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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
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- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

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Issue 42: October 2005



Welcome to the October edition of i2P E-Magazine. As Fourth Agreement negotiations hopefully draw to a close, pharmacists are now looking to re-group and develop a survival strategy for the next five years. All new ideas are on the table, as Tony Abbott has virtually taken the heart out of profitable dispensing, and has caused momentum for irreversible change. If the change is well thought out, then the outcome will be a stronger pharmacy profession than is currently enjoyed.

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. Because this news area is dynamic and changes daily, readers should immediately bookmark any links that they find interesting. Response to any item is also encouraged through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.


Focus is an occasional column about events and activities that are not widely reported, but have the potential to promote change in pharmacy, or are actually part of the change process. This month we feature the ASMI marketing awards involving OTC manufacturers. The range of products represented by these manufacturers will be increasingly looked at by community pharmacists as the Fourth Agreement generates an incentive to have a fresh look at the management and marketing of OTC products. We also feature ICSGlobal, an Australian software company generating partnerships with governments and health organisations in Australia, the UK and the US. It is good to see that an Australian company is leading the way in areas of Internet claims processing and other financial processing services.



Days of our Lives

In the month of September, Fourth Agreement negotiations between the federal government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) have carried on with a "lame duck" PGA president John Bronger, who would be, by now, completely mentally exhausted. The money on the table has diminished a number of times over the total period of negotiations - twice in the last month alone. John would certainly not be equipped to handle government negotiators at the moment, given that they are trying to trample him to death. And in a short space of time, a new president will emerge as leader of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The big question is, what is left to negotiate, what have we lost, and will the new president be strong enough to lead a pharmacy profession now irreversibly altered and forced on a course of major change and restructure?

Boats Built for Comfort and Built for Speed

There is a tremendous amount of activity in the pharmacy market right now. I’m reminded of the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race just before the starter’s gun – lots of competitors of all different shapes ands sizes are jockeying for the ‘best’ position. Lots of captains and crews working feverishly to position their large and unwieldy boats, judging the direction and speed of the wind, anticipating the swell, watching which way their competition is turning and second guessing that starter’s gun. It is an intense time that seems critical to the success of each competitor. In fact, the race is a long one – a war of attrition where many starters will not see the finish line and the winner may have badly missed the start.

Crisis Causes Connectivity

It would seem that Australia needs a crisis on the scale of Hurricane Katrina before the health care industry becomes connected and is able to share patient information. This is what has happened in the US. It often takes a tragedy for adversaries to set aside their differences and work together for a common cause, and we have witnessed our country unite under similar abnormal circumstances. It also seems to me that the scale of incidents worldwide, both natural and man-made, seem to be getting larger, in the form of tsunamis, Bali bombings, London train/bus bombings, Hurricane Katrina and now Hurricane Rita. It may well be that global warming is playing a part in the natural disasters, and certainly terrorism is the primary cause of man-made incidents. But whatever the cause, it seems to me that both the scale and frequency of these events is increasing. Is it my imagination? I think not, and it should serve as a wake-up call to our political decision-makers to get off their backsides and fix the health connectivity problem here in Australia.

Electronic Medication Records for Pharmacist Only (PO)- S3s and S8s in Australia’s Pharmacies!

Editor's Note: Political and health leaders know that health care systems with electronically accessible and complete patient information or Electronic Health Records (EHRs) can improve care and cut costs. Similar benefits would result if prescribers and pharmacists had online access to existing Electronic Medication Records (EMRs). Con Berbatis advocates that Australia’s pharmacies must have access to established EMRs of S8s and initiate EMRs for pharmacist-only (PO) S3s to produce these benefits and stop the misuse from medical and pharmacy shopping.

$1700 freebie - You Have, Haven't You?

An abstract offering this month as I am far away in another place. A country that has little in the way of e.health collateral but is most likely to overtake Australia over the coming years. Why? Because, like South Korea the Turkish government sees the Internet, specifically broad band Internet, as the way to economically raise the country’s ability to compete. Not just the business sector, but importantly by connecting the punters. South Korea has the highest private broadband connectivity in the world today. They believe, quite correctly, that this will benefit the average Korean by exposing them to knowledge and service offerings previously unavailable to them, Health being a significant priority.

Automation in Pharmacy is not a dirty word

There has been a certain amount of media hysteria around the word 'automation' in Community Pharmacy in recent months. In my 20 years in pharmacy we have come a long way in the 'automation' process and I think we could do a lot more without losing or lessening the professional role of the pharmacist or the pharmacy technician. When I first started work I had to manually price each prescription for submission to the HIC for payment. I had a typewriter and a water bath and gummed labels. I now have a wonderful computer program that prices all of my prescriptions and at the press of a key produces my claim and puts it onto a disc. Many of you are advanced even further and are paid by PBS On-line.

Pharmacy 2005 Conference Supplement - A Brief Overview

Couran Cove, the eco-resort developed by Ron Clarke, the Australian Olympic runner, is located on South Stradbroke Island approximately 45 minutes by car, south of Brisbane and 35 minutes north of Coolangatta on the Gold Coast. It is reached by ferry and the accommodation style is in stark contrast to that of high rise Gold Coast. It is both attractive and peaceful, and comes complete with a range of conference facilities and social activities. This was the venue for the fifth Friendly Societies' Pharmacy 2005 Conference, fast becoming a mainstream event for all pharmacists.

Pharmacy 2005 Conference Supplement - An Address by Jim Howard

Pharmacy 2005 "The Pharmacy Management Conference" Opening Address by Jim Howard President of the Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacies Association and Chairman Conference Organising Committee 8 September 2005 On behalf of the organising committee - and the many companies whose generous sponsorship has enabled us to once again present this conference to you - I would like to welcome everyone to Pharmacy 2005. This is the fifth occasion on which we have held this conference and we believe that over that time it has established itself as a significant event in the yearly calendar of the retail pharmacy sector. As before our focus is the management of retail pharmacy - it's about the retail component of your business, and how you ensure that you don't just survive in an increasingly competitive retail sector, but grow and create real and sustainable value.

Pharmacy 2005 Conference Supplement - Some Papers and Presentations - Part 1

In this segment, three organisations are represented. One is Medeco, which is an organisation that develops medical centres in conjunction with pharmacists. For those pharmacists wishing to go into a more secure direction, this is worth a read. The second organisation is PCA Nu Systems, well known for its Fred dispensing program and the third is Sigma announcing its merger with Arrow Pharmaceuticals.

Pharmacy 2005 Conference Supplement - Some Papers and Presentations - Part 2

What follows are excerpts of material by Barry Urquhart, well-known speaker from Western Australia. Barry's presentation comprised a range of ideas from his various publications, one of which is presented here, along with some additional .pdf files. This is only a fraction of the valuable material available at Couran Cove, that was on offer for the Pharmacy 2005 Conference

Provident People or Compulsive Collectors ?

In the budget papers published in May it was proposed that prescriptions dispensed early for patients before they became eligible for the Pharmaceutical Safety Net would not be counted towards their Safety Net threshold, and, prescriptions dispensed early after reaching the Safety Net would be dispensed at the pre Safety Net price. I aired this proposal on the Auspharmlist postings and received a number of comments, some suggested the clever hoarder would obtain multiple prescriptions and have them dispensed at multiple pharmacies. This could work where there are multiple pharmacies to be able to visit, in the country, particularly this part of the country, there are not a number of pharmacies in close proximity to each other, and I know in other less settled parts of Australia there would be even fewer opportunities for a hoarder to hoard. It was also pointed out by some wise pharmacist that with the introduction of PBS online there would not be the opportunity for people to beat the system by using multiple pharmacies as the all knowing HIC computer would know when the last dispensing had occurred irrespective of where it had occurred.

Pharmacy………….Let’s Not Ignore the Future.

There is no doubt significant change is in the air, and must occur. It seems that Pharmacy is being threatened like never before. Politics, agreements, workload, profit (or lack of), generics on the march, retirements, costs, Government attitude and to top it off, Roger lurking in the background, apparently harbouring all manner of evil intentions. Notwithstanding the complexities of the issues at hand, the fact remains that in order to survive any or all of the above, Pharmacies and Pharmacists’ must be able to meet the coming challenges and adapt.

DIGITAL DIGEST - A Snapshot of the Digital Imaging Market

The digital imaging market is an explosive market in terms of rapid growth, which is currently measured at between 60-150% annual increase, depending on country, geographic location and type of outlet. The market is settling down somewhat, and is forming up along the lines of the now "old" silver halide market, as to where consumers go for image processing. This puts pharmacy in the box seat because it is a trusted outlet servicing women, who are major consumers in the digital imaging market. Pharmacists who are not looking to this market, particularly given the difficult times yet to emerge from the Fourth Agreement, should look to installing kiosks or adding kiosks to their front of shop offering immediately.

PSA Press Releases

Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists

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