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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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Mirixa early adopter shows how it's done :: Chris Campbell : 15/12/2009 : As 'listers well know, a pharmacist's day is often swallowed up by a range of must-do jobs, both regular and unplanned.  Never mind not having time for the morning cup of coffee, it's the precious few minutes to gulp down a sandwich for lunch that's the hard part to fit in.

Good time management can be due to the sometimes unpredictable nature of customer traffic and requests.  Before implementing a new service there are a myriad of business issues that need to be addressed including training, workflow, staff roles and resource management.  Of course, implementation of any change also needs to occur with minimum to no impact on existing services. 

Mirixa Australia programs are designed to be added to a pharmacy's business and clinical offering in a way that minimises disruption to a pharmacy's established workflow. In today's feature Chris Campbell tells us how he did it in his Terry White Chemists pharmacy in Coffs Harbour. Chris and his team have now enrolled almost 100 patients in Mirixa programs.   More... premium

Directors' duties :: David Tilbury : 8/12/2009 : Pharmacists are increasingly making use of company structures as a means of managing their interest in their pharmacy(s).

In today's 'mini' feature from Cropper Parkhill lawyer David Tilbury, we take a look at what is required of a company director.   More... premium

Automation in pharmacy :: Mark Bouw : 1/12/2009 : In today's feature Gollmann Bouw CEO Mark Bouw responds to Michael Scavone on the issue of the regulation of pharmacy automation.

"It is the hope of Gollmann Bouw Pharmacy Systems that our products increase the clinical standards in Australian pharmacy. If Michael wishes to focus on the issue of regulation of automation rather than general standards, then so be it.  That is a useful debate.  However, he is probably pointing his efforts at least partly in the wrong direction."   More... premium

It's an e-jungle and the robots are coming to pharmacy :: Michael Scavone : 24/11/2009 : In today's feature Michael Scavone asks whether the regulatory, professional and quality assurance frameworks surrounding the use of robots in pharmacy are adequate.

"Irrespective of their widespread use overseas, the robots will be new to the Australian Regulatory system including the PBS claiming and payment requirements. No pharmacy practice standards exist for their use. There is no independent regulatory body or group who can provide an overall tick of approval...."   More... premium

How to buy a pharmacy: all that other stuff they didn't tell you :: Veronica Nou : 17/11/2009 : Young Sydney pharmacist Veronica Nou bought her first pharmacy earler this year.

In today's (premium only  ) feature article she shares with us part one of her ownership journey.

"It's one of those things that most pharmacists aspire to. If your parents are anything like mine, it's also something they want for you the same way they wanted you to marry that nice doctor and make babies - your own pharmacy!

So perhaps you're fresh out of uni, or in the middle of registration, or perhaps you've been out for a while now, but there aren't many pharmacists I know who point blank aren't interested."   More... premium

Pharmacists' Division of APESMA - who are they and what do they do? :: : 11/11/2009 : As part of discussion on AusPharmList in the last 12 months or so about declining wages and working conditions in community pharmacy, there has been mention of employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists' Division of the The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists & Managers, Australia (PDA).

If you're like AusPharm you probably don't know much about PDA. So, who are they and what do they do?

We put a series of questions to APESMA CEO Chris Walton about what PDA can offer pharmacists and what the union's thoughts are on a range of pharmacy issues.   More... premium

2009 JR Pharmacy KPIs – Interpreting the Data :: Norman Thurecht : 3/11/2009 : In today's AusPharm feature JR Pharmacy Services partner Norman Thurecht provided an update on what's happening to KPIs in Australian pharmacies.

"Having recently completed our JR client KPI 2009 series (based on June 2008 financial information), some interesting trends are emerging. One key trend is that dispensary profit has continued to grow as substitution increases while retail growth suffers.  This is concerning given the looming effects of price disclosure.  Some key indicators over the last three years are provided in the table."   More... premium

Pharmacist vaccination :: Andrew Roberts : 15/10/2009 : I despair.

In 1997 after a trip to the states I came back and approached the PSA to see if they would assist in trying to find a way to allow me and our child health nurse to administer vaccines in the pharmacy.

They ran a mile. And I can see everyone still trying to run a mile from what is normal pharmacy practice in a number of countries.   More... premium

Pharmacists behaving badly (2) :: Amanda Bryce : 13/10/2009 : "There has been much recent activity on AusPharmList stimulated by a post from noted pharmacy business expert Bruce Annabel who experienced appalling service while buying an asthma puffer," writes Amanda Bryce.

In today's feature she asks why pharmacists struggle to fulfil their professional responsibilities on S2/S3 and puts the challenge.....

"I challenge all pharmacists to use the line that the entrants to the Pharmacist Student of the Year competition frequently use in their finals to the pseudo-patient... In order for me to establish if this is the most appropriate medicine for you, could I ask you a few more questions about your condition?"   More... premium

Was she digoxin toxic? You bet she was :: Nurse Julie : 6/10/2009 : A  wise old pharmacist once said that the most dangerous thing on earth is not a young officer with a map. It's a little old lady in possession of a big smile and a shopping bag full of medications.

That pharmacist was a master of understatement.

Emergency nursing involves a good deal of detective work.   For example:  'Sir, have you ever had any surgery?'  'No, dear, I'm very healthy.'  'Excellent, but in that case we need to find the bastard who stole your left leg, because it's missing.'  'Oh, you mean operations!'  Yep, that's what I mean.  True story, by the way.   More... premium

Composition of Australian Ginkgo biloba products :: Ken Harvey : 4/10/2009 : In today's AusPharm feature, Ken Harvey takes the TGA to task over its handling of an alleged adulteration rort with ginkgo biloba products.

"What the TGA neglected to point out was that one third of the samples tested had failed the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) identity test for Ginkgo biloba (Test B) because they had ratios of flavonoid components that were consistent with adulteration, not natural variation."   More... premium

Regulating Pharmaceuticals: Healthy Skepticism Seminar :: Ken Harvey : 25/9/2009 : Last night, a packed lecture theatre at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital heard presentations by pharmacists Chris Doecke and Agnes Vitry and medical doctors Ken Harvey (me!) and Peter Mansfield. All speakers emphasised that self-regulation by the pharmaceutical industry was a self-serving and convenient fiction promulgated by industry and government.

It was argued that the current plethora of inconsistent, ineffective and inefficient industry self-regulatory codes and complaint systems must be replaced by a new single system, underpinned by legislation, with sanctions that bite, applicable to all therapeutic claims and promotional activities regardless of the product.   More... premium

Reinventing the (repeat) wheel :: David Haworth : 22/9/2009 : 30 years on from the introduction of computer generated prescription repeat forms, isn't it about time we had a close look at what's on them? David Haworth thinks so and has put up his new version for comment.

"Simple it may be but it causes unending confusion with our patients. The number of repeats authorised and number of times dispensed might have looked fine to a bureaucrat but we all know that patients find it very confusing....every day. Other things that cause grief are the expiry of scripts and the need to keep them attached to their duplicate. We have legacy fields on the form that are no longer required. All of these issues are easy to remedy."   More... premium

Pharmacy’s failure to take responsibility for Nurofen/Panafen Plus® abuse :: Michael Page : 15/9/2009 : In today's AusPharm feature Mike Page asks the question: do pharmacists need to better exercise their collective professional judgment with ibuprofen/codeine products?

"I was recently told about three patients, all seen at a tertiary hospital in Perth within a three-month period, presenting with the consequences of Nurofen Plus® abuse. These were all related to me by a member of staff who had personally been involved in each case. I wondered if I, as a community pharmacist, had also been unknowingly involved."   More... premium

More on Irish (and Australian) pharmacy :: Bruce Annabel : 2/9/2009 : JR Pharmacy Services consultant Bruce Annabel responds to our piece on Irish pharmacy, published yesterdayand, at the same time repeats his call for Australian pharmacies to make 'fundamental and axiomatic changes' to their business models.

"I have some experience of the Irish pharmacy situation having contacts in the industry keeping me informed of developments and having spent a week there eighteen months ago with one of the local pharmacy chains. My job over there was to deliver a message of the alternative model based on a 'Health solution-oriented service' throughout the pharmacy. To date little has changed despite their troubles."   More... premium

Could what happened in Ireland happen here? :: Mark Dunn : 1/9/2009 : Some 'listers will have been following recent events in Irish pharmacy - it seems the Irish Government has won its battle of wits (and $$$) with Irish community pharmacies.

The dispute between the Irish government and pharmacy owners began early in 2009 when the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) announced plans to drastically cut the amount it paid to pharmacies for dispensing prescriptions under the Irish community drugs schemes (the equivalent of our PBS). The legislation was signed into law on July 1 and came into effect on August 1.   More... premium

Evidence for MMR benefits grows :: Debbie Rigby : 31/8/2009 : The study published in Circulation: Heart Failure last week (here) demonstrated the benefits of HMRs for patients with heart failure. There is a growing body of evidence on the benefits of HMRs and RMMRs in Australia. This comes at an opportune time when both services are under review by the Department of Health and Ageing and negotiations for the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement commence.

Another article by Australian researchers was published last week in Drugs and Aging (here) on the impact of RMMRs. Prasad Nishtala, Sarah Hilmer, Andrew McLachlan, Paul Hannan and Tim Chen used the Drug Burden Index to demonstrate the benefits of RMMRs.   More... premium

Where was the vision? :: Michael Scavone : 25/8/2009 : In today's feature Michael Scavone asks where the vision was in Guild President Sclavos' recent address to the National Press Club.

"In my view, a great opportunity to advocate for pharmacy reform was missed. What better audience could one have than a large group of journalists waiting to hear from the Guild President about the great benefits pharmacy could bring to health care? Instead, what we heard was what nice, honest people pharmacists are and how willing they are to do things for nothing, because the primary care infrastructure is already there."   More... premium

Pharmacy Women's Congress delivered its promise :: : 18/8/2009 : The focus of the congress was ‘Gaining knowledge, sharing experiences, building futures’ and the congress organizing committee certainly delivered a program that did all of this and more.

AusPharm's 'woman on the spot' reports on the weekend's program.

"For anyone who has previously thought that the Pharmacy Women’s Congress is an elitist group of women meeting to dish it to the male race I would strongly suggest that you attend the next congress in August 2010 in Hobart and enjoy the camaraderie and fantastic program that will be on offer."   More... premium

Chlorodyne - Universal Panacea? :: Geoff Miller : 14/8/2009 : After we published Murray Felstead's piece about Chlorodyne earlier this week, Geoff Miller, from the Australian Academy of Pharmacy History, got in touch and sent along a piece he'd written for the Academy's Journal a few years back. He's kindly given us permission to reproduce it on AusPharm.

"Gaunter and gaunter grow the soldiers of the Queen. Hunger and disease played havoc with those fine regiments. But somehow the Medical Corps managed to patch the men up with Chlorodyne and Quinine." ( From Cassell's "History of the Boer War")   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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