Australia. Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Aspen Pharmacare Australia Pty Limited and Minister for Health and Ageing  AATA 93 (16 February 2012)
Aspen Pharmacare Australia Proprietary Limited (applicant) sought a stay in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (Tribunal) of a decision by the Minister of the Department of Health and Ageing to remove two drugs containing dextropropoxyphene (DPP) from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. The drugs, Di-Gesic and Doloxene, are used for pain relief, but the Minister has serious concerns regarding their safety and effectiveness.
The Tribunal concluded that there was a significant case relating to the efficacy and safety, in both prescribed doses and overdoses, of the products. The applicant argued that the risks are less than the Minister claimed. The Tribunal agreed that the Minister has a strong case, but that it is not so strong as to lead him to "conclude that no serious case can be presented in answer to it". The Tribunal balanced the interests of the patients who use the drug, and the applicant in providing the drug, with the interest of the Minister in ensuring the safety of Australian citizens and decided that the balance falls in favour of granting a stay.
The Tribunal ordered a stay, for a period of less than four months, providing that the applicant makes an undertaking agreeing to certain conditions. These include preparing product information with significant warnings that are included in every packet and are prominently displayed, including appropriate patient information within each pack and sending letters to doctors and others who prescribe or use the drugs.
The Tribunal also made a series of orders setting out a timetable for the proceedings.
South Australia. Health Practitioners Tribunal
The Chiropractic and Osteopathy Board of South Australia (Board) laid a disciplinary complaint in the Health Practitioners Tribunal of South Australia (Tribunal) against a chiropractor, Dr Mario Forte (respondent). The respondent delayed in calling an ambulance for nine minutes when a patient in his room lost consciousness and was convulsing.
The respondent argued that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction because the Board had already decided that there were no grounds upon which the complaint might properly be laid. The Board argued that the Registrar had not already laid a complaint and the duties of the Registrar require it to consider whether a complaint should be laid in light of all the circumstances available, including the findings from a recent coronial inquest into the patient's death. The Tribunal found that it had jurisdiction to hear the complaint.
The Tribunal did not accept the view that this was a momentary error of judgment, as the respondent could have phoned an ambulance at any time during the nine minutes.
The Tribunal found that the respondent's conduct was unprofessional, incompetent and negligent. It found that he deprived the patient of timely resuscitative care, but did not find that earlier care would have saved the patient's life.
The Tribunal suspended the respondent's registration for one year, placed a condition on his registration that he no longer practice alone and directed that he undergo education regarding emergency and crisis response.
Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L00398 " SLI 2012 No. 16 as made
National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 5 of 2012) - F2012L00380 " PB 5 of 2012 as made
National Health (Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 4 of 2012) - F2012L00379 " PB 4 of 2012 as made
National Health (Chemotherapy Pharmaceuticals Access Program) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 3 of 2012) - F2012L00378 " PB 3 of 2012 as made
National Health (Listed drugs on F1 or F2) Amendment Determination 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 10 of 2012) - F2012L00346 " PB 10 of 2012 as made
National Health Act 1953 - Amendment Determination under section 84AH (2012) (No. 1) (No. PB 11 of 2012) - F2012L00344 " PB 11 of 2012 as made
New South Wales
22 February 2012 - Coroners Amendment Bill 2012 - Legislative Assembly - Introduced and read a first time.
22 February 2012 - Hospital Networks Governing Councils Bill 2012 - Legislative Assembly - Introduced and read a first time.
15 February 2012 - Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Equality of Access) Amendment Bill 2012 - Private Member's Bill - Legislative Council second reading speech.
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
- 23 February 2012 - 1,000 new GPs registrars start work in local communities - A record number of medical school graduates have this year begun their vocational training to become GPs under a $150 million Federal Government program.
- 22 February 2012 - Better Access to Aged Care for Regional Queensland -Older Australians living in regional Queensland will be able to receive support and care in their community close to their loved ones and friends thanks to a combined investment in aged care services by the Federal, state, and local governments.
- 22 February 2012 - Compelling Film Prompts Family Discussion of Organ and Tissue Donation - A compelling new Australian film will prompt families to confront the need to ask and know each other's donation wishes.
- 22 February 2012 - Men's Shed Funding Boosts Support For Blokes - The Minister with responsibility for Male Health, Warren Snowdon has announced 31 Men's Sheds across Australia will be helped to fit out their buildings, purchase tools or supplies and to run programs to spread health messages.
- 22 February 2012 - Praise for Canberra's DonateLife Walkers - Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King and the Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann have praised walkers in Canberra's DonateLife Walk for their commitment to the cause of organ and tissue donation.
- 21 February 2012 - More Young Australians Must Start With the Discussion About Donation Wishes - It was vital that apparent barriers to young adults deciding about organ and tissue donation were quickly removed, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King said during DonateLife Week.
- 21 February 2012 - New Drug to Help Prevent Heart Attacks Subsidised for Patients - A new drug that can help prevent heart attacks and will benefit more than 60,000 Australians is to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a cost of more than $100 million over five years.
- 17 February 2012 - Additional Funding for HACC Services in Western Australia - More frail, older people and younger people with a disability will receive support to stay in their own homes and communities, thanks to $15.9 million in funding for the Home and Community Care (HACC) program this year.
Maternity reform – your feedback wanted An independent survey is currently open to new mums, pregnant women and women considering pregnancy seeking feedback on reforms to maternity services.
Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council
Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council
22 February 2012 - Revised Policy on Dissemination of Research Findings
24 February 2012 - NHMRC Research Tracker – 24 February 2012 edition
Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency & the Boards
24 February 2012 - Call for Nominations or Expressions of Interest for Board Members - Victoria. | Read Article
21 February 2012 - Registration applications now open for the four 2012 Professions | Read Article
20 February 2012 - The Chiropractic Board of Australia releases its latest communiqué. | Read Article
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
15 February 2012 - Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2000–2009 (media release)
Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
A 48-hour extension has been granted to the deadline for submissions to the Review of Anticoagulation Therapies in Atrial Fibrillation. Submissions are now due to be received by the Department of Health and Ageing by 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Thursday 23 February 2012.
As announced by the Minister for Health on 21 February 2012, the Government has agreed to increase the price of 17 medicines currently listed on the PBS, as recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority at its December 2011 meeting. A full list of the medicines granted a price increase from 1 April 2012 is available here.
Australia. Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration
22 February 2012 - Australian Public Assessment Reports for prescription medicines (AusPARs) - Added milnacipran, rasagiline, fibrin adhesive/sealant, ciclesonide, lanthanum carbonate, cabazitaxel, oestradiol/norethisterone acetate and octreotide.
21 February 2012 - Orphan drugs - Added adalimumab, anakinra, catridecacog, epoprostenol, leuprorelin acetate, mometasone furoate, pasireotide, pertuzumab, pralatrexate, raltegravir, ridaforolimu, rituximab and tafamidis meglumine to the list of designated orphan drugs
20 February 2012 - Dr Brian Richards - The Acting National Manager for the Therapeutic Goods Administration is Dr Brian Richards.
Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health
- 21 February 2012 - Organ and Tissue donation made easier - Katy Gallagher, MLA
- 21 February 2012 - New food laws passed to improve food safety - Katy Gallagher, MLA
- 20 February 2012 - Opening of new day hospice - Katy Gallagher, MLA
- 20 February 2012 - Discuss your wishes this DonateLife week - Katy Mallagher, MLA
New South Wales. Ministry of Health
Northern Territory. Department of Health
- 19 February 2012 - Kon Vatskalis - NT Backs Governor-General's Call to Discuss Organ Donation - DonateLife Week will be launched in the Territory tomorrow morning by its patron, the Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO at a special ceremony at Darwin Botanic Gardens.
South Australia. Department of Health
- 23 February 2012 - OPAL hosts first Child Friendly by Design Workshop in SA
- 20 February 2012 - Health website details overseas travel info
Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services
- 21 February 2012 - Break O'Day Child and Family Centre Opened - Minister for Health
- 19 February 2012 - Organ Donation – Have the Discussion This Week - Minister for Health
- 18 February 2012 - Governing Councils to Deliver Local Control in Health - Minister for Health
Tasmanians will be better equipped to protect their health, with the launch of a new early warning system against the ... more
Know your loved ones' organ and tissue donation wishes - Would you know what to say if asked: "Did they want to be an organ and tissue donor?" DonateLife Week – ... more
Victoria. Department of Health
21 February 2012 - Generous Victorians saving the lives of transplant recipients
Western Australia. Department of Health
- 21 February 2012 - Minister for Health: New call to discuss organ donation
- 20 February 2012 - Ministers for Health and Regional Development: New nurse practitioner for Western Wheatbelt
- 17 February 2012 - Ministers for Mental Health and Regional Development: Pioneer Aboriginal mental health workers
- 17 February 2012 - Minister for Health: Funding boost for home and community care
United Kingdom. Department of Health
23 February 2012 - NHS Pension Scheme proposal – factsheets - The Government set out the key terms of an improved pension offer for NHS staff on 20 December 2011. Since then, the Department of Health has held constructive talks with ... Read more – NHS Pension Scheme proposal – factsheets
23 February 2012 - Promoting of personal injury legal services in NHS premises - Following recent media and parliamentary interest in advertising and other forms of promotion of the services of personal injury lawyers or claims management companies on NHS premises, David Nicholson has ... Read more – Promoting of personal injury legal services in NHS premises
23 February 2012 - Dame Fiona Caldicott to lead confidentiality review - Dame Fiona Caldicott has agreed to lead an independent from Government review of the balance between protecting patient information and its sharing, to improve patient care. The Department expects to respond ... Read more – Dame Fiona Caldicott to lead confidentiality review
23 February 2012 - The impact of age on oncology decision making - Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer stated that there is evidence that older people do not always receive the same standard of cancer treatment as younger patients. Sometimes healthcare professionals ... Read more – The impact of age on oncology decision making
23 February 2012 - Performance and capability review of the Care Quality Commission - Today the Department has published the report of its Performance and Capability Review of the Care Quality Commission. The review is intended to provide robust assurance to the public, ... Read more – Performance and capability review of the Care Quality Commission
22 February 2012 - GPs to "prescribe" apps for patients - People could soon be directed to free or cheap apps by their GPs to allow them to monitor and manage their health more effectively. At an event held today, showcasing ... Read more – GPs to "prescribe" apps for patients
21 February 2012 - A framework for NHS patient experience - The Department has today published the NHS Patient Experience Framework, which outline the areas most important to patients' experience of NHS services. Improving patient experience is a key aim for ... Read more – A framework for NHS patient experience
18 February 2012 - Minister discusses PiP experiences - On Friday, Public Health Minister Anne Milton met with five women to talk about their experiences with PiP breast implants. They discussed the treatment they had all received so far. ... Read more – Minister discusses PiP experiences
Australian Medical Association
24 February 2012 - Good news for general practice - The Australian Medical Authority (AMA) welcomes Health Minister Tanya Plibersek's announcement that all 1,000 general practice training places for this year have been fully subscribed. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said today that this is good news for patients as access to quality general practice care will continue to improve as more GPs graduate and start work in the community in coming years.
23 February 2012 - Submission: Pricing Framework for Public Hospital Services - The AMA's submission to the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority on a pricing framework for public hospital services calls for hospital services to be funded on the basis of an "effective" rather than an "efficient" price. An effective price is one that provides sustainable and equitable access to high quality hospital services. The submission details the AMA's support for appropriate funding of post-hospital care; investment in teaching, training and research; and small- and medium-sized hospitals.
23 February 2012 - AMA strongly supports DonateLife Week - The AMA strongly supports DonateLife Week and the work of the Government and the Organ and Tissue Authority to generate greater awareness and understanding of organ and tissue donation in the community. AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb said today that Australia's organ donation rate is increasing, with Australia achieving its highest donation rate last year, but more hard work and education is needed to build on this success.
20 February 2012 - Submission: NPS Prescribing Competencies Framework Project The AMA submission to the National Prescribing Service (NPS) Prescribing Competencies Project highlights the need for greater emphasis on: adequate level of training to meet competency requirements to prescribe; practitioners prescribing within their scope of practice; being competent in using knowledge and making judgments on when not to prescribe; referring a person to another health professional when that person's clinical condition is outside scope of practice; referring a person to a medical practitioner if they fail to improve within a specified period of time; keeping prescribing and dispensing separate; and effectively communicating in English.
20 February 2012 - Urgent call to better protect Australian workers from occupational cancers - MJA release - Australia needs to implement world's best practice in reducing exposure to cancer-causing agents to reduce the toll of work-related cancers, according to an article published in the February 20 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
20 February 2012 - Study reveals deadly impact of atherothrombosis - MJA release - Almost 40% of people in the community with extensive atherothrombotic disease will suffer a cardiovascular event within a year, according to research published the February 20 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
20 February 2012 - Call to review pricing of generics - MJA release - Australia could save hundreds of millions of dollars in PBS subsidies if generic medicines were prescribed more often and the system for pricing them was improved, according to an editorial published in the 20 February issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
20 February 2012 - Obesity research reveals new clues by age and stage - MJA release - A quarter of secondary school students are overweight or obese, and lifestyle and socioeconomic status are implicated, according to research published in the 20 February issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
20 February 2012 - Hospital takes new tack to cope with aggression - MJA release - Violence and aggression pose significant problems in hospitals, but a formal aggression management system can help, according to a study published the February 20 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Canadian Medical Association
- 21 February 2012 - Two MDs honoured as Resident Awareness Month marked
- 17 February 2012 - Medical students oppose PEI's mandatory return-of-service provision
- 14 February 2012 - Med students' forum to feature candidates for CMA presidency
- 9 February 2012 - Women now outnumber men in family medicine, CMA data shows
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