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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
- Issue 75: September 2008
- Issue 74: August 2008
- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

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We are in the process of moving all of our articles to the new site.

In the meantime you can find them on the old i2P site.

Issue 63: August 2007



Welcome to the August 2007 edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists E-Magazine). As we go to press, PBS reforms are starting to bite and uncertainty through the profession and the industry at large is rife. Not even PGA executives, it seems, are able to fully clarify issues or give a proper sense of direction, and proper business planning is no longer a possibility given that so little forward information is available. More than ever the PGA gives the impression it is but an extension of a government bureaucracy, well paid for its usefulness to government, but seemingly ineffectual in representing the true interests of its members.

Abbey's Story

Editor's Note: Readers may have noticed that the page for Robert Forsythe has not been active in recent months. This is because both he and his wife have been coming to terms with a serious congenital illness that beset his daughter "Abbey" . On April 16th Robert found his little daughter screaming in pain, with no control over the left hand side of her body. A Royal Flying Doctor Flight to the Royal Brisbane Hospital ensued marking the start of a three month saga of life and death for the Forsythe family, to unscramble a blood vessel abnormality. The photograph at the top of this report is dated 27/05/2007 and you can see a wheelchair in the background. What a difference! No doubt helped along by Abbey's irrepressible personality and big smile. The newspaper story and photograph at the foot of the page was printed in the local Rockhampton newspaper as the family returned, and many local friends were on hand at the airport to welcome the family home. Garry Boyd is a friend of the family and was moved to write the story following

PSA Press Releases

PSA News - 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. This month:   * The Australian Pharmacist Aged Care Primer   * Finalists for the 2007 Pharmacy Student of the Year have been decided  * Queensland chooses PSOTY finalist  * Infectious diseases – what’s sex got to do with it?

Selected Pharmacy Publications to Note

This section of i2P is designed to be an experimental section to introduce other publications that have similarities to i2P, but are based in other countries. The globalisation of Australian pharmacy started around the year 2000. It has had minimal impact up to 2004, but that is now changing and i2P must reflect that change. There are many aspects of globalisation not yet fully understood, but I think that to most of us, globalisation means that we must be quicker on our feet and have pharmacy practices with sufficient critical mass to withstand global pressures. Depending on the model of pharmacy chosen, and its location, global pressures will vary. As pharmacists we must begin to open up our minds to new ideas and innovative ways of delivering pharmacy practice.

Find it Here

As part of our information service, i2P informs on Conferences, Workshops and Seminars or press releases that may be of interest to pharmacists. PSA event information will be found here, but PSA news will continue to be published separately in the section reserved for PSA press releases. Pharmacy organisations may submit material for publication, preferably in digital format (Word document). This month: * The Pharmacy 2007 Conference - organised by the Friendly Societies, this conference has gone from strength to strength each year to become the premier pharmacy management conference. Don't be disappointed - book now to ensure your reservation in Hobart this year. * Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC)- The full comprehensive program. This is your future and is the professional event of the year. Download your copy from this site. * Kevin Rudd opens Health Information Pharmacy Morningside * Mike Lazarow Croatia Tour * Dynasties of China Tour - organised by Mike Lazarow in conjunction with the   ACPP&M * FIP Pharmaceutuical Sciences World Congress and the 67th Annual Congress (Beijing, China) * New release - Therapeutic Guidelines Gastrointestinal 4 2006. Order your copy to keep pace with current developments and guidelines.

Health News from Around the World

This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy. Readers are encouraged to comment on any news item by contacting the editor through the "Contact Us" panel located on the home page. News items and topics displayed 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 will be published through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.


For August i2P   * The missing $4.30 on PBS supplies to remote Aboriginal people   * Cures kill   * “It won’t happen again”   * Vale Pam Nieman

Assistive Technology for Seniors - Will Pharmacy Take up the Challenge?

Assistive Technology is the new descriptor for systems innovation and design directed towards the increasing number of senior citizens that form a significant demographic in Australia’s population mix. The ranks of the seniors are about to be swollen through the addition of new retirees described as “baby-boomers”. With this significant group comes a longer life expectancy, high levels of mobility, control a of a significant percentage of Australia’s wealth, and the objective of setting out to spend their children’s inheritance in their lifetime. By 2047 the senior citizen ranks are expected to be around 27 percent of the total population of Australia, and with their ageing will come high government expenditure on health.

Community Pharmacy Practice: 3. International Reports Show Opportunities for Australia

Editor: A series of international reports point to innovative projects in community pharmacy that have proven to be of value and may be widely applicable. The reports focus on services related mainly to prescription medicines and their potential impact on national health costs. Con Berbatis points to the key implications for Australian pharmacy. He notes that dispensing prescription medicines provide the dominant source of viability internationally and pharmacy is reliant on funding by government-funded and other forms of health insurance. In many countries efforts continue to enhance prescription-related services especially of patients with chronic conditions. But more effort must be invested in the non-dispensing self-care and primary care capabilities of community pharmacists in order to respond to national health priorities and open new sources of revenue for community pharmacies. The United Kingdom has the best-organised structure for non-dispensing primary care involvement by community pharmacists.

The “Baby - Boomers” are Knocking on the Door

If you live in a rural-regional area in Australia, you could not have but noticed that property values have been steadily rising (well above the norm) and that rental properties have been diminishing. Of course, similar comments can be made regarding city properties and rentals – but for different reasons. The Baby Boomers are retiring and are fleeing the cities for more attractive and less stressful areas in which to reside. They arrive cashed up in a rural regional area, buy or build a suitable residence, and for the moment, have cash left over to live it up a little. A ripple effect continues to occur, particularly for coastal residents who are in turn selling out to the incoming city buyers, while they move slightly inland using their newfound cash to buy a cheaper residence and have some cash left over as well. Suddenly, the market is tight at all levels and some people are becoming severely disadvantaged as a result.

Back to the Drawing Board For NEHTA!

Editor's Note: Deep concerns exist among the Australian Health IT community as to how e-health has been managed, in particular the performance of the peak body NEHTA. An enquiry is being currently held regarding NEHTA and it is being managed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). David More has prepared a well-researched submission, and his comments follow: There is the need for much enhanced investment in e-Health education if we are to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the emerging technologies and increased investment. It must be realised that there is a ‘chicken and egg’ problem here for without an agreed and funded national e-Health Plan who would venture to build a career in the area? Second it is clear virtually everyone is as confused as I am about who should be doing what with whom in the Australian e-Health space. The alphabet soup of AHMAC, AHIC, NEHTA, the Jurisdictions, DoHA, Treasury, DCITA and Standards Australia’s IT-14 Committee seriously need a summit to define borders, roles, functions and responsibilities. It would be a great plan if the BCG could bring such a summit together and even better if we could get all of these bodies to operate in open, transparent and co-operative ways. Additionally this melange has to work out, for everyone’s sake, how it is going to interact and work with the private sector – be they service or Health IT providers. No wonder we are seeing the level of paralysis that presently exists, and the likely waste of valuable resources, when there are so many with ‘fingers in the pie’. Sorting this issue out really needs to be some sort of prelude to development of the National e-Health Plan.

CDEP Should not go Without a Transitional Replacement Program

One of the pillars of the pharmacy operation on the Tiwi Islands, where the first pharmacy business to be owned and operated by an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation took shape, was the training opportunities it gave to Aboriginal people who otherwise would have been on welfare benefits.

Inventing and Patenting…………with due care.

We are an audacious lot, us Australians. We are clever inventors, as our history reveals, but sometimes wanting when faced with the task of getting to market with appropriate intellectual property protection in place. Ralph Sarich is by no means unique, but his orbital engine is an outstanding example of both commercialisation and intellectual property (IP) development. I refer to the commercialisation in a personal sense, as we are yet to drive cars with an orbital engine fitted.

The CSO is Here to Stay – It Needs to be Reviewed

Those wholesalers who applied to become accredited CSO Distributors were told there would be a review of the rules at the end of the first year of its operation. For those who were accredited, the promised review is both overdue and essential. The CSO was originally proposed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, tabled as an option as a part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement. Whilst the Government may not have been that keen, it seems that the Guild considered the introduction of a CSO as a critical element of the accord. As a consequence, the CSO was created – a by product of the Guild’s negotiations with the Government regarding community pharmacy’s remuneration for supplying PBS medicines to the average Australian. Twelve months on, it is critical that what was forged in the crucible of negotiations between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild should now be considered by a broader constituency including all relevant stakeholders in the PBS medicines supply process – even the wholesalers themselves.

Finally, the Age of Reason

Sorry about the title, I simply couldn’t think of anything more creative at the time. That the Rowa Speedcase is available in Australia is a signal that we are embracing assisted dispensing solutions, at last. Very early in 2005, whilst in the UK, I suffered from a rush of blood and presented myself at St Thomas’s Hospital in the hope I would be permitted to view the newly installed Rowa Speedcase. I happened upon a young pharmacist from Brisbane that was sympathetic to both my persistence for coming to London on the train in such damn cold weather and my somewhat strange predilection for such machinery……….you guessed it, he asked the boss, and the boss advised in no uncertain terms and completely without ceremony that I had wasted my train ticket. Further, since I’d come so far, I might as well hop over to the factory in Germany for a look. Great, that pleased me nearly as much as the aftermath of taking Mrs Wright to the Harrod’s sale.

PBS Online Debacle

Congratulations to the federal government for succeeding in launching another assault on community pharmacy and the public in general! The furore over Medicare's decision to remove the "01 processing code" giving pharmacists the discretion to supply concessional benefits to people who have had a PBS online prescription rejection despite holding an in-date card, has hit hard at the very core of affordable healthcare in this country.

Political Football With Medication

Medication mismanagement and wastage is not the domain of the uninformed population who use and often abuse our sacred Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The reality is that statistics are highlighting a number of serious mismanagement issues in terms of policies, procedures and blatant cost shifting between the States and the Commonwealth. We are in a dynamic phase as far as a rapidly expanding ageing population and an increasing requirement for complex and expensive medications to manage wellbeing in the elderly. This, combined with the reduction in professional resources, provides the ingredients for a volatile cocktail with the winners or losers being the elderly and the average Australian tax payer.

Neither Fish nor Fowl?

Sometimes I wonder just how our profession views itself. Are pharmacists professionals or simply shopkeepers? I know I’ve posed this question before but last week’s combined Pharmaceutical Society/Society of Hospital Pharmacists continuing education night again led me to ask it. The topic was pharmaceutical research and the future of pharmacy which I would have expected to be of much interest if we are to be taken seriously as health care professionals. Pharmacist population of the state is about 12-1300, number attending 25-30!

There’s Murder in the Mix.

Long ago when we thought having something like an American Drugstore would be the way to go, we used to subscribe to an American Drugstore Journal, the name of which was long forgotten. However, the substance of one of the articles has never been forgotten: There’s Murder in the Mix. The article dealt with the challenges of product mix in a Drugstore, too much low margin products, high volume, but maybe not enough profit – too much high margin products, low volume, maybe not enough profit. The ideal was to have a balance of high margin with traffic generating low margin to get a profit that was just right.

We All Need to be Girlie Men (With Apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Pester power. The phrase and the related sales revenue have captured the imagination and attention of retailers and marketers around the world. In Australia, child influenced purchases are estimated to total $75 billion per annum, an average $1.5 billion each week. Dedicated marketing campaigns, product lines and retail outlets have been developed to service and capture this seemingly attractive market segment. And yet those figures fade to almost insignificance when compared to the omnipotent presence of the single biggest influencer in the buying marketplace. Women.

Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD's) and Meal Replacement Schemes

Editor's Note: Stuart Adams has written a book titled "Healthy Weight Loss--Healthy Life" and in this edition of i2P he shares a chapter relating to Very Low Calorie Diets. Weight loss programs do have some downside and Stuart's article will help in advising patients of the pitfalls. Better still -- buy the book!

The Interpretation of Urine Toxicology in Dependency Treatment. Principals and Pitfalls

Editor's Note:Dr Byrne (and his associates) advocate for better policies which are proven to reduce risks for drug users and the general community under a framework in parallel with Australia's official policy of harm minimization. The findings of the New South Wales Drug Summit recommend better access to methadone, detoxification and other dependency treatments. It also advised investigating alternative services such as supervised injecting centres, leading to the opening of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in 2001. Dr Andrew Byrne has been involved in opioid treatments from a primary care background for 20 years at the same site in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney. He is recognised worldwide as a specialist in the addiction field and was involved in the seminal stages of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He received the Dole-Nyswander award from the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence in April 2006 Dr Byrne and his associates at the Redfern Clinic report on a seminar where the speaker was Dr John Lewis, Toxicology Unit, Pacific Laboratory Medicine Services.

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