 2006 Australian of the Year, who discovered the technol- ogy that led to the newly released cervical cancer vaccine, said the upshot will be the ability to develop personalised healthcare plans—a roadmap for health from the day of birth. As a result of DNA technology, ‘smart A roadmap to upcoming major medical advances W The Veterans’ MATES program is at a huge disadvantage compared to the local pharmacist in that we are working remotely from the practice settings. Despite significant time invested by the program team in consultation with all medical organisations, we do not have the relationships that pharmacists enjoy with their patients and with their local doctors. The targets of our activities are veterans and their medical practitioners. The issues identified are not however unique to veterans and the information provided is as relevant to pharmacists as it is to medical practitioners. The quality of the material is high and, when applied to specific patients in this active way, it will lead to better patient care through high quality pharmacy practice. References available on request * Professor Gilbert is director, Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia drugs’ will increasingly be used to target cancer at the source. One of the first smart drugs, Herceptin, binds to the surface of specific breast cancer cells and slows their ability to reproduce. With further research, more smart drugs with increas- ing power will be available for all manner of cancers, reducing the trauma of treat- ment and dramatically improving out- comes. According to the report, the world-first cervical cancer vaccine is only the first of its kind. Scientists predict viruses will be found to play a role in many other can- cers and, in the course of the next few decades, we can expect a raft of new vac- cines to prevent their onset. Vaccines for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and diabetes are being developed-with trials about to start for a new vaccine for type 1 diabetes. The report can be downloaded from www.thankyouday.org 28 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 87 NOVEMBER 2006 ¦ Injunction impedes independent review recent Federal Court injunction has stopped the publication of an inde- pendent review criticising claims about an over-the-counter medicine. The review by Auspharm Consumer Health Watch questioned the efficacy of Ginkgo Biloba, which is claimed to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus and vertigo. The manufacturer of the product sought an injunction to stop the report. The injunc- tion was granted because the review process was called into question. Australian Prescriber editorDr JS Dowden said that the review method was similar to that used by other medical journals, including AP. A problem arose because the reviewers did not adhere exactly to the process they had outlined on their web- site. No judgement was made on the sci- entific merit of the review. A ¦