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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 35: March 2005
Welcome to the March 2005 edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
It would appear that 2005 heralds for pharmacy, more tumult and upheaval than was present in 2004 year just finished.
Unfortuantely, it has to be said a lot of this pain is self-inflicted by pharmacists (through their leaders) not observing suitable policies for a dynamic and productive pharmacy profession.
Many years ago I had a discussion with Gregory Haines, the pharmacist-historian and author of "The Grains and Threepenn'orths of Pharmacy"
, that portrayed the history of Australian pharmacy from 1788 through to 1976.
He commented to me that in the history of Australian pharmacy, no major change or progress had been generated by the profession itself. It had always come from outside the profession initiated by government or the medical profession.
I initially disagreed with him, but in the years following that discussion I have come to see how right his comments were.
In 2005 history is about to repeat itself.
A Collaboration - By Various i2P Writers - A Perspective on Restrictive Legislation and Rules Governing Australian Pharmacy
The Commonwealth Government is moving to a review of the location of pharmacies.
This was originally called for in a commentary from the CoAG committee (on the Pharmacy Review) around the time the Third Agreement was originally structured.
Location rules were considered anti-competitive by the committee at that time, along with a range of other restrictive pharmacy rules.
There is a strong possibility that location rules will be considerably relaxed under the Fourth Agreement, given there is a wide range of opposition and commentary opposed to these rules.
Various i2P writers have added their arguments and viewpoints for reader consideration.
From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Announcement by Health Minister, Tony Abbott, on the Gold Coast.
Letters to the Editor - A Reader's Perspective
Letters to the Editor are encouraged to be submitted to this column, be they commentary on pharmacy at large or criticism and commentary of the authors and their articles.
Your name and contact details are required for publication, but they will be suppressed if requested.
Commentary relating to the global links section is also welcomed.
This month a letter has been sent relating to a counselling procedure
performed by one Boots' pharmacy in the UK.
While it may seem initially humorous, we are not too far from looking at similar arrangements here in Australia, given the sharp decline in gross margins expected over the coming year.
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
* LAST MINUTE ACTION NOT ALWAYS BEST
* RENTS TOO HIGH ALLEGED
* CONSUMERS TO HAVE A SAY
* OECD QUESTIONS ACTION ON NATIONAL COMPETITION POLICY
* ABBOTT INTERVENES IN MONITORING CONFLICT
* INDEPENDENCE A DREAM
* DAAS CAUSING LOSS SITUATION TO WORSEN
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
I have always had the belief that pharmacy as a profession or as a business, had the survival skills to navigate a successful pathway, no matter what attacks were made by other organisations or bodies seeking to control or dismember it.
At this point in time I am not so sure.
The seeming inability of official pharmacy to recognise that the profession, and the business of pharmacy, are simply not structured efficiently.
Official pharmacy remains blind to the realities, and refuses to change and adapt, because they will leave that comfort zone where their control and direction may, in some way, appear to be diluted and weakened.
In short, community pharmacy is left in a totally non-competitive state.
Neil Retallick - A Friendly Society Perspective
A retail business is about buying products from suppliers, promoting them and selling them to customers.
Recently I saw two things that should be a cause for concern for the pharmacy industry as they are surely concerning the industry’s retail suppliers.
Annona Pearse - From a media perspective
The February 2005 edition of the Guild Bulletin contains considerable angst and several warnings about the impending "ownership war" against Woolworths hotting up in 2005.
And it seems that it is not only Woolworths that is the problem - the AMA also comes in for criticism by the Guild. And in Pharmacy News (3 February 2005) the targeting of wholesaler margins by the Treasurer, and the impact on the financial bottom line for pharmacies, has Kos Sclavos getting the year off on another cautionary note for pharmacists.
This column examines the ways in which the pharmacy industry addresses its own readers, and then analyses ways in which particular media could be used as a more effective communication tool for pharmacy and its interests.
Karalyn Huxhagen - A Queensland PSA Councilor Perspective
Effective communication is a vital component of a pharmacist’s skills.
Every day in a thousand different ways all different types of pharmacists communicate with patients, colleagues, medical personnel, staff and a thousand others.
Con Berbatis - A Pharmacy Researcher Perspective
Editor: Levonorgestrel (Postinor) and orlistat( Xenical) pose contrasting challenges to Australian pharmacy. In 2004 Australia became the first country in the world to have ‘pharmacist only’ orlistat but levonorgestrel had been available without a prescription through pharmacies overseas for years . Does pharmacy need to show that it makes a significant difference to population health and safety in Australia with these agents?
Con Berbatis reports on Postinor.
Ken Stafford - A Consultant Pharmacist Perspective
I have a great deal of respect for columnists in the major newspapers, not for what they write but for the fact they seem to be able to churn out pieces on a daily or weekly basis.
I’m Irish so I can talk ad nauseam, but writing a monthly column regularly generates bouts of severe panic (usually on a monthly basis).
Sometimes, I’m pleased to say, a topic will sudden appear out of the blue, taking much of the pressure off me.
This has been the case this month.
Heather Pym - A Division of General Practice Perspective
I recently represented the Melbourne Division of General Practice at a forum hosted by the Victorian General Practice branch where pharmacists and GPs met to discuss ‘issues’ that are causing concern.
Rather than generate ill will and deepen divides that are perceived and voiced in the Medical press and across National newspapers a face to face meeting on a quiet Sunday morning produced some interesting, thoughtful and challenging discussion.
Steven Brown - An IT Security Perspective
For anyone who is not well informed on security, it can be extremely difficult to compare security products and identify which is the best. You are generally left to rely on technical jargon, such as what algorithm is being used, and mathematical comparisons, such as what key strength is used. All things being equal, these would be a great way to compare systems, but all things are not equal.
Pat Gallagher - An IT Consultant Perspective
It is always a challenge to write the first article for a new calender year.
Not the least so when the Editor wants the impact of controversy, rather than ho-hum motherhood words.
Reviewing what I have flung at readers over the past years in twenty-three pieces, of observation and comment, it seems that there isn’t much more to say.
Except to repeat to, or should that be nag, you all on what I see as the problems, their solutions and whatnot in the pharmacy ICT space and allied healthcare fields of care.
Then suddenly an electron gem hits the email in-box, with the wonderfully attention getting headline – “The Great Stink”.
Ah bliss. Inspiration and a fresh angle on the complex (mess) situation healthcare presents to any potential ICT guardian angels.
Les Brener - A Digital Imaging Perspective
Over the past few months we have been examining various aspects of the effects of digital imaging on pharmacy.
I have had quite a few requests to go into more depth and also to discuss sales of cameras in pharmacies.
This is now becoming a distinct possibility with the way prices for cameras are dropping almost daily.
But, in order to sell cameras properly you do need to know just a little more than just telling your customer that “the camera has 2 or 3 megapixels, which should be OK for ordinary album prints.”
I have recently read a small paperback called “Mastering Digital Photography” by a well-known photo industry editor and writer Margaret Brown.
I feel that this book is an ideal introduction to Digital Photography and we have persuaded Margaret to allow us to reproduce the first chapter in this month’s i2p.
The pocket guide retails at $19.50 (from most newsagents and quite a few photo stores.
It also comes with a CD and software “for Mastering Digital Photography”.
Her other well known book “Digital Camera Pocket Guide will be appearing in a new and revised edition in April.
Over the next few articles I will introduce details of cameras and other products of interest to pharmacy retailers.
Margaret Brown is incidentally technical editor of Photo Review Australia magazine whose website is www.photoreview.com.au and is worth looking at for up to date industry news, camera reviews etc.
Comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.
Val Johanson - A Complementary Healthcare Perspective
“Regulator takes tough action on arthritis drugs”
This was the heading of a media release by the Australian drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), on 10 February this year following a review of the safety of the Cox-2 Inhibitors.
In September last year the popular arthritis drug, Vioxx, was withdrawn from the market world wide because medical trials had shown a significant increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The TGA undertook urgent evaluations of new information relating to all other registered Cox-2 inhibitor drugs, which resulted in an immediate requirement for Cox-2 inhibitors to have new highlighted explicit warnings in product information about the increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events from this group of drugs.
Chris Arblaster, PhD - A Consumer Self-Care Perspective
Police departments, pharmacy organisations and health authorities along with the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) have become increasingly concerned about the targeting of pseudoephedrine containing products for illicit use.
The use of pseudoephedrine to create drugs such as “Speed’ and other substances has become a highly lucrative market and their consumption is seen as a public health hazard.
Paul O'Neill - The Latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists.
Global Health News from the Internet - Pharmacy Related Links
This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy.
Readers are encouraged to share links to items of interes,t by simply e-mailing the story link to the editor located at email@example.com
Topics can range from drug-related news, Information Technology, medical communications, medical research breakthroughs, management and marketing issues.
Response to any item is also encouraged through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.