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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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Conducting Home Medicines Reviews in the Kimberley :: Lisa Crisp : 10/9/2008 : Last week AusPharm published a piece from Chris Phillips,  Senior Program Manager with the Kimberley Division of General Practice and HMR facilitator for the region. Chris told us about the many challenges he faced in establishing a HMR service in the region. Today we hear from Lisa Crisp, the pharmacist actually doing the HMRs.

"For the past two years I have been fortunate enough to work across the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is one of the most beautiful offices in the world and this is the story of how I established a career in this wonderful workplace."

(Another article on services in
the bush arranged for us by Andrew Roberts - thanks Robbo.)    More... premium

It’s the small things :: Bruce Moffat : 4/9/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Bruce Moffat asks why it is that we keep turning up for work.

"Ever had an E Coli kinda day?  They creep up on you.  Or at least the feeling does.

They’re the kind of coalface days when the only difference between your work day and that of a Gram negative microbe drifting in a sea of effluent is that, if you’re lucky, you may at least have the opportunity at the end of it to reproduce sexually.  Not that silly horizontal DNA transfer business.  The bugs can keep it.  Mind you, they can manufacture their own alcohol so it’s not all gloom and hydrogen sulphide at the angstrom level."   More... premium

Rural and Remote HMRs in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia :: Chris Phillips : 1/9/2008 : In the coming weeks we'll be bringing you a number of articles about how HMRs are conducted in the remote Kimberley area of WA.

Today's first instalment is from Chris Phillips, Senior Program Manager with the Kimberley Division of General Practice Broome.

"Setting up a HMR service has been an evolving process.  There are only 5 private pharmacies in the region, 3 of those being in Broome (with a resident population around 12,000).  The other 2 pharmacies are located in Derby (200 km from Broome) and Kununurra in the East Kimberley (over 1000 kms from Broome)."

(Thanks to Andrew Roberts for arranging this article for us. Have you seen Andrew's rural and remote blog? It's worth a look --> here.)   More... premium

Zero alcohol in pregnancy and breast-feeding - more political correctness gone mad? :: Ron Batagol : 20/8/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Ron Batagol has a look at the NHMRC's proposed Australian Alcohol Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking as they relate to women who are either pregnant or breast feeding.

"In early December last year, I was putting together a set of comments to the NHMRC on their proposed "zero alcohol" recommendations for pregnant and breast-feeding women, which was one part of the proposed NHMRC Australian Alcohol Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking. I started to reflect on this whole concept of factoring in the social costs of the enthusiastic pursuit of some of these politically correct "zero tolerance" agendas that, for all the right reasons, we often zealously promote."    More... premium

Training is an investment not a cost :: Annette Ivory-Barker : 14/8/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature JR Pharmacy Services Senior Manager Annette Ivory-Barker talks about the importance of staff training and how the right training can add value to a business and to the individual doing the training.

" a retail environment a lack of commitment to ongoing training and development will inevitable result in dissatisfied or indifferent customers and, therefore, lost sales and market share."    More... premium

No Substitute for Equality :: Veronica Nou : 24/7/2008 : "In a cosy suburban pharmacy somewhere in Sydney, a keen young pharmacist spent many a merry day deciphering prescriptions, admiring countless photos of the families of the prescription owners, engaging in friendly debates with staff from the nearby bottle shop as to which of their respective businesses sold the more superior cure for local ailments, asking irritating questions of med reps who seemed never in their lives to have even heard of pharmacokinetics, and vigorously defending the prices her employer charges against tales of someplace else charging over a DOLLAR less. Between searching for a working pen and asking why Xalatan® had been delivered in a cardboard box without a fridge warning, she even occasionally found time to talk with the people who entrusted her with their health and the health of people they loved. Sometimes, those conversations wound around towards generics."

In today's AusPharm feature Veronica Nou has a close look at what 'equivalent' really means.    More... premium

I attract them :: Irwin Lowe : 17/7/2008 : There are many things that are not taught at Pharmacy College. One broad topic is that of the great unwashed masses: the general public; those you will come into contact with in some way or other and a few of whom you might have the opportunity to employ, should you ever obtain the Holy Grail of Retail Pharmacy ownership.

There is little else that can be done about the great unwashed other than to maintain a safe braking distance. On no account should you go about employing the more loopy ones.    More... premium

Celebrity Worship Syndrome - so that's how you get through to them! :: Ron Batagol : 10/7/2008 : “What do you mean it's useless unless he's a horny goat? That's not what Funky Spunky from the Deadbeats said! He reckons it works every time for him. And what's more, time and time again!"

In today's AusPharm feature Ron Batagol suggests that maybe we're approaching our counseling role from the wrong direction....

"In a national online survey of Australians in March 2007, it was revealed that a staggering 68% of Australians love celebrities. In fact they are so captivated that over 20% seek out celebrity news every day and 40% seek it out weekly. 31% of those responding went so far as to say they consider themselves completely celebrity obsessed or know someone who is."    More... premium

Opioid Therapy as a Pharmacy Specialty :: Peter Allen : 3/7/2008 : Methadone programmes have once again been a topic of discussion on AusPharmList in recent weeks after the publication of a report critical of the cost.

In today's feature Peter Allen puts a human face on these programmes.

"Providing an Opioid Therapy Program, that's something really worthwhile. Which needs special skills, is professionally rewarding and financially rewarding too, since we seek to find replacements for lower profitability. This part of our practice should be recognised as an extra skill, alongside managing asthma or diabetes. 'Pharmacotherapy' is a professional specialty if ever there was one"    More... premium

What the F2 do? :: Wendy Morton : 26/6/2008 : By now, everyone has their head firmly around what to do in the lead up to August 1, don't they? Don't they???

In today's AusPharm feature Wendy Morton tells us what she thinks you should be doing.

"August 1st approacheth and it seems many pharmacists' heads are spinning - with the potential also for a few heads to roll - over how best to survive the imminent PBS Reform price changes associated with products included on the list of F2T drugs."    More... premium

Time for a 'stocktake' :: Frank Morgan : 19/6/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Frank Morgan talks about what you need to do as we approach the start of the 2008/09 financial year.

Here we are at the end of the 2007/08 financial year and it’s an excellent time to have a look at the health of your business. Without too much trouble you can obtain meaningful figures now. Don’t wait another six months till your accountant produces the “true” result. Keep “ahead of the game”.    More... premium

Pharmacy incorporation – maximising the opportunities :: Norman Thurecht : 12/6/2008 : A recent AusPharm feature article by John Clayton looked at pharmacy ownership rules on a state by state basis. What has come to light since this article was published is that the NSW state government has before it a Bill relating to stamp duty exemption for pharmacists in NSW who incorporate their pharmacies with the same ownership proportions (shareholdings). Assuming this Bill passes the Upper House it is a significant win for pharmacists in NSW, one that other States will be envious of. Well done NSW Pharmacy Guild!    More... premium

Questions on Dong Quai and Slippery Elm in Pharmacy Board Registration Exams? What are they thinking of! :: Ron Batagol : 5/6/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Ron Batagol has a bit to say about the inclusion of questions on herbal preparations in a recent Victorian Pharmacy Board Registration exam.

"Setting exam questions which invite those candidates who so choose, to discuss the "therapeutic merits" of Dong Quai, Slippery Elm and whatever else takes the examiners' collective fancy, in a final pharmacy registration exam? For heaven's sake, what were they thinking of?"    More... premium

Triage - a useful tool in pharmacy? :: Patrick Mahony : 29/5/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Patrick Mahony gives us the benefit of his 40 years of front line service.

"On AusPharmList recently there has been comment about the 'joys' of forward pharmacy. However I have finally convinced my staff that we need to turn the dispensary up side down and reverse the "forward" pharmacy concept we have used for the last 25 years.

I have fine tuned the concept of a "Triage Counter/Service" within the pharmacy so that we have a point at which all access to the pharmacist starts. The role of the triage assistant (who may be a pharmacist at certain times) is to clarify, document and prioritise the service required."    More... premium

No 'off' switch :: somepharmacyguy : 22/5/2008 : In AusPharm's relentless quest for material to brighten your day we stumbled across blogger somepharmacyguy. We invited him to share some of his thoughts with us and this is what came out the other end.

"I imagine the problem is much the same for GPs and other front-line health people; you're out and about, minding your own business and enjoying the fact that you're not working when suddenly Mrs Smith bowls up and insists on showing you a nasty rash she's just found. Suddenly you find yourself stood in the supermarket deli section examining a fungal rash hidden under a leathery 60-year old breast, silently weeping at what your life has become"    More... premium

Pharmacists in GP Super Clinics :: Michael Page : 20/5/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Michael Page has a look at some of the issues raised by last week's Guild attack on the PSA GP Super Clinic proposal.

"More infighting in the pharmacy ranks, particularly using poorly reasoned, conflicting and generally harmful arguments is not going to help anyone. While we continue to argue about who will control these services, the Australian Nursing Federation, acting as an apparently united front for the nursing profession in Australia, battles on, winning more and more professional practice areas for nurses, many of which might have been equally or better taken on by pharmacists. Eventually someone within pharmacy might win our tug-of-war, but by then there may be nothing left to fight for."    More... premium

But the regulations say.... :: Peter Crothers : 15/5/2008 : AusPharm thinks there must be something in the water out Bourke way at present.

Peter Crothers has been expressing himself particularly lucidly in recent days/weeks. In today's feature he takes a swipe at pharmacists who blindly follow the rules without always considering the impact on patients.

"The lemming-like willingness of pharmacists to uncritically and rigidly apply Regulations in a way that causes unnecessary angst and inconvenience for patients makes my blood boil and sends me into a flat-spin of despair about some members of this profession that I love. It is something I just don't understand. No wonder Jerry Seinfeld gets a laugh when he calls pharmacists "drug nazis"."   More... premium

Generators in pharmacy could be dangerous! :: Roy Stevenson : 9/5/2008 : Back in late March I put the question : "Is it safe to run a computer + other electronic equipment off a generator? If that generator is brought in with a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) – like ..a SERIOUS UPS and not one of these *power board* jobs - will this solve the problem?"

I have followed subsequent posts following this and especially Peter Allen’s comments of 10/04/2008 (do you know there are two Peter Allens in Pharmacy – the Pharmacist Advice Guru and Our Own Peter Allen?).

(Our) Peter A actually plugged his $120 Bunnings generator into his computer during a power outage, and it worked!

I have to tell you Peter, that my research indicates that you got lucky!    More... premium

How efficient are you? :: Archana Haria : 8/5/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature pre-reg Archana Haria talks about time management and what a useful skill it is to have.

"I have read many 'listers complain of how it is very hard to dispense, provide effective counselling and do another ten things at once. One of the main things that a particular pharmacist supervisor taught me was that for a pharmacy to run effectively, STRESS-FREE and be profitable, time management is paramount."    More... premium

'Time to take a stand' on S3s :: Peter Crothers : 29/4/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature Peter Crothers makes out a compelling case for wholesale reform of the protocols underpinning the 'Pharmacist Only' schedule, Schedule 3.

"In my opinion, the S3 PHARMACIST ONLY CATEGORY needs serious reform in order to eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) the opportunity for pharmacists to *make errors* when supplying people."    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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