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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
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- Issue 77: November 2008
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- Issue 72: June 2008

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Issue 30: September 2004



Welcome to the September edition of i2P E-Magazine. You will note that our articles have increased in number for this month, so we would like to thank our existing writers, as well as the new writers currently appearing. We also draw your attention to a negative article published in the Australian, with a link published with other media commentary further along this editorial. Robert Forsythe is a relative newcomer to Australia, having been involved in the pharmacy scene in the UK, Europe, Middle East and now Australia. He brings a broad range of experiences with him and this is evident when you read his article on workplace reform. He begins well, offering a pathway starting from consumer need.

Your Say

Editor's Note: Ken Stafford had some words to say on pharmacy media coverage in the August edition of i2P E-Magazine. He received a response from a member of the media community who was also interested in pharmacy. As we have never embraced media coverage as a subject before, we thought we might carry the exercise forward and invited the person responding to become a writer for our publication. We are pleased to say that there was an acceptance, and Annona Pearse has submitted her first article further along this edition. Not strictly a Letter to the Editor, but we could not allow the Bulletin Magazine comments on Pat Gallagher (our IT specialist) to go unnoticed. He is a contender for Australia's smartest 100 people list, currently being compiled by the Bulletin. We happen to agree with the comments, and it is reflection on all i2P writers that they are in good company.

The Cost of Complexity

A stated objective of the pharmacy profession is to deliver good health outcomes. There is no basic disagreement in principle, but there certainly is in the method of delivery. At the point of conception, and all the steps leading up to the delivery of a patient program, there appears to be added layer upon layer of procedural complexity, which ends up burying the patient, and leaving the pharmacist bewildered in the mountain of paperwork


* Pharmacy ownership and the PBS * Tendering a better option for service * PBS income dominates turnover * Unlock the knowledge with pharmacy graduates * Quote of the month An address was given by Rollo at a conference looking at the future of the PBS on the relevance of pharmacy ownership to the PBS. The Power Point presentation can be viewed by

Price or People?

A couple of months ago, one of the television stations in Adelaide conducted its annual review of pharmacy prices. The segment was aired on a current affairs program and demonstrated that: (i) There is a relatively wide retail price band for any product, and (ii) Some pharmacies charge less for some products than others. A further ‘discovery’ was that if a pharmacy bought a product at a significantly reduced promotional price, it lowered its retail price significantly as well, while stocks lasted

Cholesterol Screening and Monitoring by Community Pharmacists

Editor's note : Clinical testing ranks high as a national strategy to implement for community pharmacists in Australia. SCRIP (Canada) is the largest controlled study in the world of clinical testing of patients by community pharmacists. It demonstrated pharmacist screening of cholesterol and pharmacist-GP collaboration to be outstandingly successful for patients and pharmacies. A smaller controlled study in Hobart (2001-2002) showed monthly home cholesterol monitoring with exercise and diet coaching of patients on statins by pharmacists resulted in lower blood lipids and lower statin doses. The results of both studies mean cholesterol testing and education by pharmacists improve cholesterol levels in all patients , increases statin use in untreated patients and cuts doses in those already on statins. Both these controlled studies emphasise that clinical testing should be taken far more seriously by our pharmacy educators , national bodies and the Fourth Agreement negotiators on both the pharmacy and government sides.

QCPP and Workforce Review – A Happy Coincidence?

It is perhaps a happy co-incidence that a review of the QCPP accreditation standards has co-incided with a workplace review for community pharmacy. It is the author's opinion that these two processes are linked. True quality will not be achieved without an appropriately staffed and motivated workforce. Likewise it is difficult to attain a motivated and appropriate workforce without appropriate quality control procedures. Over the coming few months I will be presenting some ideas in ways the profession can move forward to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Workforce and Career Options for Pharmacy Assistants

Healthcare Management Advisors (HMA) were appointed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia in late 2002 to identify those areas of current practice that may, with the provision of appropriate training, be assumed by dispensary and/or technicians. The draft submissions and phase 1 report were released to stakeholders in early August 2004 with final submissions being due by the 8th September, 2004. This paper has some excellent and interesting recommendations within it. The paper also highlights the various ‘barriers’ that would need to be addressed if any of the recommendations from the paper were to be adopted.

Time Spent at the Register

Recently on a very rare weekend away, I had the pleasure of wandering into a branded pharmacy. I had forgotten my contact lens solution and thought I would go and pick some up. It was a relatively busy pharmacy, with a large floorspace, and for a change for other pharmacies of that size that I had previously worked in, it was quite well staffed. After a bit of wandering around, checking out prices and products, I took my bottle of Bausch and Lomb to the register. When the product failed to scan after two attempts, the pharmacy assistant tried to type the barcode in. As the queue behind me started to increase in size and malcontent, she called over a more senior pharmacy assistant. Trying to be helpful I politely suggested that the point of sale may have a sundries button. The staff member informed me that the sundries button had been forbidden by the manager, as it meant that purchases could not be tracked.

Pharmacy and the Media – An Introduction to Critical Analysis

The mass media – television, newspapers, magazines, journals and the Internet to name but a few sources – is where the majority of us receive our information. The media has, therefore, a significant role in defining our reality. In particular, discourses of health are key components of both informative and advertorial driven media.Such discourses include those of body image, body maintenance, ‘normal’ sexuality, illness and treatment . Pharmacy, and the role of Pharmacists, can be included in all of the above discourses.

Quiet Achievers?

Looks like I might have touched a raw nerve last month when I questioned the slant the media places on pharmacy stories. OK, I am aware that stories are run to meet certain criteria within media outlets but I get somewhat tired of continually being faced with negativity in reports on pharmacy and pharmacists. As a group, pharmacists are not perfect, but who is? We must, however, be doing something right to continue running so high in the trustworthy polls despite attempts to pull us down.

The Vexed Question of Pseudoephedrine Rescheduling

Police departments and Health departments around the country are becoming increasingly concerned about the continued rise in the number of clandestine laboratories obtaining pseudoephedrine (PSE) containing products and converting it to methylamphetamine (speed). A significant amount of this (PSE) is obtained from retail pharmacies by “runners” either masquerading as genuine consumers in need, by shoplifting or by break-ins. The rescheduling of single active products to S3 in 2002 has certainly reduced the sales of these products but forced the criminals to obtain combination solid dose forms.

Some Thoughts on Future Directions

I recently returned from a stimulating three days at the National Medicines Conference where many pharmacists, medical practitioners, academics, consumers and other health professionals met and participated in a program on Quality Use of Medicines and all the many related issues around this. I was particularly intrigued by the presentations looking into the future and intelligently assessing the various scenarios that may well present as our challenges and opportunities in the health arena. Several points were raised amongst many that related to pharmacy, pharmacists and society’s use of medicines.

Batteries - the Once and Future Profit

This was the title of a presentation by Shane Martin of Kodak at the PMA Australian Convention in May Accessories are a vital element in camera stores these days, especially in view of the low margins attributed to reselling of cameras. Accessories give the camera store the ability to increase sales and in particular profits and pharmacists should also not be averse to these points. This article will discuss the sales of batteries, which all pharmacies sell in any event and many of the principles outlined can apply to many other products.

Catch 22 and Buying a Pharmacy.

After many years of working for others, subsequent to spending nearly half my life working for myself, my wife and I decided it was time for us to call the shots again, and even though a number of pharmacists of my age have been retired for a number of years we began a search for a pharmacy that met a number of criteria. Our search ranged from Gladstone in Queensland to a small village near the South Coast of NSW. We felt fortunate that we had sought advice from Bruce Annabel of Johnston Rork as he managed to steer us away from some of the pharmacies that, while good for others, could have been very challenging for us.

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