January 1st 2016 PBS Changes

As the New Year creeps up on us, there has been two important changes made to the PBS system effective from January 1st 2016. These changes affect which medications are covered under the PBS scheme, and the minimum price to be paid by you, and if there are any real savings to the patient.



Important Changes to How the Government Funds Your Medicines From 1st January 2016

From the 1st of January 2016 the government will be de-listing a number of medications from the PBS. The medications are ones that are available over the counter so that government has decided to no longer fund them.

Please be assured that these medications will continue to be available, but you will no longer be able to have them covered under a pension or concession card, nor will you require a prescription to buy them. Some of the items will continue to be covered for repat (DVA) clients.

The affected medicines are listed on the bottom of this page. Of note, the list includes Panamax®, Panadol Osteo® and Aspirin tablets, which are some of the most widely used medicines on the PBS.

For all of these medicines, we will ensure we offer you the best possible over the counter price and we will continue to offer our price match guarantee on all of the products we stock.

Medicines no longer on the PBS from 1st January 2016


Mylanta P Liquid and tablets

Gastrogel Liquid

Gaviscon P Liquid

Aspirin 100mg tablets

Solprin 300mg tablets

Dulcolax Suppositories

Bisacodyl Suppositories

Chlorsig Eye Drops and Ointment



Folic Acid tabs 500mcg & 5mg 

Vitamin B-12 Injection

Mycostatin/Nilstat Oral Drops

Paracetamol 500mg tabs (Panadol, Panamax, Parapane)

Panamax Liquid

Paracetamol 665mg tablets (Panadol Osteo/Osteomol) 



PBS Prescription Prices

Effective as of next year pharmacies will be allowed to discount the PBS patient co-payment (the minimum amount you are required to pay per prescription whilst the government covers the rest) by up to $1. This means that instead of paying $6.20 per prescription item, you can pay only $5.20. There are a couple of points to keep in mind though about this system, and I  have created a little table below to show you the difference it can make to you.

Please note a few points:

- This allowable  discount is subsidised by the pharmacy, and the government will save it's money by not allowing us to count the discount towards your PBS safety net value.

- Any prescriptions dispensed early under the Safety Net 20 day  rule cannot be discounted under law.


Please find here a  table of the 2 options you may have. Please advise us as to which option would you like to take, and remember that we always have our Price Match policy in effect.



                 OPTION A                                                 OPTION B

$1 Discount          No Discount 
 Pay $5.20 per script    Pay $6.20 per script
 Safety Net Value = $372    Safety Net Value = $372
 Number of scripts needed = 72    Number of scripts needed = 60
 Reach Safety Net LATER    Reach Safety Net EARLIER
 LESS TIME in 2016 with FREE scripts    MORE TIME in 2016 with FREE scripts


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Ask George - Vitamin D

Summer is here and it's the best time to have your Vitamin D levels increased by the sun. But is it really the best option? Why do we need Vitamin D? Did you know that Vitamin D is actually a hormone?Despite our ongoing dun exposure, Australians, especially West Australians have some of the lowest Vitamin D levels. The reason for this that we need to get at least 10 minutes of good sun exposure every day to increase Vitamin D levels in the body. Good sun exposure is that point where your skin starts to turn red, so many of us tend to burn before we absorb enough sunlight to convert to Vitamin D.    


Why is it so important?

Vitamin D Deficiency has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, osteoporosis, osteopenia (bone loss) and even to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.


How can we increase our Vitamin D Levels?



  1.  Have your 25-OH Vitamin D levels Tested.

Optimal ranges for optimal health are between 40-65 ng/ml. Those with darker skin tones will have lower levels of 25-OH Vitamin D. The melanin in darker skin tones, blocks ultraviolet light from being able to produce Vitamin D in our bodies.

  2. Take the correct type of Vitamin D supplement

Vitamin D3 is the active form, and many supplements and prescriptions contain Vitamin D2 which is not biologically active.

If you are deficient, supplementing with 2000 – 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for 3 months (under a doctor’s supervision) is a good way to increase your levels. Once they have reached the optimal range, taking a maintenance dose of 1000 – 2000 IU daily is a good idea. Those people who spend more time indoors may need to take higher doses. Please ensure you are being supervised by a doctor when started and maintaining supplementation.

  2. If you don't like the idea of taking multiple tablets, we can compound vitamin D into higher doses per tablet at a very competitive price.
  4. Eat Dietary sources of Vitamin D which include the following:
  • Fish Liver Oils (Cod Liver Oil) – 1 tbsp (15ml) contains 1360IU of Vitamin D
  • Cooked Wild Salmon – 100 grams contains 360 IU
  • Cooked Mackerel – 100 grams contains 345 IU
  • One Whole Egg – contains 20 IU
  • Porcini mushrooms – 114 grams contains 400 IU

This vitamin is critical for good health. Start aiming for optimal levels under your doctor’s supervision and watch how your health improves!

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Ask George - Hayfever

Hayfever season is upon us again. With changes in weather it's important to stay ahead of the game and choose the best options for you. Many of us head straight for this antihistamine tablets, but is this really your best treatment? Let's have a quick look at the different products available to better manage your hayfever symptoms, as tablets may not be the most effective way. Using a regular nasal wash can increase your medications effectiveness by up to 40%. 


Nasal Sprays (ie. Rhinocort, Beconase, Nasonex, Azep)  

Steroid nasal spray are in fact more effective and will reduce adverse effects!!  Although maximum effect is achieved after several days of regular use they will "kick in" after 3 to 7 hours and are still effective if used on an as needed basis.  These products will also help with the eye symptoms of hayfever. 

There are of course many other forms of nasal sprays, which will kick in a lot faster, but either don't help with all the symptoms, or don't last as long as the steroid based nasal sprays.


Eye Drops (ie. Azep, Naphcon A)  

Eye drops are often forgotten about, especially when eye symptoms are particularly troublesome. They can be used on their own where there are solely eye symptoms or in combination with other hayfever products where there are multiple symptoms. Older style eye drops products that combine antihistamines with decongestants  have fallen out of favour due to the risk of side effects as well as the newer antihistamines being more effective.


Oral Antihistamines (ie. Claratyne, Telfast, Zyrtec, Polaramine) 

There are many of these products. All oral antihistamines (whether sedating or non-sedating) are considered equally effective, but there is some evidence that your preferred brand may become ineffective, so changing brands regularly is recommended. It is important to realise that 30% of hayfever sufferers will not gain adequate relief using an oral antihistamine by itself. This means it is crucial to remember that there are stronger treatment options available should you not gain adequate relief.


Natural Supplements

Ethical Nutrients Sinus and Hayfever Relief or Ethical Nutrients Allergy Control for example can help treat and prevent the symptoms of hayfever. Horseradish, Garlic, Eyebright and Olive Leaf (In Sinus and Hayfever relief) are some of the more effective treatments. These products can be used either during hayfever season, or earlier in the year to help minimise or even reduce the symptoms of hayfever.

Formulations will generally include the following -

Olive Leaf - antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal.

Horseradish - nasal decongestant, useful for catarrh, acute and chronic sinusitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract, cough and bronchitis.

Eyebright - this herb is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine for infection, inflammation or allergy of the eye, including conjunctivitis, itchy, and irritated eyes. Eyebright is also used for excessive upper respiratory secretions and catarrh, including the common cold and hay fever, acute and chronic sinusitis, middle ear problems, and sore throat.


Nasal Washes 

There is mounting new evidence that cleansing the nasal passages twice daily with isotonic saline reduces allergy and asthma symptoms and enhances the effect of steroid nasal sprays. Ideally these should be used 15 minutes prior to using the steroid spray and improves the benefit by up to 40%.


With all of this in mind, feel free to have a chat with any of our pharmacists to ensure you enjoy the coming months.  

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Ask George - What is Compounding

Compounding is the art and science of creating personalised medication.

Compounded medications are “made from scratch”, where individual ingredients are mixed together in a laboratory in the exact strength and dosage form as required to fulfill patients’ needs. This method allows the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and the prescriber to customise the medication to meet your needs.

Before the 1950’s and ‘60s, almost all prescriptions were compounded, but after the advent of mass drug manufacturing this practice rapidly declined. The pharmacists role as a preparer of medication quickly changed to that of a dispenser, and most pharmacists were no longer trained to compound medications. However, the “one-size-fits-all” nature of mass-produced medications mean that some patients’ needs were not being met.

Fortunately compounding has experienced a resurgence as modern technology, innovative techniques and research have allowed pharmacists to once again customise medications to meet specific patient needs.

What is CompoundingAt St Clair Compounding Pharmacy, our trained compounding pharmacist, George, and our laboratory technicians can now personalise medicine for you.

We can accommodate for your requirements, including specific strengths, dosage forms, flavours, allergies and so much more!

We are able to prepare your medication without any of the chemicals that you don’t like, or without ingredients that you’re allergic to (like lactose). So before you decide that nothing is working, or that you just can’t find the satisfaction you require from a readily prepared product, come in and Ask George if there’s anything he can do to help you.

Send your questions to George at scpharm@bigpond.net.au, or phone on (08) 9593 0299.


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Ask George - Sleep Problems

A refreshing sleep is important for our emotional and physical well being. Inadequate sleep can result in drowsiness, irritability and poor concentration. Poor sleep habits have also been associated with unhealthy weight gain, high blood pressure, poor sugar levels, and migraines. Feeling refreshed after a nights sleep and not feeling sleepy during the day is a good indicator that you are getting the right amount of sleep.

A person with insomnia (sleep disturbance) will have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomnia that occurs for no apparent reason can indicate a problem with circadian rhythm, or a person’s internal “body clock”.

Amongst the options for managing this type of insomnia is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted by the brain that helps to control the normal internal “body clock” that regulates when we wake and sleep. Melatonin is secreted only at night, and its secretion can be inhibited by some painkillers, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. As a person ages and at menopause, there is also a decline in melatonin secretion. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may also have below average melatonin levels.

Melatonin supplements are used to treat disruptions in this normal sleep rhythm in adults and children. It may also be used for management of sleep apnoea and sleep issues related to ADHD. Melatonin is not addictive, and may be considered as an alternative to “traditional” sleeping tablets, which may be habit forming. In Australia, melatonin does require a prescription and some strengths need to be compounded. As a compounding pharmacy we can prepare medicines for your specific needs in a variety of strengths and dosage forms (including capsules, lozenges and liquids). If you or your doctor have any questions, feel free to “ask George” at St Clair Pharmacy.

* any information in this article is of general nature and must not be used for diagnosis purposes

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Ask George - Paediatric Medication

Children's Medications

Do you want a better way to give your child medicine?

It’s no secret that most kids don’t like taking medicine. There’s nothing fun about being sick, and taking medicine just seems to make it worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whilst there’s no guarantee that taking medicine ever will become a pleasurable experience, there are some ways to help.

One of the best ways involves pharmacy compounding, the art and science of preparing customised medications for patients. From flavouring medications to make them taste better, to individualised strengths and dosage forms, a compounding pharmacist can help make medication time easier and less stressful for your little ones – and you!!

Many children refuse medication because of its texture or colour, or simply because they know that its medicine. So how can we help?

Flavoured Medicine

Many medications can be transformed into colourful, pleasant flavoured dosage forms, which are dispensed in child proof packaging. There are dozens of various enticing flavours available which can be used to enhance the taste and colour of medication without changing the medication’s actual effectiveness.

Unique Dosage Forms

Many children have a very difficult time swallowing capsules or tablets especially if they have to take more than one per day. To solve this, we can prepare their medication in other dosage forms such as liquids, gummy treats, topical gels and pastes, suppositories, or even effervescent drinks. These can be administered using specific dummies or bottle for infants and can be made in a range of flavours.

Strength and Ingredient Variation

Children differ in size and individual needs. Some have allergies, drug tolerances, requiring medications which are sugar free, gluten free or colour free. Our compounding pharmacy can help with all these issues.

Ask George today how he can help simply life for you and your child!
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Ask George - Pain Management

Pain Relief Medication

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that may be associated with actual or potential tissue damage. The main pain receptors are the sensory nerve endings which are found located throughout the tissues and organs of the body. When body tissue is injured, chemicals are released from the damaged cells, some of which produce the sensation of pain!

Pain can be classified into a number of different categories, and it is through these different categories and sensations that we can decide what might be the cause and what the best treatment option may be. It is always important to remember that pain may be a warning sign of a more severe condition which may require follow up; some medical advice should always be sought.

Every individual is unique, and the types of pain experienced can be equally diverse. By working with a compounding pharmacist, physicians can prescribe treatments tailored specifically for the patients pain management needs. Many commonly prescribed pain relief medications cause stomach irritation and other unwanted side effects. Some compounded products may actually reduce the number of unwanted side effects! Compounding can provide alternate methods of delivery by combining the ingredients of traditional oral pain medications in:

· Topical gels/Creams
· Spray forms that can be applied directly to the site of pain
· Application sticks (varied in size)
· Capsules
· Flavored/unflavoured troches (soft mini-lozenges)
· Lozenges

 There is also provision for compounding pain medications where the dose available commercially is ineffective, or where multiple medications can be combined into one compounded product. If you are struggling with pain problems like arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, headaches, shingles in the throat, nerve or even muscle pain, here may be a better way for you to manage your pain. As we head into the cooler months, and sporting season begins, now is a good time to plan ahead and ask George about your pain management concerns!

 * any information in this article is of general nature and must not be used for diagnostic purposes

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