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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 69: March 2008



Welcome to the March 2008 edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists). We enter this month in NSW with a new Pharmacy Practice Act – not the full edition recommended in the Wilkinson Report some eight years ago, but at least something to enable pharmacists to organise themselves financially, to fight for their market share. Some insights into listing companies and trading shares can be found in the article ‘More a “pop” than a “bang”’. All our regular information columns are present and we would point you to a new international pharmacy practice publication we have just listed in the “Publications to Note” column. PSA and NPS also appear with their regular press releases.

National Prescribing Service Press Releases

The National Prescribing Service (NPS)is a valued independent resource for good and unbiased prescribing information and education. Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies, Australia is blessed to have such a resource. Pharmacists are moving closer to a prescribing role within the health system and it is appropriate that i2P promote the message of the NPS. This Month: * NPS clarifies issues related to Stilnox, a brand of zolpidem   * Neurocognitive effects of chemotherapy *  2008 National QUM Awards

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: * Agreement marks milestone for PSA  * PSA welcomes NDPSC decision   * NAPSA finalist ready to be Pharmacy Student of the Year

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.

Around the Traps

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column. This Month: * Pharmacy International Network (PIN) -European study into pharmacy services * Health Information Pharmacy (HIP) newsletter

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: * Change Champions Seminar - Improving Medication Safety * International Line-Up for NMS 2008 * National Pharmacies-Calendar of Events - Pharmacy 2008 Conference



A “Pop” more than a “Bang”

NSW has finally enacted a new Pharmacy Practice Act, the bulk of which was ratified in the NSW Parliament in 2006. It arrived with more the effect of a “pop” rather than a “bang”. Because NSW is the most populous pharmacy state, the flow on effects from this new legislation will filter through nationally. On the 25th February 2008, legislation titled the “Pharmacy Practice Act 2006” came into being, with the passing of the “Pharmacy Practice Regulation 2008”, the latter enabling the former to take effect. Why it took the best part of two years to reach the final stage is anyone’s guess, because most of the content was postulated and commented on well before the effective date of commencement. Did it have something to do with the recent NSW Supreme Court case involving the PGA and Pharmacy Direct (now a Coles subsidiary company), or was the timing of this action simply a coincidence?

Primary Care and Pharmacy: 2. Gaps and Pharmacy Opportunities from an International Study

Editor:  The latest analysis of primary care in seven countries was reported in October 2007 by the prestigious Commonwealth Fund in New York. It showed   Australia ranked well in per capita and national costs, the quality of care, referral to specialists and use of test results.  But after hours access to GPs ranked low and emergency room visits relatively high. Australians with chronic conditions had fewer medications, plans for home management and fewer received reminders for follow-up or preventive care. Con Berbatis reports on gaps in primary care in Australia which offer opportunities for task substitution in primary care by community pharmacists.

Private Consultancy – The Way of the Future

One of the main areas of pharmacy practice that is causing me increasing concern is the notion that community pharmacists are solely interested in the bottom line and the perception that profits matter more than good healthcare. This is not only particular to proprietors, but all employed pharmacy staff. It concerns me that the public in general (as well as other health professionals) see community pharmacists more as business people, hell-bent on making a sale rather than professional and accountable healthcare providers.

Robotic Dispensing vs. Issues of the Day

It is tempting, when considering the purchase and installation of an expensive piece of technology, to naively hope that it will solve all your business’s problems. It is as equally tempting to ignore said machine after it is installed, and add it to the list of problems your business has! Ideally, a little less naivety and a little more application is the balance to be seeking. With this in mind, I ask you to consider some of the headline issues that are current in community pharmacy, and how I think one particular piece of technology, the large chaotic storage robotic dispensing machine, when properly applied, may be helpful.

Giving out Medicines the Right Way……(not)

Mrs ‘very senior” Wright resides in a Residential Care Facility (RCF), surrounded by many that are sadly suffering from dementia, either advanced or commencing. Happily, Mrs Wright suffers no such affliction. In fact she is as sharp as every, both in mind and tongue! She was amused to present to me an “Enquiry Pack” that the RCF apparently distributes to all and sundry, presumably as a marketing tool to solicit new business through the residents.

Compliance, Adherence or Concordance – Has the World Gone Mad?

This month I’m playing Devil’s Advocate in the great field of patient counselling. In the January/February edition of the Australian Journal of Pharmacy Debbie Rigby wrote a very interesting point of view about getting the most out of the HMR patient interview. “Motivational Interviewing” was the title and the article contained all the elements of an ideal interaction between pharmacist and patient but a thought was niggling at the back of my mind, namely “has the world gone completely mad?” Has it reached the stage where all medical people have to apparently ignore who is the expert when talking to patients?

Where are we Really Going?

I have a problem with all the differing views of where Pharmacy is going. The fact is, it’s seriously going down the drain. Pharmacy has taken a lead from the VB add, where bogans live out their dreams by buying bulk amounts of beer to swill at Warnie’s suggestion. Targeting the lowest common denominator wins again!

Understanding Indigenous Health

The genesis for Rollo Manning's article stems from a request from the Intervention Task Force for some ideas on how pharmacy can contribute to Stage Two of the Intervention. This article represents a response to that request and will be forwarded to the DoHA accordingly. Rollo's sympathetic insights reflect his long association with, and understanding of, the issues surrounding indigenous health.

They are Medical Certificates, But is it Cricket?

The emergence of the India Premier League has been a source of significant consternation, if not indignation, to some commentators of the great game of cricket. Huge sums of money being paid to players, a new form of the game that is far removed from the traditions of the five day test, driven by an elite of wealthy businessmen trying to make a profit – it’s a circus they say. The international governing body is weak, the rot is setting in and those in positions of influence need to take a good hard look at themselves. Does all this only remind me of the emotional outbursts, now consigned to history, that confronted Kerry Packer when one day cricket emerged all those years ago? Was that the beginning of the end for cricket, or the start of a whole new beginning? The fans have voted for the latter.

When an Invention Isn’t……….eh?

The apparently cuddly trade agreements between the US and Australia, made even more tantalizing by the free trade agreement as ratified on January 1 2005 does not necessarily mean that the wonderful language of cultural recognition and talk of joint war history makes us a junior partner in the patent stakes. Some might speculate that the monolithic but albeit overworked US patent office would hold sway over our decision making processes. The Americans could well be aghast at the notion that the high court of Australia recently found that a person skilled in a particular art does not necessarily mean they are skilled at discovering relevant patent documents as a result of searching.

Humor is Not Just Funny Business

Editor's Note: I have been a subscriber to Harvey Mackay's e-newsletter for some time. His writing is direct and simple with a "homespun" philosophical style, and this is what has made Harvey one of the best known social and business management commentators in the US. But there is nothing simple about his underlying message- it is very much "to the point". While reading this month's message from Harvey, it struck me that the principles espoused could very easily apply to Australian pharmacy, in that under multiple stresses inflicted on community pharmacy, the workplace is no longer the happy and relaxed environment it used to be. "Laughter is the best medicine", it is said, and it can contribute to morale and motivation in the workplace. Harvey explains why in his column...........

The Death of HealthConnect

The following press release appeared a week or two back from NT Health. At the same time it is announced HealthConnect is officially dead – or so it would seem – the name having been abandoned. Obviously to discover more was irresistible – had nirvana arrived I wondered?

The Question Is Y?

So many questions, so many more answers. Experts in abundance and so little insight and consensus!! It is amazing how just one generation, Y, can cause such interest, debate, confusion and contradiction. The essential answers will not be found by interviewing or listening to Generation Y themselves. They are confused, are looking for their own answers and identity. Indeed, that is the characteristic which makes them individually and collectively so interesting. It is they who are reaching out to their grandparents in search of finding themselves, their family histories, their sense of being and place in society.

Hall and Degenhardt on Opioid Prescribing Regulations: Researchers Suggest More Research!

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. In this edition of i2P, Dr Byrne comments on some of the medico-legal issues in drug diversion and the quality of, and access to, addiction treatments.

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