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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : March 2005
news news Cricket and fellowship T eam Victoria (above), lead by Cap- tain Steve White, played against New South Wales, led by Captain Murray Le Lievre, at the recent Chemists Inter- state Cricket Challenge Shield at Mel- bourne’s Wesley College cricket ground. The NSW team’s final score of 8 for 152 preceded an afternoon of spirited play in which Victoria scored 7 for 173 after 50 overs—a well-deserved victory to Victoria which now holds the ‘Shield’. The competition between the two states now stands at two wins apiece. ‘Player of the match’ was awarded to Jeff Facey, the ‘Best Batting’ award to Murray Le Lievre and the ‘Best Bowling’ award to Victoria’s David Ford. ¦ he Therapeutic Goods Administra- tion (TGA) has introduced new mea- sures regarding the prescription of Cox-2 inhibitors, following an urgent re-evalua- tion of the drug class prompted by last year’s withdrawal of Vioxx. The TGA now requires manufacturers of Cox-2 inhibitors to place new, high- lighted, explicit warnings in product infor- mation about the increased risk of car- diovascular adverse events from the drugs. The TGA is advising people who are taking more than 200mg a day of cele- coxib (Celebrex) or more than 15mg a day of meloxican (Mobic, Movalis) to review their treatment regime with their doctors. The TGA believes most people using these drugs will be taking low doses which already meet this advice, but some patients, particularly those with rheuma- New safety measures for COX-2s T toid arthritis or a rare bowel condition, may be taking up to 800mg of celecoxib per day, and some patients with arthritis may be taking more than 15mg of meloxi- cam a day. It proposes to cancel the registration of parecoxib (Dynastat) due to its cardiovas- cular risk, as well as withdraw the indica- tion of management of arthritis of valde- coxib (Valdyne, Dynoral). Valdecoxib has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events in cardiac bypass graft patients. The use of valdecoxib for five days as an analgesic in patients with- out increased cardiovascular risk will remain. The TGA has also proposed to greatly limit the approved uses of two other Cox- 2 inhibitors, etoricoxib and lumiracoxib, which have not yet been marketed in Australia. ¦ AMA ignores pact to settle differences privately T HE Australian Medical Association has ignored an agreement with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to discuss matters of difference in private rather than airing concerns in the media. The two professional bodies made the agreement at a high-level July 2004 meet- ing, yet no other meeting has since been held and the AMA has maintained its vit- riolic attack on the pharmacy profession and especially the Guild. In his most recent broadside, AMA national president Bill Glasson renewed his attack on the Guild in a column published by Australian Doctor (18 February 2005). In it, Dr Glasson wrote: ‘Prescribing the morning after pill and diagnosing depres- sion are just two of the more prominent examples of how the Guild has encroached into GP’s territory in the past year’. This is despite the fact that the decision to down-schedule levonorgestrel can only be made by the National Drug and Poi- sons Scheduling Committee and that any pharmacy involvement with depressive patients would only be on the basis of complementing the role of GPs. Another recent attack came in the form of calls to scrap the home medicines review scheme (HMR) by AMA national president Bill Glasson, as reported by Aus- tralian Doctor. Reporting on a study of home medi- cines reviews in the UK following dis- charge from hospital after emergency admission, Australian Doctor said the study demonstrated a 30 per cent increase of readmission of very elderly people. Yet according to Pharmacy Guild of Australia director of rural and profes- sional services, Lance Emerson, there was no scientific basis for the criticism because 142 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 MARCH 2005 the UKservice studied was completely dif- ferent to the Australian scheme. ‘The fact is, the review referred to applied to patients only on discharge, with [HMR] services delivered by hospital pharmacists. In Australia, after referral from a GP, they are conducted by a com- munity pharmacist. Furthermore, the British Medical Journal study is not a col- laborative model as it does not involve patients’ GPs,’ Mr Emerson said. ‘And while the UK service is completely different to the Australian model, the study did report decreased mortality. If that’s not the most positive end point in a medication review, then what is? ‘I think the call to scrap HMRs are unfounded and we’ll be waiting to see the evaluation of the scheme in Australia before making any further comments,’ he said. ¦