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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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Helping our customers breathe easier :: John Bell : 30/6/2011 : Asthma is one of the most common medical conditions in Australia and despite the effective management strategies available, many people continue to suffer unnecessarily and through ignorance and/or complacency put themselves at risk of serious, sometimes fatal, consequences.

The latest issue of InPHARMation, the monthly magazine for members of PSA’s Self Care program, aims to help readers identify the underlying causes of and the trigger factors for asthma and to describe how pharmacists and pharmacy assistants can improve health outcomes for their patients.   More... premium

Drug-induced depression – which are the real culprits? :: Chris Alderman : 30/6/2011 : Although we're often led to believe that a wide range of drugs may cause depression or mood changes, the reality is that the link is only convincing for a relatively small range of agents, some of which are discussed below.

Overall, it is prudent to be watchful for treatment-emergent psychiatric symptoms, particularly in the initiation phase of treatment for drugs with a history of triggering mood disorders.   More... premium

Schedule 3 advertising rules need a makeover :: PSA National President: Warwick Plunkett : 28/6/2011 : The recent announcement that the TransTasman harmonisation process for pharmaceuticals is to be revived with the formation of the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA) is a very interesting development given the current poles-apart situation that exists in the area of S2 and S3 product scheduling and their opportunity to advertise.
Here in Australia, the newly restructured Advisory Committee for Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) has now met on a few occasions but already it is obvious that its ultra-conservative views apparently emanating from its dominance by the majority of State Health representatives, has brought to a halt the down-scheduling of the older low- risk S4 medicines to S3.   More... premium

Plan, Execute, Evaluate :: Robin Tang : 23/6/2011 : In our ever increasing busy times, most managers and business owners complain of not having enough time. We rush through tasks so we can move on to the next thing. Sometimes rushed decision making will lead to wrong choices and poor judgement often leads to poor consequences.

This kind of haste creates more chaos than it avoids. Instead of instinctive decision making, approach every task in three parts --> Plan - Execute - Evaluate.     More... premium

Cultural observations :: Justin Lee : 21/6/2011 : In my time at university, approximately half of the enrolments in the third and fourth years of the Bachelor of Pharmacy consisted of international students and a substantial proportion of local students were of non-European background.

While assimilation into Australian culture occurs to varying degrees, it is often the more implicit expressions of culture such as values, beliefs and customs that stand firm. It is easy enough to learn to enjoy footy, cricket and barbies but much harder to change familial piety, conservatism and work ethic.   More... premium

Turning customers into advocates :: Robin Tang : 16/6/2011 : Whilst often used as a performance indicator, Customer Satisfaction provides a retrospective outlook and you can't build a forward-thinking strategy based on historical data alone.

Instead, business owners need to take satisfaction to a higher level by turning customers into advocates that ‘speak’ on behalf of your brand.  Advocacy indicates more than satisfaction and loyalty. It speaks of trust, which is a sustainable competitive advantage with increasing importance in a complex and competitive landscape.     More... premium

Is there anything for the pharmacist in the national e-health agenda and the PCEHR? :: SHPA CEO Yvonne Allinson : 15/6/2011 : SHPA CEO Yvonne Allinson is a Clinical Lead for the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), a member of NEHTA Medications Management Reference Group and has contributed to PCEHR workshops.


Pharmacists, along with all other health professionals now stand on the threshold of being able to access health information that will support them to provide better and safer health care. 

Each consumer will be central to this activity, not only by via individual consent and access controls, but critically because consumers will be enabled to become active partners in their own health care in a very positive way.  By their active involvement and general improvements in community health literacy better health outcomes can be achieved.   More... premium

Bowel cancer: a personal story :: : 10/6/2011 : As Bowel Cancer Awareness Week comes to an end, a 'lister has sent along a story of his personal journey to share with you.

It's a long piece but worth every moment you spend on it.

"I have a much greater understanding of what patients go through after being diagnosed with cancer and hope that this may, in some small way, make me a better pharmacist. The next time you are told by a customer / patient / friend / neighbour that they or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, hopefully there may be something in this little personal indulgence that can help you provide some support or understanding to them."   More... premium

Empowerment :: Robin Tang : 9/6/2011 : As a manager, leader or business owner situations often arise that put your leadership skills to the test.

How do you lead? Do you lead by example by 'getting your own hands dirty' or do you step back and have the confidence to empower your staff and let them take ownership of the situation?    More... premium

Are Government’s Political Friends in Pharmacy Getting Harder To Find? :: Stephen G. Greenwood : 7/6/2011 : “Political necessities sometime turn out to be political mistakes”.

So said the great playwright and thinker George Bernard Shaw. He could have been talking about Health Minister Nicola Roxon, pictured right. It was Roxon who courageously accepted the policy of deferring the listing of PBS medications and ignoring the recommendations of her own PBAC Advisory Body.

Her heart probably wasn’t in it but it will prove to be one of the Minister’s greatest policy mistakes and one of the hardest to reverse.   More... premium

Becoming a Team Player :: Robin Tang : 2/6/2011 : Do you remember working in a team where everyone pitched in, worked harmoniously and things just got done?  Or the times when you’d rather have walked off and got things done alone? 

Either way, team work is a vital cog of a successful business; worth developing and worth refining the skills that will help make you a valuable team player. 

Here are some tips on how to do it.   More... premium

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Building Confidence :: Robin Tang : 26/5/2011 : Building Confidence: In a hyper-competitive environment, very few people succeed without confidence. Such is its intangibility and volatility - from seasoned leaders to juniors - we all have moments of uncertainty and, consequently, the inability to handle challenges.  

Overcoming self doubt starts with honestly assessing one's ownabilities and inabilities and deciding to take action.     More... premium

Caution needed on HMR protocol :: PSA National President: Warwick Plunkett : 24/5/2011 : Right from the start it was agreed that special training and accreditation is required to perform Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs).
However, of late something of a trend seems to be creeping into the performance of these reviews by some pharmacists and pharmacies, and that is the undertaking of the interview component of a HMR by registered, but not accredited, pharmacists.

There would seem to be a significant risk for the quality of the final review if the tasks involved in a review are undertaken by a combination of accredited and non-accredited pharmacists.   More... premium

Focussing Inwards :: Robin Tang : 19/5/2011 : There are times when we look at winning strategies and competitive advantages outside of our own walls.  This happens when we are so focused on our competitors and their successes that we sometimes copy exactly what they do.

However, often it is by leveraging what we do best by using our own capabilities, our people, our knowledge, our systems and processes that can start to build the foundations of competitive advantage.

Here are some tips.

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If we act as a shopkeeper then we must be prepared to be treated like one* :: Professor Kenn Raymond : 19/5/2011 : I resigned from the Pharmacy School at La Trobe University some 16 months ago and have subsequently become involved in teaching pharmacy students in a Problem-Based-Learning environment here at The University of Hong Kong.

Now having much more time to peruse literature, and be able to login to AusPharmList almost every day I find myself becoming either increasingly frustrated, or relatively elated with what I read.   More... premium

Lessons from the world of sports :: Justin Lee : 17/5/2011 : Delegates to this year's Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference are likely to have attended a plenary session with Geoff Huegill as the keynote speaker (replacing Ian Thorpe who was unable to attend). In short, the session took the form of a brief biography from the speaker himself followed by a plethora of questions from the audience.

One of the questions posed by a delegate was what plans Geoff had once he was no longer able to swim competitively (for the life of me, I cannot remember his answer!).   More... premium

Upward Feedback :: Robin Tang : 12/5/2011 : What do you think about your boss’s performance? 

Do you ever ask for the opportunity to provide feedback?  Is it your place to share your insights on a new project with your boss?  Do you risk putting your relationship at risk by telling him/her honestly what you see?    More... premium

Evolving Addiction Medicines Issues :: Chris Alderman : 12/5/2011 : The Inaugural Medicine in Addiction Conference was recently held under the joint auspices of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The conference assembled a very high class field of speakers from around Australia and New Zealand, and ran from 18th  – 20th March 2011 with a broad range of very informative speakers addressing a number of fields of direct relevance to professionals working in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and other disciplines, regardless of their practice setting. Highlights included:

An Emergency Physician & Clinical Toxicologist at the Austin Hospital presented his recent experience of alcohol and other drug-related presentations to the Emergency Department of a busy metropolitan hospital . Over a 12 month period, there were a total of 863 presentations of this type, with the most frequently encountered presentations relating to problems arising from alcohol use.   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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