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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
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- Issue 72: June 2008

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Issue 45: February 2006



Welcome to the first edition of i2P in 2006. Most of us have simply been running just to keep up with recent changes, and the holiday period has not been marked by peaceful interludes. Of concern are the changes emanating from the Fourth Agreement. A project of any dimension consists of a range of programs that are supportive to each other and are integrated where practical, for maximum efficiency. If one of the programs begins not to work, then its design has to be revisited and changed. This is logical and commonsense. If a program has to be changed to the extent that it is repeatedly being patched, then it is time to abort that program and re-engineer the entire project to ensure the program content remains a viable and efficient.

Events of Significance

As part of our information service, i2P will begin to inform on Conferences, Workshops and Seminars that may be of interest to pharmacists. PSA information will continue to be published separately in the section reserved for PSA press releases. The first conference recorded for 2006 is the Pharmacy 2006 Pharmacy Management Conference. This conference is organised by the Friendly Societies and features people associated with National Pharmacies, one of the most efficient and professional pharmacy operators in Australia. Friendly Societies are a genuine alternative model of pharmacy, and have been around virtually since the First Fleet. The conference is open to all, and if the last conference is any indication, the hospitality is friendly and the content is topical and first-rate, and you will recognise many Pharma industry faces in attendance. Mark your diary now !

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.


Pharma-goss With Rollo Manning  * The supermarket pharmacy gets bigger  * Students asked to question “Pre-Reg” year  * Professional development money to be spent on co-payments  * Money in lobbying for drug marketing  * Guild man asks that “sh…ty” pharmacies go  * Person to watch… (a regular item this year)

Mentoring-The Secret Ingredient for Change Management

Continuous change is now a feature of pharmacy, and the agents of change (government, major retailers, pharmaceutical wholesalers and manufacturers, the medical profession and consumer groups) will continue to build momentum in their attempts to influence the pharmacy model most suited to their view of need. Change, unless managed efficiently, will cause displacement and disruption. Within a pharmacy environment, change can translate to increased overheads and inefficiencies and loss of direction. In the wider area, outside of a pharmacy (but still within the industry), it can translate to confusion and poor leadership. Mentoring provides an overlay that is difficult for major retailers to duplicate. It can be the secret weapon holding pharmacy of the future in an acceptable format, because it will be health care consumers (if they are allowed into the mentoring process) deciding what format it wants - not "big box" retailers, government or pharmacy professional bodies.

Picking up the Pieces

Now that the “little surprises” in the Fourth Agreement are disclosed, we are still not fully informed as to the total effects this agreement will have on community pharmacy; at least not until a full financial year baseline has played out. It is expected that gross profit returns from dispensing will diminish and that a climbing number of patients will become aggressive, as the various rules impact, particularly the 20-day rule for Safety Net purposes. Managing this change along with coping in professional and practice development, particularly establishing a stable model for pharmacy that will withstand all pressures; the mentoring required to hold it all together; the defence that has to be mounted to counter the “big box” retailers and the still diminishing human resources in the rural sector, begs the question: “Will pharmacists ever get on top of their mounting problems?”

2006 International and Australian Websites in Health and Pharmacy for Pharmacists

Editor's Note : In just 10 years the internet has opened a new world of resources for pharmacists . In 2005 i2P commenced an annual  series on health and pharmacy websites for Australia’s pharmacists to better contribute to health and research into pharmacy practice in self, primary and secondary health care settings.   We are pleased to publish Con Berbatis’ 2006 special list of Australian and international pharmacy and health websites for i2P readers. Part 3 of the series on OTCs in countries with and without a pharmacy-controlled class of drugs will feature in the March 2006 issue of i2P.

4CPA Ė Will Increased Government Regulation Reduce Competition and Increase Costs?

The Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement is ostensibly brokered between the Australian Government, acting on behalf of all Australians, and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, an organisation that represents only the independent pharmacy owners of Australia. Whilst the new deal has been announced, there is still a lot of detail to be clarified and that's where the Devil is normally found. A critical difference between this agreement and its predecessors has been the negotiation between these two parties of changes to the pharmacy wholesale margin. These discussions were remarkable in that they saw the Federal Government intervene in a significant way in the operation of what has been previously a free market - that of pharmacy wholesaling.

Tabloid TV Weight Loss

The availability, or lack thereof, of Xenical tablets was raised on the 'current affair' program Today Tonight (4/1/2006). The primary definer of the report was Herbalist and Pharmacist Gerald Quigley. The combination of such professional qualifications defines Quigley as both trusted in terms of his scientific knowledge of medicines, and 'new-age' in terms of his ability to embrace naturopathy. Quigley argues that making an informed choice is difficult for people trying to lose weight because scientifically proven weight loss products are medicines, and as such, cannot be advertised and displayed in the pharmacy. The result, according to Quigley, is that people waste money on unproven products.

The Marketing Focus E-Zine

Editor's Note: Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, Perth.  Barry is an internationally recognised conference keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic planning workshops and marketing business coach. His e-zine can be subscribed to, and the information he delivers has relevance to the pharmacy market.


It is very hard to find a person who has not been touched by the dreaded disease called cancer. When my brother-in- law was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma the whole family only had a few short weeks to fit in as many things as he wanted to do and people he wanted to see before he died. The grief and questions as to why and what more could we have done came back to us all over the months that followed and with time this has eased. The acute shortage of specialist staff and facilities and even the huge demands on his time-poor GP made me very angry that the health system was failing us badly.

A Report From the Productivity Commission

The key points from the report release by the Productivity Commission on the 19th January 2006 should be of interest to all health professional including Pharmacists. The complete report can be found at http://www.pc.gov.au/study/healthworkforce/finalreport/healthworkforce.pdf and is called “Australian Health Workforce and was completed on the 27th December 2005.

Pharmacy Practice: Where to From Here?

As the dust begins to settle following the signing of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (4CPA), the Pharmacy Profession is faced with new challenges and opportunities. These challenges and opportunities will not only impact on survival of Community Pharmacies, but also the practice of Pharmacists at large. An integral component of the 4CPA was the $500 million allocated by the Federal Government in provision of Professional Pharmacy Programs and Services by Pharmacists including amongst others; Home and Residential Medication Management Reviews, Asthma and Diabetes Pilot Programs and Improved Counselling for Dispensing of Emergency Contraception.

How do we Interpret Change?

Forgive my esoteric lunacy, but did the Director of Liquor Licensing Victoria plunge a large stainless steel nail into the fragile coffin of Pharmacy during January, presumably when we weren't paying attention? Those responsible for how, where and when we purchase packaged alcohol in Victoria have given approval for a trial to be conducted in three Coles supermarkets selling alcohol from the grocery aisles rather than from a dedicated department. When Ross Warneke of 3AW was harrumphing this as a move akin to treason due to the fact there would, in his view, be less control able to be exercised over the sale of product to young people, I rather indelicately pointed out to him that there is a greater risk to the community by allowing children under the age of sixteen to attend McDonalds unsupervised.

Will We Ever Learn?

I would like to say happy new year to all readers of the i2P newsletter. Mind you, I'm not sure whether or not I say this tongue in cheek, given the traumatic start to the year for our community pharmacy friends. My discussions with the pharmacists I meet during my visits program for DVA have lately been full of angst about "what the government doing to us", meaning of course the new rules governing PBS repeats and changes to the scheduling of pseudoephedrine. Once again pharmacists are crying foul about having to act as government agents policing government decisions.

Rules With the Flexibility of an Iron Rod

Last October I wrote of my perceptions of the then proposed Safety Net 20 Day rule and the possible challenges it would impose. At that time I expressed the hope that some provisions would be made to enable genuine requirements of "early" dispensing to be accommodated. Unfortunately this was a wish that did not come true; we have been burdened with a system that is as flexible as an iron rod. The Guild was busy last year with negotiations for the most recent agreement, and on the whole they negotiated terms that are probably better than were at times feared.

PSA Press Releases

Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists. This month: Updated Supply Protocols for key Pharmacist Only Medicines

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