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AusPharm Editorial

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NDPSC releases reaons for withdrawing X*nic*l advertising rights :: Mark Dunn : 17/4/2007 : (or: CHOICE 'survey' hits its mark, more or less)

The National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) last week published (all 20 pages of) its reasons for withdrawing advertising approval for X*nic*l. In essence, as AusPharm understands the NDPSC document, there were two main reasons for withdrawing approval.    More... premium

Time right to tweak the rural pharmacy package? :: Mark Dunn : 12/3/2007 : 'Listers will have read Patrick's Mahony's insightful comments on AusPharmList last Thursday in response to Peter's Crothers most recent article on aspects of life as a rural pharmacist.

Patrick pointed out that while the NHS Act dictates that every Australian must have equal access to the PBS that some apparently sound proposals that aim to deliver on this in some rural areas have failed due to government policy inflexibility and city centric thinking.    More... premium

OTC weight loss supplements: time to ban them :: Mark Dunn : 1/3/2007 : Some AusPharmers will have seen media reports this week about the NDPSC decision to revoke the S3 advertising permission it had granted Xenical in 2006. This was in response to a complaint brought about by CHOICE late in 2006. CHOICE claimed that advertisements run during the TV program Australian Idol were encouraging inappropriate use of the product.

Roche were reportedly furious about the decision with managing director Fred Nadjarian quoted in the Australian newspaper as saying the ban was inconsistent as "products with dubious ingredients largely based on green tea extract, eye of newt, wing of bat and guinea pig tail can be (advertised)".

AusPharm thinks he makes a very good point. Consumers are being ripped off to the tune of millions of dollars a year buying products that, in contrast to Xenical, AusPharm believes *do_not_work*.    More... premium

Newest wholesaler just a DHL blade? :: Wendy Morton : 18/1/2007 : There has been some water under the bridge since AusPharm first alerted readers back in July 2006 to the likelihood of an allegiance between Alphapharm and DHL/Exel to meet the CSO (Community Service Obligation) criteria and create Australian Pharmacy's much anticipated fourth wholesaler. The alliance was indeed struck and on November 14, 2006 the launch of DHL Pharmacy Supply was announced to the world.

Recent discussion threads on AusPharmList suggest pharmacist customers have been less than impressed with the performance of the DHL supply chain to date. Referring back to the company's mission to encompass a set of "seven values" in their operations, some readers will no doubt wryly note they don't explicitly detail timely delivery or customer satisfaction as core values.    More... premium

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Choice vs pharmacy: perception=reality :: Irwin Lowe : 18/12/2006 : In today's feature Irwin explains why we need a new strategy.

"The problem is that perception equals reality, and the forces rallied against us have been building the untrue, inaccurate, illogical and invalid perception for some decades now that pharmacists are vicious bastards for daring to be paid for goods & services rendered, thus rorting all and sundry.

The fight must therefore not be on logical, truthful, valid, reasonable grounds......"    More... premium

PBS reforms :: AusPharm : 27/11/2006 : When the Honourable Tony Abbott MP released his PBS Reform Announcement last Thursday, it was obvious to AusPharm few pharmacists had seen it coming, or at least not in the life of the current Guild / Government Community Pharmacy Agreement, which was signed only a year ago. November 16th in fact is fast shaping up as Australian Pharmacy's equivalent to Caesar's "ides of March" being the date in 2005 the seemingly less than durable "best we could have hoped for" Fourth Agreement was signed and the date in 2006 for the announcement of the PBS Reforms "we had to have".    More... premium

A greening by any other name should make us 'vert' - or divert? :: Wendy Morton : 4/9/2006 :

Servier's erbumine/ arginine conversion, ostensibly to improve product stability, but viewed by many as a ploy to evergreen their perindopril patent, seems to have caused a disproportionate amount of outrage in PharmacyLand. An earlier editorial by Mark Dunn suggested some parallels with pharmacy as an industry attempting to evergreen their own exclusive rights to the supply of medicines. So what exactly about Servier's approach got our goat, and how well do our responses to it bear scrutiny?    More... premium

Web skills not up to scratch? Try this patch :: Wendy Morton : 21/8/2006 :

Pharmacists are usually quick to collectively define themselves as "The gatekeepers" to an important repository of drug knowledge, the final crucial checkpoint before medications and patients are safely and appropriately united. An enthusiastically embraced discussion thread on AusPharmList recently might however raise some concerns as to how effectively we are utilising available resources in discharging these professional duties.    More... premium

Interesting business, pharmacy :: Wendy Morton : 11/8/2006 : Wendy Morton writes on API, diversification and succession....

"The extra month API has spent encouraging their shiny but apparently recalcitrant new IT system to cough up a sufficiently sizeable chunk of data for the bean counters to cheerfully sign off on proceedings has done little to allay investor concerns and rumours of a sale persist. A new name this week joined the now lengthy list of parties with a potential interest and would be sure to catch a few of the grocery folk by surprise."   More... premium

Fielding rumours 'wholesale' :: Wendy Morton : 13/7/2006 : AusPharm has today published a 'guest' editorial from industry commentator and locum pharmacist Wendy Morton.

"Rumours about proposed wholesaler mergers tend to ebb and flow in Australian pharmacy, but over the last 24-48 hours a whole lot of coincidental droplets seem to have converged sufficiently well to suggest there might be a new wave or two about to hit the beach...

After two days of higher than usual trading volumes of their shares on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (API) kicked off yesterday by halting trade of their shares pending an announcement."    More... premium

A blinkered view of the world? :: Mark Dunn : 29/6/2006 : Two posts last week had AusPharmers email me personally their (wry) observations.

The first related to the Coversyl repackaging and the suggestion that the formulation and packaging change was part of a strategy to extend the Coversyl patent.

My first (industry) correspondent writes:

"What is the difference between 'greenfielding' a patented pharmaceutical to protect it's sales and extend it's life cycle, versus pharmacy defending against grocery (to protect it's sales and ownership and extend it's life cycle)?

One could argue that pharmacy's patent has expired and that (for example) QCPP is a ‘greenfielding’ strategy. You could argue that supermarket pharmacy is simply ‘generic’ pharmacy.   More... premium

Coles and Pharmacy Direct: what next? :: Mark Dunn : 19/4/2006 :

It has now been almost 3 weeks since news broke that Coles Myer had 'acquired' Pharmacy Direct. Because the announcement was made on the afternoon of March 31 it seemed to many that this was an April Fool's joke. At least from the perspective of community pharmacy, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Reaction from the industry has been largely negative with this development seen as 'the thin end of the wedge' and the start of the supermarket takeover of community pharmacy. A few AusPharmList contributors, however, have seen the silver lining in this cloud, commenting that at least now they can get on with things in the knowledge that supermarket ownership of pharmacies IS a fact and that it is likely to grow. ie the uncertainty is gone.

So, what will the Coles strategy be with their new acquisition? AusPharm has heard a few theories, although none of these seem to have gained widespread acceptance.   More... premium

Ps**doeph**ne (PSE) vs Phen**l e**rine (PE) :: Mark Dunn : 12/4/2006 :

There has once again been discussion on AusPharmList in recent days about issues around the supply and marketing of PE and PSE.

I wonder whether people are remembering that this is actually all about preventing diversion and the subsequent manufacture of methylamphetamine. Methylamphetamine production and abuse is a huge social issue and is certainly larger than industry, pharmacy and the cold and flu sufferer with usually mild, self-limiting symptoms.

PE was introduced as a strategy to help manage the diversion issue. The debate around the relative effectiveness should be seen in this context, and not as competition to PSE. Stridently supporting PSE may be taking a point of view that flies in the face of some very strong opinion against PSE held by State Dept’s of Health, Police, Boards, senior politicians, etc.    More... premium

The Weekend Australian: 'Devil in the retail' :: Mark Dunn : 20/3/2006 :

Many of you will have seen Saturday's article in the Australian newspaper: "Devil in the retail".

The article was, in the main, about two things:

  • pharmacy's reaction to the GSK decision to go open with NRT
  • recent criticism of some pharmacists by PSA

It is the comment about the first of these, the NRT related content, that may alarm some AusPharmers.   More... premium

Woolworths Ltd and market share :: Mark Dunn : 20/2/2006 :

Last Thursday the Financial Review published another article looking at Woolworths push to get pharmacies into their supermarkets ("Woolies resists drug-free future").

"Woolworths has not buried its pharmacy ambitions despite being locked out of the $9 billion market for at least another five years"

The article reports on an AC Neilsen survey that looked at the growth in the Personal Care and Health and Beauty sectors in recent years, attributable in large part to the decision by Woolworths to expand their offer in this market sector a few years back.   More... premium

Another consumer ripoff endorsed by pharmacy? :: Mark Dunn : 31/1/2006 :

In Oxygen4Life® community pharmacy has seen another particularly glaring example of "snake oil" released through the businesses of some of its members in the last week. The companies that release products like this rely on distribution by pharmacists as some form of endorsement or imprimatur to suggest the product has integrity.

The (quasi)therapeutic claims made by Oxygen4Life® are too numerous to list in their entirety here but are available to see at the product website. The claims made include the comments that: "Oxygen 4 Life will maximise your energy with no G.I , NO calories, NO Kilojoules and NO Carbohydrates, just nature’s own OXYGEN." and "Oxygen 4 Life can give you the motivation you need to get active. Don’t waste another day! OXYGEN 4 LIFE is non-toxic, drug free and 100% naturally made."


How can the Therapeutic Goods Administration allow such rubbish to be marketed and such claims to be made? The TGA are supposed to protect consumers from such charlatans, and failing that surely the ACCC should step up to the plate.   More... premium

AusPharm Turkey awards drawing to a close :: : 1/12/2005 : Many thanks to AusPharmers who have sent along their nominations for the AusPharm "Turkey of the year award" for poor packaging. If anyone has any last minute entries please send them along today as we plan to put together a short list over the weekend so that AusPharmers can vote for the winner next week.

Many thanks also to the AusPharmers who put up the $250 prize to go to the person who nominates the winning entry. The $250 can be spent on a purchase from either the PSA or SHPA bookshops.

Once the Turkey awards have been finalised we will be asking people to tell us who the "good guys" are, ie those manufacturers who produce packaging that contributes to better patient safety.

Thanks again to people who submitted nominations!   More... premium

AusPharm 'Turkey' awards 'deadly' serious :: Mark Dunn : 28/11/2005 : To a casual observer the AusPharm 'Turkey of the year awards' might appear to be nothing more than a bit of fun at best and industry bashing at worst. Not so, just ask the Victorian Coroner.    More... premium

How to win friends and influence people :: Mark Dunn : 14/11/2005 :

AusPharmers will have read Peter Crother's excellent comments about the "immediate supply required (ISR)" rule in last Thursday's (e)news.

Peter described the results of a survey he had been conducting during 2005 in his pharmacy at Bourke in western NSW. His post presented a very persuasive argument that the proposed changes may need further thought. You can read the full post here.

AusPharmers will be aware that they are a very diverse group and that they number amongst their members pharmacists from all areas of pharmacy practice, including from Medicare Australia, who will be administering these new rules and from the both state government and the Australian Government Health Departments who make policy.

If it is possible for discussions on AusPharmList, as a reflection of life at the coalface, to influence government policy, can I suggest that it is well considered and well argued posts like Peter's that have the greatest chance of doing so.

Congratulations Peter on an excellent post.   More... premium

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