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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

More Archives
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 80: March 2009



Welcome to the March 2009 edition of i2P. February has been a difficult month for all Australians with floods and devastation of property in the north of our country, while in the south, and principally in Victoria, fire, community disruption, and death for over 200 unfortunate citizens. Our sympathy goes out to all victims of these disasters, and privately, all writers for i2P have contributed to and supported the many financial appeals in various ways. February also marked one of those crossroads that pharmacy spokespeople allude to from time to time. I refer to the open clash between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). At issue was the future of independent pharmacist professional services, and representation on the 5CPA negotiating committee forming the major issues.

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 Joint Approach to Development of the Pharmacy Profession  * Focus on Greater Consumer Involvement in Health Care Welcomed  * Pack Medications Ready for Possible Evacuations  * Accreditation a National First for PSA  * Help for Pharmacists Hit by Bushfires  * A New Pharmacy Self Care

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:  * Prevent stroke by using optimal antithrombotic therapy   * Drugs of little use in treating dementia   * Who is behind the medicines information on the internet?  * Side effects warning about varenicline (Champix) * A clear explanation of prescription pricing  * The February issue of Australian Prescriber is out now in paper and online

Australian Self Medication Industry Press Releases

For over 30 years, the Australian Self-Medication Industry has represented companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of non-prescription consumer healthcare products and related firms. ASMI is the peak industry body for the Australian self-care industry including consumer healthcare products ranging from over-the-counter medicines (OTC) to complementary medicines.  Also represented by ASMI are companies providing manufacturers with services, such as advertising, public relations, regulatory consultancy, legal advice and industry statistics. Topics for this month:  * NHHRC blueprint a welcome step to improved national health  

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:              * E-Health Forum              * Pharmacy Expo - The Premier Pharmacy Practice Event           * Pharmacy Management Conference 2009            * ARCHI Design & Development Conference

Around the Traps

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column. This Month:   * Can You Help Out with the NSW Allied Health Workforce Study  * PBS LISTING PROVIDES EASIER ACCESS TO IMPORTANT ANTIFUNGAL MEDICINE

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.

Pharma - Goss

Pharma-goss      With Rollo Manning This month: * The future for the Pre Reg Year * A National Registration process * Feel like a bet?

Time to Sort Things Out

Finally, a high profile person has had the fortitude to stand up and highlight the major weakness in Australia’s pharmacy infrastructure. The event was the Neil Naismith Memorial Lecture; the speaker was Professor Charlie Benrimoj (the high profile person); the backdrop was the preparation for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement and the release of an interim paper by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s interim report –“A Healthier Future For All Australians”. Professor Benrimoj argued that it was unacceptable for one organisation (The Pharmacy Guild of Australia - PGA) to be driving the professional future of pharmacy. This comment ignited the full fury of the PGA in an over-reactive response that was later moderated, causing the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) to “clarify” its position through the issue of a public statement and the PGA to issue a range of uncharacteristic private apologies. The issue of discontent was PSA representation on the negotiating committee for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. Equal representation was argued for, but the PSA had to end up with a one-third interest, further diluted because the PSA members had dual “citizenship” in that they were pharmacy owners and more likely to come down on the side of the PGA in any decision making process. Effectively, this means that PSA ends up with minimal influence in negotiations and limited effectiveness in promoting the continuing development of independent professional services. Further, it would seem that PSA needs to undergo major reforms and re-invent itself to be relevant to meet the needs of the majority of its constituents e.g. perhaps PSA could initiate a rule where appointees to the 5CPA negotiating committee should not be pharmacy owners.

The Benrimoj Bombshell - Commentary by Karalyn Huxhagen

Editor's Note: For over eight years, i2P has been writing about poor pharmacy leadership issues that have resulted from executive decisions, mostly emanating from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. It is as if the whole embodiment of pharmacy in Australia is a "bricks and mortar" building with pharmacists inside focusing on selling medicines and doing work that is uninteresting and unattractive, (except for a few adventurous souls who have made their own way and have carved their own image). Where is the intereresting work backed by skilled pharmacist professionals? And why must any independent professional service be tied to a pharmacy? i2P was absolutely delighted when Charlie Benrimoj "burst into flames" recently, when he delivered the Neil Naismith Commemorative Lecture in Melbourne early in February, as reported below in Pharmacy News . Charlie Benrimoj struck a nerve when he made his comments, and being a high profile member of the pharmacy profession, succeeded in getting his message across. PGA reaction to the Benrimoj lecture was swift and aggressive, forcing a range of apologies later, and a clarification by Charlie regarding the second part of his paper i.e. professional services should still be delivered through pharmacies The underlying structure of pharmacy is a totally unbalanced one, without even a hint of a democratic process.

Deglobalisation....Commentary by James Ellerson

The following article appeared in Economist.com recently, and is concerned with a new buzz word - "deglobalisation". In December, we reported on the move by the European Union to halt the process of pharmacy liberalisation is and that we could be witnessing a sea change in terms of EU decision making. The EU does seem to be slowly moving away from favouring excessive deregulation towards a "slower and more considered approach“ with all the costs and benefits this brings for EU consumers and patients. In other words, pharmacy ownership by pharmacists. These thoughts are being internationally adopted,it seems, as various economies come to grip with the fact that globalisation had its "good bits", but now are outweighed by the "bad bits". If the deglobalisation process begins to take effect, it could favour SME's, including pharmacy. And are not these SME's the entities that have the best result in terms of overall employment and job satisfaction?. Read on, and also absorb the commentary by James Ellerson:

Understanding Indigenous Health

Editor's Note: Currently there is a greater focus in repect of Indigenous health. And about time, some would say. Only very small pockets of the pharmacy profession have attempted to come to terms with this major problem, and they genuinely need your management assistance. Rollo Manning could well be regarded as the pharmacy expert in indigenous health, and he vigorously defends the rights of indigenous people to enjoy good health - just like the rest of the Australian community. Rollo's sympathetic insights reflect his long association with, and understanding of, the issues surrounding indigenous health.

Do We Want To Be Pharmacists or Grocers?

In New Zealand we have approximately 3,000 pharmacists practicing, and 48,000 nurses – or if you like sixteen nurses for each pharmacist. I suspect that the same proportion exists in Australia. The problem with this is that nurses are already embedded within primary health care practice as integral members of the collaborative health care team. Pharmacists are not! The opportunities for services being presented to pharmacists are also available to other healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, who it is fair to say, are better positioned to take advantage.

Why are Pharmacists the Unseen Health professionals?

The release of the “National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s interim report” is seen by many as a disappointing score card for the role of pharmacists and the practice of pharmacy. The question many of us have asked in many forums especially of late, is why pharmacists and what they are trained to do, is so poorly understood. Why do we have politicians discussing how poor the service is at the till when they buy toilet paper on the way home from work rather than the fact that out of 10 businesses in their local strip shopping centre we are actually one of the few businesses still open and able to provide a professional service at 7pm?

Let me own my HMRs

For those who may be unaware, the Pharmacists’ Division of APESMA has recently advocated for HMR payments to be made directly to individual pharmacists. As an independent contractor and employee, allow me now to go on record as saying: “This is the right thing to do.” Unfortunately the Pharmacy Guild along with a certain number of proprietors are not in agreement with this position! Surprise surprise!

Does the National Health And Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC) Know What it is Talking About in e-Health?

Editor's Note: Dr David More is recognised as one of the health informatics industry experts and we are pleased to carry his column in i2P. For this month we have selected his comments in regard to a report prepared as a discussion paper by NHHRC. David More queries whether e-health is fully understood by this group, and the fact that they seem intent on producing a different version of a shared patient record to that of NEHTA. As he says, " I am vitally interested in making a difference to the quality and safety of Health Care in Australia through the use of information technology. There is no choice.. it has to be made to work! I have been reflecting for the last couple of days on the NHHRC comments in the e-Health area. To me what seems to be the core of what they have said, we have:"

A Trap for Those Uninformed.

Those that read this intellectually dormant column will know I have an interest in patency matters. I read them, I file them and for the want of a better expression, I create them. My main focus is of course the bewitching yet bewildering world of pharmacy. A new pharmacy product recently came under my radar and grabbed my attention. I’m not able to share the name of the product with you for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t wish to presume the inventor has not taken suitable advice, and secondly, the product is in my own field of interest. The product has been “published” in at least one magazine and has appeared on the net by virtue of an item released by a university. As a university was apparently connected to the product I did a search of both the Australia and US patent data bases. Nothing.

Retail: Top End, or Dumb Down?

The old and historically rich little suburb in which Mrs Wright and I reside has an interesting social demographic which consists of four main groups. 1.Old locals that show no real animosity to invaders. 2.Average type folk like us that came here years ago before the rush. 3.CUBSWAMM (Cashed Up Bogan’s With A Monster Mortgage). 4.Breathtakingly well off folk.

Menopause Madness and Misconceptions

I watched the blush rising from her chest to the top of her head. As she fumbled for something in her bag, her complexion radiated a moist sheen and small droplets of perspiration began to trickle down her cheeks. “It will be over in a minute,” she explained and now clenched in her white knuckled hand a small fan was soon working overtime. “What do you know about ‘Maca’?” she asked, “a woman I recently met swears by it - It’s a herb from Peru for menopause. My pharmacist said he’d find out about it for me, but he hasn’t got back to me yet”. So what does and doesn’t work? This month I’m going to talk about complementary medicine claiming to help with Menopausal symptoms.

What Are We Waiting For?

I’ve been thinking about waiting, workouts, and work-arounds. None of us likes waiting. Well, I guess that depends on who’s waiting for whom. Someone observed that there are two kinds of people in our lives—people we keep waiting and people for whom we wait. For example, at lunch today it bugged me when I had to wait for a table, then a waiter. Of course, it didn’t bother me that the waiter had to wait for me to make up my mind (Don’t they get paid to wait?).

What's the Message?

Good advertising. It’s an interesting phrase. To some it is an oxymoron. That is, a contradiction of meanings. Much of the debate centres on the adjective, the word “good”. It can be hard to be objective about an adjective. The noun, advertising, merits an academic treatise in its own right. For local government entities and associations, elected officers and professional appointed people often engage in considerable discourse on who exactly is the target audience. The term stakeholder can be all embracing. However, by its very nature any generalisation about whom one is communicating with, compromises the impact among and the relevance to the selected audience or limited audiences.

The Second Ten Commandments

We all know about the original Ten Commandments, but have you ever heard of "The Second Ten Commandments"? These pearls of wisdom, sent to me by a friend, have been often attributed to Elodie Armstrong. I have taken the liberty of putting my spin on them:

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