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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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Opportunities from left field :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 15/11/2011 : For some time I have been stressing the need for pharmacists to change the way we practice to ensure the profession is in a position to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving health system.

In response to my calls, I have received many emails from pharmacists who have emerged from behind the dispensary counter and who have found innovative and satisfying ways to further their careers and make full use of their wide range of skills and knowledge.   More... premium

Beat the brittle bone disease :: John Bell : 10/11/2011 : Some 50% of women in Australia, and more than 30% of men over 60 years of age, will have an osteoporotic fracture. Presently, every 5–6 minutes someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with a fracture due to osteoporosis; and this is likely to increase to every 3–4 minutes within the next 10 years as the population ages.

Pharmacists, however, can help ensure customers don't become part of these statistics.   More... premium

Want to set up a weight loss scam? Here's how .... :: Michael Vagg: Deakin University School of Medicine, Barwon Health : 8/11/2011 : In light of the daily exposure pharmacists get to weight loss scams AusPharm thought 'listers might get a kick out of this piece, originally published a fortnight back on the Conversation.

It's part two of The science behind weight loss, a new Conversation series in which the myths about dieting are separated from the realities of exercise and nutrition.

Here, Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University’s School of Medicine and Pain Specialist at Barwon Health, takes a light-hearted look at the weight-loss industry.   More... premium

Mens sana: Use of anticonvulsant medications in psychiatry :: Chris Alderman : 1/11/2011 : Anticonvulsant medications are now relatively commonly used in psychiatry for a range of applications. The most frequently encountered example of the use of the antiepileptic drugs involves their use as mood stabiliser agents in the management of bipolar affective disorder or in combination with an antipsychotic drug for the management of schizoaffective disorder.

In this context, the popularity of sodium valproate (valproic acid, also referred to as divalproex in literature from the USA) has grown to the point where it is generally considered to be an equal first-line option for the management of bipolar disorder, although many clinicians still consider lithium to be the “gold standard” drug for this purpose.   More... premium

Factional warfare :: Justin Lee : 25/10/2011 : “I don’t know of any other profession, certainly any other health profession, which has as many organisations as pharmacy does. I am concerned that the plethora of organisations that we have doesn’t sit us as a single identity of experts that can provide services at various levels,” lamented Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom in an address to the Pharmacy Australia Congress in 2007.

The heading ‘Pharmacy Organisations’ on the main page of AusPharm lists, among others, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Society of Hospitals Pharmacists of Australia, Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy, Australian College of Pharmacy, National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association, Pharmacists Division of APESMA and Pharmaceutical Defence Limited.   More... premium

Guild’s Agenda in Safe Hands for Next Presidential Term :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 20/10/2011 : With the result of the Guild National Presidential elections now determined with Kos Sclavos gaining a third term, the Guild executive team and senior staff can at last publicly pursue the Guild’s agenda free from the internal turmoil of the elections.

Election time at the Guild for staff is a time when they try as best they might to do their jobs without being seen to be partisan. I recall my predecessor Rob Davies telling me that in election year you keep your head down and if possible go on holidays. That was wise advice.   More... premium

New Pharmacy Location Rules :: Tony Rowland : 13/10/2011 : Tony Rowland spent many years working for the Health Insurance Commission, now Medicare Australia. He has also worked for the Pharmacy Guild and Pharmacy Board and currently undertakes some hands-on community pharmacy work along with providing advice to pharmacists, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies on regulatory, Pharmacy Board and PBS matters.

Who better to provide 'listers with an analysis of the new Location Rules?

"Prior to the late 1980s, provided a pharmacy was approved by the relevant State / Territory Pharmacy Board, any pharmacist could apply for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits from that pharmacy, ie obtain a PBS approval number."   More... premium

Communication - the key to customer loyalty :: John Bell : 13/10/2011 : In the most recent “most-trusted poll of professions” conducted  by Reader’s Digest, the position of pharmacists was reaffirmed in the top 10, sitting  between nurses and farmers and just below paramedics and fire-fighters.

Pharmacists practise in a variety of different areas but more often than not it’s the standard of community practice by which we are judged. And it’s encouraging, therefore, that even though there is necessarily a commercial aspect to community pharmacy, our customers generally appreciate the service we provide.   More... premium

PAC11: a showcase for the future :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 11/10/2011 : PAC11 was a showcase for pharmacy of the future and the way the profession is changing practice and seeking – and grasping – opportunities.

An enduring theme throughout the Congress was partnerships and collaboration and the opening presentation by Laura Smyth, MP showed how pharmacists fit well into the Government’s health reform agenda.    More... premium

Managing Weaknesses :: Robin Tang : 6/10/2011 : Regardless of how much we like to focus on our strengths and abilities, it is important for managers and leaders to identify and understand how to manage their own weaknesses. 

Once we have taken an honest look in the mirror, there are several ways to deal with own's own shortcomings.   More... premium

Making a Difference :: Tony Ferguson : 4/10/2011 : According to the World Health Organisation 65% of the world’s population now lives in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

As pharmacists, we have the unique opportunity to lead from the front. That is we simply need to leave the comfort zone of the dispensary and get out to the front of our stores so that we can educate our customers in healthy eating and healthy habits for life. The benefits to the consumer are all well known with such positive effects on our health and reducing the need for medication to the consumer and the tax payer.   More... premium

Doing Things Successfully :: Robin Tang : 29/9/2011 : Why is it that success seems to follow only certain people? 

Is it because of who they are or are they just born with certain talents?  However much talent and abilities are contributing factors to success, successful people attain goals not simply because of ‘who they are’ but ‘what they do’.    More... premium

Mens sana: Tardive Dyskinesia :: Chris Alderman : 29/9/2011 : Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious medication-related problem that is characterised by an abnormal involuntary movement syndrome that primarily affects the face, mouth and tongue, the trunk and (to a lesser extent) the periphery. The movements are often irregular in frequency and amplitude and can worsen with anxiety and distraction.

TD involves abnormal involuntary facial movements (referred to as the buccolingualmasticatory triad) including spasms of the eyelids, tremor of the upper lip, chewing or sucking movements, and protrusions of the tongue. Other abnormal involuntary movements may be present, such as twisting and arching of the neck, torsion of the trunk, choreoathetoid movements, and flexion of the ankles or toes. The buccolingual masticatory triad seems to occur more often than the other movements in the older adults.   More... premium

Current affairs :: Justin Lee : 27/9/2011 : When I was in university, I was somewhat oblivious to current affairs in the pharmacy profession. I was too busy playing student politics, going out with friends and of course, studying. Why worry about issues that did not affect me at that particular point in time? After all, I had the rest of my working life to worry about it after I graduate.
Fast forward five years later and I find myself subscribing to various pharmacy newsletters, participating in forum discussions and writing the occasional article. As time went by, I started to realise the importance of keeping up-to-date with the goings-on in the profession.   More... premium

The new public service mandarin pharmacy needs to know :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 19/9/2011 : With all the current media attention on the Prime Minister and whether she can withstand a challenge from the Prime Minister she bumped off we often forget that the real decisions about the fate of Pharmacy are often made by Australia’s leading public servants. 

For most Australians and especially pharmacists these public service heads of Departments disarmingly called Secretaries are unheralded and shadowy figures behind the political throne far removed from seemingly having any influence over our day-to-day lives.   More... premium

Constructive, compassionate criticism :: Robin Tang : 14/9/2011 : When the time comes to provide performance feedback, sometimes even the most skilled and experienced managers find it difficult.  Unfortunately, honest appraisals are often 'diluted' leading to confused and unconstructive responses.  So what is the best way to provide constructive and honest appraisals? 

Here are some tips to ensure that your feedback is compassionate, not just critical.   More... premium

Under-reporting of adverse events :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 13/9/2011 : As the medicines experts in the health-care sector, pharmacists often see patients who come into a pharmacy reporting adverse medication events, but the reality is that such reports as are presented in a pharmacy are but the tip of the iceberg.

Health professionals are of the view that there is substantial under reporting of these adverse events and this is something which we as profession can help to address.   More... premium

Responding to Other’s Failure :: Robin Tang : 8/9/2011 : When people fail in a workplace, the tendency is go into 'problem solving' mode.  We try to fix our team member’s problem by offering solutions and suggestions on how to avoid the same problem and seek to analyse the lessons to be learnt.  However, when people fail, is it really a good idea to offer rationalisations and solutions in a hurry? 

Try these strategies in responding to a team member’s failure instead.   More... premium

Discounting - pharmacy is not alone :: Norman Thurecht : 5/9/2011 : I recall sitting here at the start of last financial year looking ahead with the same optimism as I do today.  The only difference is the last 12 months may have been the worst retail conditions we will see for some time – or are they?  The question that now needs addressing is what will change in 2012 to improve the situation?

During the first half of last financial year the national press were not discussing how flat the economy was.  This view changed in the last quarter of FY2011 and recently retail CEO’s such as David Zahra of David Jones have commented that the conditions are the worst in 20 years. 

In today's AusPharm feature JR Pharmacy Services' Norman Thurecht looks at the effect of discounting on pharmacy's profitability.   More... premium

Building a stronger team :: Robin Tang : 1/9/2011 : Team work - whether it is at university, at work or even in the family is often riddled with coordination problems, task completion issues, decision making difficulties and differences in opinions.  Even the most well designed and expertly managed team will encounter such difficulties but how do they overcome such challenges and synergistically produce successful results? 

Here are some steps to building a better team.   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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