Home' Australian Pharmacist : December 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- December #12, 2011
Link Healthcare has been granted
a licence to market Relistor
(methylnaltrexone) in Australia,
New Zealand, South Africa and Asia
from Salix Pharmaceuticals of North
Carolina, USA. Relistor subcutaneous
injection is indicated for the treatment
of opioid-induced constipation (OIC)
in patients with advanced illness who
are receiving palliative care, when
response to laxative therapy has not
been sufficient. Methylnaltrexone
is a peripherally acting mu-opioid
receptor antagonist that counteracts
the constipating effects of opioid pain
medications in the gastrointestinal
tract without affecting the ability to
relieve pain. Relistor was approved
in Australia in 2009 and the drug is
currently approved for use in over 50
countries. Link Healthcare will market
Relistor through a specialty sales
force in Australia and New Zealand. In
other counties specified in the licence
Relistor will be marketed through
established strategic partnerships.
Salix and Link planned to transition
commercial responsibility of Relistor
from Pfizer (the current sponsor of
Relistor in the licensed territories)
during October 2011.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration
(TGA) has approved Tasigna (nilotinib)
as a first-line treatment option
for newly diagnosed Philadelphia
chromosome-positive chronic myeloid
leukaemia (Ph+ CML) patients in
chronic phase.1 A second generation
tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), Tasigna
is a potent and selective inhibitor of
Bcr-Abl, the protein that signals the
bone marrow to produce abnormal
white blood cells.1 Tasigna is able to
bind to mutant forms of Bcr-Abl and
so is able to combat resistance that
can be seen with other therapies that
do not bind as closely.1,2 CML is a
cancer of the blood and bone marrow,
characterised by neutropenia, anaemia
and thrombocytopenia.3 Each year
approximately 250 people in Australia
are diagnosed with the condition.4
1. Tasigna Product Information. Aug 2011.
2. Baccarani M. Monitoring treatment of chronic myeloid
leukemia. Haematologica 2008;93(2)161.
3. Leukaemia Foundation. Understanding Chronic Myeloid
Leukaemia booklet. Available at: www.leukaemia.
Accessed Jul 2011.
4. Leukaemia Foundation. CML. Available at: www.
php. Accessed Jul 2011.
Sudafed PE and
Johnson & Johnson Pacific
Johnson & Johnson Pacific will
introduce a new product range
specifically for the established cold
and flu category in Grocery, in the
second quarter of 2012. The company
says the new range, sold under
the brand names Sudafed PE and
Codral relief, will allow it to meet
the expectations of consumers who
choose to shop in Grocery stores.
However, J&J Pacific says it is
committed to maintaining support for
Pharmacy, where its complete range
of scheduled products will 'continue
to be sold under the expert advice of
' the intent being not to
compete with pharmacy but to provide
suitable products for an established
consumer base in grocery.
A company statement said that,
'Johnson & Johnson Pacific has
reviewed the market and noted
that, currently, as many as 45% of
consumers are shopping for cold and
flu products in Grocery stores -- 26%
say they are doing so exclusively
in Grocery. Having held back for
several years while a number of
other health care manufacturers have
built share in this channel, our upper
community and health professional
relationships with were also important
drivers for rural pharmacy practice.
The main barriers to take up or
stay in rural and remote pharmacy
practice were an inability to achieve
a better work-life balance, lack of
family opportunities such as spouse
employment or children's education.
Workload demands and financial
constraints were also reported as
barriers to rural/remote practice.
Factors that attract pharmacists
to rural practice are lifestyle,
family and business opportunities.
Interestingly, the factors that may
detract pharmacists from rural
practice are also family-related and,
to a lesser extent, work-related.
This overlap between drivers and
barriers is important to recognize
How can we attract and
support the rural pharmacy
Respondents were asked to identify
potential strategies that may
encourage recruitment and retention
of the rural/remote pharmacy
workforce. Proposed strategies
included higher remuneration,
provision of suitable accommodation,
increased family work and education
opportunities as well as professional
support in the form of access to
locums and professional development.
This study provides a summary of the
major findings from a comprehensive
study of rural and remote pharmacy
workforce. It outlines the roles and
distribution profile of pharmacists
as well as identifying significant
drivers and barriers relevant to the
recruitment and retention of the rural/
remote pharmacist workforce.
1. Australian Government Department of Health and
Ageing. Report on the audit of health workforce in rural
and regional Australia, April 2008. Canberra 2008.
2. Australian Government Department of Health and
Ageing. Medical Training Review Panel. MTRP 13th
report. Canberra 2010.
3. Department of Health and Aged Care. Pharmacy
access remoteness index of Australia year 2009/10.
Available from http://gisca.adelaide.edu.au/projects/
4. Department of Primary Industries and Department
of Human Services and Health. Rural, Remote and
Metropolitan Areas Classification. Canberra: AGPS,
5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Pharmacy
Labour Force to 2001. AIHW Canberra: 2003
6. Chisholm M, Russell D, Humphreys J. Measuring Rural
Allied Health Workforce Turnover And Retention: What
Are The Patterns, Determinants And Costs? Australian
Journal of Rural Health. 2011;19(2):81-8.
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