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Issue 38: June 2005



As pharmacy steps back and licks its wounds, the quiet diplomacy of the PGA is a strategy that one can admire. Except for the "odd angry shot", the troops have quietened down remarkably. While most writers have elected to comment on the various skirmishes over the past month or so, we are really entering a phase of reflection and contemplation, so that forward planning managers can devise tactics and strategies, to ensure the bottom line remains adequate. Unfortunately, PBS prescriptions will prove to be generators of activity with minimal or no return - a form of profitless prosperity! Damage control required here.

Your Say

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 we have a letter in response to one of Rollo Manning's comments in April i2P, also a digital image kiosk vendor promoting his product.

Pharmacy News

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 interest, by simply e-mailing the story link to the editor located at neilj@computachem.com.au 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.



Defending John Bronger

Recent attacks on the leadership of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) president, John Bronger indicate that some members are considering withdrawing support. The John Skyllas posting on AuspharmList is an example. The comment and message - brutally sharp, and to the point. No matter what area you are currently practicing in the profession of pharmacy, it is intimately bound up with the PGA. Some see this as good, and an advantage. Others see a too dominant pharmacy-owner perspective seeming to suppress pharmacists engaged in other activities, unrelated to or unhappily connected with, community pharmacy practices.

Corbett Overexposes

While pharmacists have been rightly concerned over their recent media profile they should always question the timing of such reports and the sources from which the reports are derived. Most pharmacists understand that the upcoming Fourth Guild/Government Agreement has everything to do with why pharmacy is in the media spotlight. There are many and varied interested parties with a lot at stake, and limited time to get the message across before pharmacy becomes old news again. The opportunity for media attention has produced the following gems for May: Woollies bid to take on pharmacies – Headline in Sydney Morning Herald 7/5/05 Woollies demands right to sell drugs – Headline in The Age 9/5/05 Woollies seeks chemist trial – Headline in Sydney Morning Herald 9/5/05 Pharmacy profit hits a nerve – Headline in Sydney Morning Herald 16/5/05

Corbett Gets Help from Allies Within Pharmacy Ranks

There is a saying that a week is a long time in politics. Lately, it seems like a year in politics was just last week – and how things have changed. Recently I saw a segment of that ersatz news program, A Current Affair, and was left wondering just what has happened. The agenda for the current public debate regarding (excessive) pharmacy profits is gaining momentum amidst accusations that the trust Australians have placed in pharmacists may be misplaced.

A Classic Case of Divide and Conquer - or is it Merely an Own Goal?

One of the most effective ways of defeating an enemy is to split his forces into smaller groups that are more easily destroyed. Known as “divide and conquer”, this strategy has been employed by successful generals since time immemorial. Watching the current campaign by groups such as Woolworths, AMA, Consumers’ Association and the television channels it appears that pharmacy is facing a divide and conquer attack. If there is anyone out there who believes that the proposed “18 month trial of pharmacies in Woolworths” will, in actuality, give an indication of long term service I have a nice little bridge in Sydney I’d like to sell.

Internet 3 : Health and Pharmacy Practice Websites for Pharmacists

Editor : The internet has opened a new world of resources for pharmacists. Karalyn Huxhagen commenced a series on specific themes for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Con Berbatis continues his series on the internet with a special list of Australian and international pharmacy practice research and health websites for i2P readers.

Local Monopolies and Competition Rules

While driving to work last Wednesday morning a young driver did not see me and turned right into me. It was one almighty mess, but by sheer miracle no-one was seriously hurt. I was only an hour late for work, arriving quite shaken but otherwise OK. The insurance company were excellent and arranged towing and hire cars with little intervention from myself. They did however insist that I was checked out as soon as possible by a doctor. I’m not sure whether this is out of concern for my well-being or to ensure that no extra injuries (requiring compo) appear later. So I made an appointment to see a doctor (the one who could fit me in) that afternoon. The day had gone OK (apart from a bit of intermittent pain in my shoulder where the seatbelt got me). I arrived just about on time at the surgery, said G’day and stood at the counter. Two receptionists were at the front desk typing on the computer. No one spoke. I waited. I said “excuse me”. Eventually a look from over the glasses and an acknowledgement.

Cosmetics or Medicinal Preparations - Blurring the Boundaries

The boundaries between cosmetics and medicinal products will become even more blurred in the next decade. Cosmetics and beauty products remain a significant part of front of shop sales for most retail pharmacies. Several cosmetic manufacturers predict cosmetics of the future will be more sophisticated in design. Not only will they protect you from the outside by guarding against sun damage, but also protect you on the inside assisting your immune system to keep skin youthful. Skincare of the future will blur the boundaries between the medicinal products and the cosmetic.

Investing in OTC

With adverse changes about to occur in the Fourth Agreement, retailing of Schedule 2, Schedule 3 and Complementary medicines takes on a new dimension. There is a need to invest in fixtures and fittings, equipment and systems and a range of training techniques developed, before these items can be efficiently sold in a community pharmacy setting. Some pharmacists have already invested in “forward pharmacy” settings of varying designs, but these now need to be refined and built to handle a larger volume of people. It is time for pharmacists to delegate themselves totally out of the dispensary.

Changing the Retail Mix

There is no doubt that pharmacists have made themselves vulnerable by becoming almost totally dependent on PBS dispensing. For most, the investment in a single practice is the most significant financial investment after the family home. Standard advice from most investment advisers, is to “never put all your eggs into one basket” – so why have most pharmacists fallen into the trap of relying almost totally on the PBS?

Digital Imaging - A Rising Star in Pharmacy

“Still more about photo kiosks!” They certainly appear to be here to stay. Are you wanting to get your share? PMA CONVENTION, Brisbane May 2005 A dazzling event with over 1500 delegates attending the convention and well over 14000 visiting the concurrent Photoworld Exhibition. This turned out to be the largest PMA convention held in any city in Australia and credit must be given to the PMA Convention committee and it’s director Terry Rimmer.

PSA Press Releases

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