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New framework phase-in

PHARMACY interns’ assessment based on the revised National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia 2016 (PD 01 Jun 2017) has been timelined in a joint announcement from the Pharmacy Board of Australia and the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC).

Rather than being implemented immediately, current and future interns along with training providers and other stakeholders have been advised that all pharmacy intern written and oral examinations conducted from 01 Jan 2019, as part of the Board’s registration examination, will be based on the new revised competency standards.

Until that date, the 2010 competencies will continue to be the basis for all pharmacy intern examinations.

“This is to ensure natural justice and procedural fairness to all interns who start the internship process during 2018,” the announcement stated.

The APC is also providing separate advice to ITP providers, including that “all ITP and workplacebased assessments in 2018 can continue to be based on the 2010 competences to allow for a 12-month transition to activities and assessments based on the 2016 competencies from next year.”

New pharmacist leadership program

PHARMACEUTICAL Defence Limited and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have partnered to produce a new Career Essentials Program which aims to “empower pharmacists to deliver their leadership skills”.

Training will be delivered via a range of online modules and workshops to assist pharmacy students, interns and pharmacists to develop their non-clinical skills.

Modules are grouped around focus areas including ‘Be work ready’, ‘Communicate effectively’, ‘Working together’ and ‘Leading the way’ with PSA national president Shane Jackson saying such skills are vital “because they enhance pharmacists’ ability to deliver quality health outcomes for patients”.

The Career Essentials Program is free and exclusive for PSA members - more at

PCI to acquire PPP

PHILADELPHIA-BASED pharmaceutical outsourcing services provider PCI Pharma Services (PCI) has announced it intends to acquire Melbournebased clinical trial, manufacturing, packaging, storage and distribution company Pharmaceutical Packaging Professionals (PPP).

PCI said the arrangement would establish a presence for the company in Australia, viewed as pivotal to continued growth and expansion in the Asia Pacific region.

Proteomics deal

ASX-LISTED clinical trials firm Proteomics International has announced a new strategic alliance with CPR Pharma Services, with a share swap deal which will see Proteomics acquire 10% of CPR. The combined companies will offer a “unique R&D focused Contract Research Organisation capability” with project management, certified bioanalysis, trial monitoring, statistics and data management and development of new methods and diagnostic tests.

Superbug spike

REPORTED cases of neisseria gonorrhoeae infection resistant to azithromycin have almost tripled according to a new report from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The Commission’s National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistances (CARAlert) gave some alarming statistics with 47% of all reports in the six-month period Apr to Sep 2017 attributed to the highly resistant organism, a rise of 182% to 342 cases.

The report explained that at this stage N. gonnorrhoeae is still susceptible to ceftriaxone. CLICK HERE for the CARAlert.

Sigma seals Medibank deal

SIGMA Healthcare has launched a new three-year partnership with Medibank, with the pact to see the rollout of customer offers for private health insurance and for Amcal pharmacy customers.

The agreement, set to kick off in the first half of 2018, will also see pharmacy products and services offered to Medibank clients.

Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said he was excited about the deal’s potential.

“Amcal is a leading pharmacy brand in Australia and a brand that has enormous recognition and trust with customers,” he said.

“While we’re excited to bring unique offers and rewards to Amcal and Medibank customers, it’s the potential for us to collectively develop health and wellbeing programs for our customers that’s a game-changer,” Koczkar added.

Sigma gm merchandise & marketing, Sarah Pizzey, said both organisations were aligned in their focus on supporting improved community health outcomes.

“We both have a number of exciting customer health programs and significant health expertise, so joining forces makes a lot of sense.

“While the size of both brands means we can put together great customer offers and rewards, it also gives us the potential to make a real positive difference to the health of our customers,” she said.

Amcal health programs currently cover diabetes, weight management, sleep studies, coeliac screening and more.

GPs to join exchanges

VICTORIA’S new SafeScript realtime monitoring system (PD 09 Feb) will see more than 6,000 GPs across the state having to join the eRx or Medisecure prescription exchanges in order to prescribe S8 drugs and benzodiazepines, with Australian Doctor reporting less than half of all the GPs in Australia are currently participating in the exchanges.

Diabetes Advantage

ADVANTAGE Pharmacy Group has partnered with Diabetes Victoria to roll out the Life! program in its Victorian pharmacies.

The Life! program is a lifestyle modification program to help participants reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, funded by the Victorian State Government and managed by Diabetes Victoria.

Under the partnership, Advantage pharmacists will conduct structured screening and referral of high risk patients to the program.

Published on 13 February 2018 on Pharmacy Daily: