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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : October 2005
news news ONVENIENCE stores would better serve the public if they stopped sell- ing tobacco, rather than trying to pressure drug companies into letting them sell nicotine patches as well, according to Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National Councillor Karalyn Huxhagen. A Queensland-based chain, NightOwl Convenience Stores, has lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Competi- tion and Consumer Commission claiming drug manufacturer Pfizer ‘inappropri- ately’ restricted the availability of nicotine patches outside pharmacies. The com- plaint has been backed by other conve- nience store chains including 7-Eleven, BP and Caltex. ‘These convenience stores are selling a product that kills thousands of Australians every year and at the same time they think Convenience stores should quit selling tobacco C they should also be able to sell a medical product to limit the damage,’ said Mrs Huxhagen, a Mackay pharmacist and member of the PSA National Executive. ‘They are helping to generate addiction to nicotine and then want to take more money from smokers trying to treat it. ‘All the research shows that nicotine patches are a valuable tool in helping peo- ple to quit smoking, but to work effectively they must be used as part of a structured program that involves counselling. ‘Smokers need more than just nicotine patches to quit, they need to be given the skills to help modify their own behaviour. Without the necessary counselling, nico- tine patches are not effective in helping people to quit. ‘Staff at pharmacies across Australia have been trained to provide the neces- Seeking evidence on OTC products T HE Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Chris Pyne, announced that the Commonwealth will provide $65,000 in funding to partner the Australian Self Medication Industry in a research project to evaluate the evidence for selected com- OMINATIONS are now open for the GSK Pharmacy Assistant of the Year Award 2006. This year the way to enter has changed slightly. Do you know an outstanding pharmacy assistant? N Pharmacists and assistants are invited to nominate thenmselves or colleagues to enter the Awards. Nominated pharmacy assistants will be invited to attend an educational training function where they’ll be trained on presentations, grooming and public speaking, as well as industry training. State finalists will be shortlisted from CVs brought by nominees as well as some written answers from the day. Six state finalists will each win a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, to attend the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice and Management’s April 2006 conference, plus course fees for the College’s Diploma in Retail Management. The final judging will occur in Queenstown, and the overall winner will receive overseas travel, education and spending money with a total value of $10,000. Developed two years ago, the Award is an initiative of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice and Management, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and proudly supported by Post Script. It seeks to encourage and reward excellence among assistants in the vital role they play in community healthcare.¦ A Pfizer statement said: ‘Pfizer has not engaged in any anti- competitive conduct and categorically rejects any suggestion to the contrary. ‘Pfizer has the right to determine in what channels it sells its products. Pfizer has taken a business decision in this instance that the pharmacy channel is the right channel to provide the support con- sumers need in order to have the best pos- sible quitting chance.’ ¦ sary counselling, unlike those behind the cash registers at convenience stores. To its credit, Pfizer recognises the necessity of counselling and is trying to provide the best health outcome for the Australian public. It’s ironic that a large drug com- pany is being attacked for not trying to maximise sales, but to maximise the pub- lic benefit.’ plementary and OTC products. ‘The Australian Government recog- nises that self-medication is an integral part of an Australian self-care system,’ he said. ‘In order to adequately respond to the needs of consumers, the Government depends greatly on the support of your industry to facilitate and encourage responsible and informed self-medica- tion. ‘The research will also examine the costs and benefits of the use of these prod- ucts in terms of health outcomes.’ Executive director of ASMI said a self- care approach involved a fundamental shift from cure to prevention as part of a focus on holistic health and this included promotion of good diet and exercise, as well as use of self-medication to treat minor ailments or chronic con- ditions. ‘The increased use of OTC and com- plementary medicines shows that many Australians are already knowledgeable and willing to treat everyday ailments rather than consulting their doctor for minor, self-limiting conditions. ‘Unless individuals can be encouraged to take further steps to look after their health, government health budgets and resources will come under extraordinary pressure,’ Ms Seifert said. ¦ THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 86 OCTOBER 2005 ? 769