GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 26

9 Jul 2012

AMA Family Doctor Week – coming soon

Each year the AMA sets aside a week to celebrate the role played by general practitioners (GPs), in delivering high quality health care in local communities all around Australia.

This year, Family Doctor Week will be held from Monday 16 July to Sunday 22 July. The theme is ‘For A Lifetime of Trusted Care’, which encapsulates the provision of skilled care by GPs for patients at every phase of life. Family Doctor Week is also an important reminder to the community of the importance of having a family doctor.

The AMA will be using this week to highlight some of the top issues facing GPs and a series of YouTube videos will be produced to showcase the everyday experiences of a GP. For more information visit

Code of Conduct

Medicines Australia has revised its Code of Conduct. The Code articulates the standards required for the conduct of its member companies in their dealings with consumers, government, health care professionals and the industry. The revised Code was submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this week.

Changes to the Code that are of interest for the medical profession are:

  • Companies will no longer be able to provide medical practitioners with branded aids or equipment.
  • Companies will be required to report aggregate payments:
    • to health care professional consultants, advisory board members and speakers at educational events; and
    • to individuals for sponsorships to attend educational events.
  • No individual names will be published as part of these reports.
  • Production information for health professionals will be limited to ‘approved’ and ‘minimum’ versions. ‘Abridged’ product information will cease. Box warnings must be included in all versions of the minimum product information.
  • Companies will be required to disclose to patients, before they enrol in any patient support programs, any payment made to a healthcare professional and the amount of the payment.

The AMACGP at its recent meeting noted that Medicines Australia will be exploring options for further transparency of the relationship between health professionals and industry.

AMA urges more people to become organ donors

The AMA has developed a Position Statement on organ and tissue donation and transplantation, strongly encouraging individuals to consider their views and discuss them with their family. The Statement adds to the growing body of information publicly available to help people make informed choices about organ donation.

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said that people should also talk openly and ask questions about organ and tissue donation when they visit their family doctor.

The AMA Position Statement on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation 2012 addresses a broad range of issues including: determination of death; informed donor choice; donor families; living donors; allocation of organs and tissues; trafficking; workforce and infrastructure; quality and safety; and cultural sensitivities.

AMA organ donation brochures are at

Advice from CMO On PIP Silicone Breast Implants and Breastfeeding

Advice issued by Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Medical Officer, on 2 July 2012, is reassuring for GPs and their patients regarding the safety of PIP silicone breast implants.

The advice states that, ‘following the worldwide recall of these implants in 2010, the unauthorised gel used in PIP implants has been subjected to a considerable amount of scientific testing both in Australia and in other countries. Fortunately, none of the tests undertaken to date has shown the presence of any chemicals that are likely to pose a health risk for either a woman with the implants, or her baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding’.

The advice also states, ‘it is not uncommon for some silicone to remain in breast tissue following removal of any ruptured implant, but there is no evidence that this is a health risk, or that the risk would be any greater with PIP implants compared to others’.

The Chief Medical Officer's advice for breastfeeding women with PIP breast implants is available here.

New Veterans’ MATES Topic on Insomnia

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Medicines Advice & Therapeutics Education Services (MATES) project team have recently prepared its thirty-first therapeutic brief, titled Insomnia Management – Reviewing the Risk of Hypnotics. A veteran brochure, The Myths and Facts About Sleep, has also been prepared.

Approximately 9,200 GPs, who treat the selected veterans identified in the RPBS dispensing data, received copies of the brief and brochure in early June. Veterans’ MATES also sent topic materials to all registered pharmacies, Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) members and Directors of Care at residential aged-care facilities.

This month the veteran brochure will be mailed to veteran patients who have been dispensed at least two hypnotic prescriptions in the 4-month period 1 October 2011 to 31 January 2012.

This information and copies of previous topic material are available here.


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In this issue

AMA Family Doctor Week – coming soon

Code of Conduct

AMA urges more people to become organ donors

Advice from CMO On PIP Silicone Breast Implants and Breastfeeding

New Veterans’ MATES Topic on Insomnia


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AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community. Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing