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The feature articles below are "opinion" pieces and reflect the views of the individual authors. They are not the views of P/L, its directors or editorial group unless explicitly stated to be so.


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Business Without Profit, or the Folly of Cutting Prices in the Retail Drug Business :: Edward C. Kings : 23/8/2012 : Today's AusPharm feature was originally published in Canadian Druggist in December 1889.

Not much has changed in the 123 years since!

"What IS to be gained by cutting the prices of patents and toilet articles?

Probably for a short time sales may increase, but the cutter's neighbor is sure to meet his prices.  Patent medicines are not like groceries, dry goods or clothing; the consumer will not buy them because he can get them cheap."
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‘Tribalism’ must be put behind us :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 20/8/2012 : The World Health Care Networks conference held recently showed just how the establishment of Medicare Locals has been a turning point in Australia’s health reform process.

It also highlighted the huge opportunities Medicare Locals  present for us to demonstrate our capacity to lead the evolution of the new health system and to develop and implement a broader range of professional services to improve patient care.   More... premium

A profession under pressure :: Justin Lee : 13/8/2012 : Young pharmacists could be forgiven for believing that the pharmacy profession is currently in its own ‘dark age’. The pharma media in recent weeks has made for some grim reading.

Talk of pharmacist bankruptcies, unexpected price cuts and unfavourable working conditions all point towards a profession under increasing pressure.   More... premium

Managing persistent pain :: John Bell : 9/8/2012 : Helping consumers and patients manage pain is an important part of a pharmacist’s everyday professional service and the reality is that everyone suffers pain from time to time. Pain is an important signal that our body has been damaged in some way; and so attention is required to treat or remedy that damage.

Many people who come into a pharmacy suffer acute pain, meaning that it comes on suddenly and lasts for a limited time. Others suffer chronic pain which is persistent and long lasting. Acute pain may only last a few minutes, but may be hours, days or weeks; and it could be caused, amongst many other things, by insect bites, burns or broken bones.   More... premium

Obfuscation likely to accompany an outsourced PCEHR :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 6/8/2012 : “A Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) is a secure, electronic record of your medical history, stored and shared in a network of connected systems. The PCEHR will bring key health information from a number of different systems together and present it in a single view”.

That’s what the Government and its National EHealth Transition Authority  (NEHTA) supposedly launched on 1 July this year with much fanfare. After one week the Department of Health and Ageing announced that over 800 people had signed up for an electronic health record in the first week. At that rate, one wag blogged, it would take over 500 years to register the Australian population. In fact after one day the system crashed and went offline – not a good look if life saving access to health records is required   More... premium

Mens sana: Eating Disorders :: Chris Alderman : 31/7/2012 :

Eating disorders are a form of mental illness affecting females more often than males. Various forms of eating disorder include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Each of these disorders is associated with significant psychiatric morbidity and the potential for serious medical complications, both acute and chronic in nature.    More... premium

What will we do when antibiotics won’t work? :: John Bell : 26/7/2012 : Louis Pasteur is generally credited with establishing the germ theory of disease in the 19th Century; although according to Sheryl Persson in her book Smallpox, Syphilis and Salvation, the possibility of destructive microscopic organisms was suggested as early as about 40 BC.

This theory that for centuries had been viewed as a quaint idea became credible as the result of the scientific expertise of the Dutch microscope maker Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.   More... premium

HMR program under threat :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 24/7/2012 : I recently received an invitation in my capacity as an accredited pharmacist to join a venture through which accredited pharmacists would provide HMRs at a clinic.

Not surprisingly this invitation caught my attention because it is not the first incident brought to PSA’s attention where a model of practice is being developed which is clearly outside the HMR business rules.   More... premium

Where have all the young ones gone? :: Claire O'Reilly : 19/7/2012 : As Chair of the PSA National Early Career Pharmacist Working Group I would like to clarify a few comments made by Justin Lee in his opinion piece of July 17 12 ‘Where have all the young ones gone?’.  Firstly I would like to thank Justin for his regular comments about issues facing early career pharmacists in Australia. It is great to see pharmacists early in their career speaking out about issues affecting them and how they would like to see the future of their profession.

Justin has suggested that young pharmacists are not well represented within the profession even though a few young pharmacists do hold positions of importance within the profession. While I agree with Justin that we may not be there yet, I believe we have come a long way in recent years to engage and support early career pharmacists to become the next leaders of our profession.   More... premium

Where have all the young ones gone? :: Justin Lee : 17/7/2012 : When I first met AusPharm editor Mark Dunn at a pharmacy conference in 2009, he suggested to me that the voice of youth is under-represented within the pharmacy profession. This struck me as rather interesting. Considering the increasing number of pharmacy graduates in recent years, one would expect that youth would form a large and growing portion of the total pharmacist population. Indeed, AHPRA’s recent annual report shows that the typical pharmacist is aged between 25 to 29 years old. If there are so many young pharmacists out there, why would their voice be under-represented?

Firstly, is the voice of youth actually under-represented within the pharmacy profession? After all, tech-savvy young pharmacists are heavy users of social media and online forums. Quite a number of young pharmacists post regularly on AusPharmList. What about the more ‘formal’ pharma media (e.g. news reports, journal feature articles, panel discussions and conference speakers)?   More... premium

Perfumery for smaller pharmacies :: Peter Allen : 12/7/2012 : Another of Peter Allen's passions in life, apart from pharmacy and Miniture Schnauzers (the dogs that is), is fragrances.

In todays' AusPharm mini feature he offers a few pointers for smaller pharmacies who want to be in this market space.   More... premium

Can Pharmacy Compete on Price? :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 10/7/2012 : Can Pharmacy compete on price? If pharmacists refuse to compete on price are they overcharging?

These are questions that have dogged Pharmacy in Australia since the beginning of European settlement. Accusations of overcharging or of chemists, for their own advantage not compounding accurately, litter the literature from the nineteenth century and were one of the most regular complaints and often sources of legal dispute between chemists and the public seeking redress from professional chicanery, ineptitude or incompetence.   More... premium

Mens Sana: Personality disorders :: Chris Alderman : 3/7/2012 :

Personality disorders are relatively common psychiatric conditions that are often comorbid with other mental illness. A personality disorder is characterised by a persistent pattern of inner experience and behaviour that is very different from what might be expected given an understanding of the person’s culture and background.

These characteristic have a pervasive influence and are inflexible and stable over a long time, and usually can be traced to late childhood or early adolescence. The personality disorders are usually grouped into “clusters” that have common clinical features. These disorders affect cognition (the personal style of perceiving and interpreting oneself, others, or events); the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response; interpersonal functioning and impulse control.   More... premium

Measuring success in blood glucose control :: John Bell : 28/6/2012 : Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic health conditions in Australia and is so prevalent that it's a problem said by some researchers to have already reached epidemic proportions.

And diabetes is one of those diseases where the symptoms, the severity of the condition and the serious consequences are not always evident so measurement of diabetes control is an essential management strategy.   More... premium

A day in the life.. :: : 26/6/2012 : The following account of a day in the life of a pharmacist in a small country pharmacy was sent in a few weeks back. It's a great snapshot of the difficulties encountered in the management of clients with dependency issues and, also, of the challenges faced, and met, in the daily life of a pharmacist.

"On Wednesday the 9th of May at approx 11am, Ben Craig presented at the pharmacy. One of my assistants, Sally, initially served him and took his script in.

Maz, another pharmacist on duty had observed Mr Craig stumble into the pharmacy, hand his script (180 Panadeine Forte) over to Sally, ask for casual credit then sit himself on one of the waiting chairs. Maz came to me and expressed her concern that Mr Craig was under the influence of some kind of drug."   More... premium

Accredited pharmacists have an important role to play :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 19/6/2012 : Accredited pharmacists are an increasingly important part of our profession, and one which PSA sees as being pivotal in opening initiatives in healthcare delivery during the current health reform process.

PSA is developing services for accredited pharmacists to help them to play their parts in the new opportunities opening up for pharmacists in the current health reform process in areas such as Medicare Locals, mental health, GP practices and Aged Care.   More... premium

Overqualified and under-experienced :: Justin Lee : 14/6/2012 : A friend of mine recently described his experience in the engineering profession. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, he was encouraged to pursue postgraduate education to gain a competitive edge over other graduates in what was seen as a competitive profession. He completed his Masters and then decided he might as well complete a PhD while he was at it. The job search then began.

To his dismay, he was unable to secure a job and was often told by his interviewers that he was overqualified and under-experienced. He eventually found a job interstate but commenced at an entry-level position whereas his peers who went straight into the workforce after completing their undergraduate degree held more senior positions.   More... premium

Mens sana: Panic Disorder :: Chris Alderman : 7/6/2012 :

Panic disorder, what's that? And how do you treat it?

The answers can be found in today's Mens Sana, from Associate Professor Chris Alderman.

Panic disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety disorder, with a lifetime prevalence rate of up to 2%. Most people with panic disorder will develop agoraphobia (anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing), leading to avoidance of specific situations that evoke fear. This type of avoidant behaviour may cause social/occupational disability and interfere with activities of daily living.   More... premium

Pharmacy isn’t broken, pharmacies are :: Bruce Annabel : 5/6/2012 :

In light of last weekend's 'free generic Lipitor' ads from Chemist Warehouse, today's feature, from JR Pharmacy Services consultant Bruce Annabel is very timely.

"Traditional community pharmacies are being beaten up by internal competitors such as warehouse (deep discount) and externally by supermarkets, discount dept stores, category killers, online (Strawberry net et al) and even big box retailers such as Costco. The competition is taking customers and sales plus changing their perceptions of price, range and service experience they encounter in community pharmacy.

Yet it doesn’t have to be like this as a small growing number of pharmacy owners are proving through adopting an all encompassing customer care pharmacy model where price is not the defining element."
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Budget Funding Transfusion Puts E-Health Back On Life Support :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 29/5/2012 : In today's AusPharm feature political commentator and former Guild CEO, Stephen Greenwood, takes a look at why the government put another $233 million into E-health in its recently handed down 2012/13 budget.

Stephen asks whether there is a role for pharmacists in signing people up for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)? Perhaps so he says.

"Maybe when the take up by the public all ends in tears, and those who opt in are fewer than expected, the Government will realise that it’s pharmacists that the public trust and it’s pharmacists who meet the public most often."   More... premium

About this page 

This features page will be updated with new opinion pieces regularly. Unlike the hard copy publications that publish all their content once each week/fortnight/month we will publish on a rolling basis.

Got something to say? Fancy yourself as a features writer? 

At we are always on the lookout for people with an opinion to express. If you think you fit the bill, contact Mark Dunn to express an interest or to get further information.

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