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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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The spoils of war :: Geoff Miller : 23/4/2008 : Did you know thast 19 men associated with pharmacy in Victoria lost their lives in the service of their country in World War 1?

In the next of our regular articles from the PHARMACY HISTORY Australia journal we publish today a piece included in the March issue of the journal, written by Geoff Miller, that has a military theme. It seems like an appropriate time to publish this piece with ANZAC Day this coming Friday. Lest we forget.....

To learn more about The Academy (and to get the info you need to join - it's only $35 a year) click here. To read Geoff's piece click the More...... link below.

(The March issue of the Journal also has a great article that details the military career of AACP CEO Bill Kelly.)   More... premium

Can Colesworth get a look in? :: John Clayton : 17/4/2008 : In a recent AusPharm article , Michael Scavone looked at some aspects of pharmacy ownership in Australia, in particular the way that some banner groups have established backend companies to manage the day to day operation of their pharmacies and whether this might open the ownership door to the supermarket lobby.

In today's feature Cropper Parkhill lawyer, John Clayton, has a look at what the legislation has to say about pharmacy ownership in the various Australian states and territories and whether or not there exists an opportunity for Colesworth to get a look in.    More... premium

Soldier on through a blackout :: Peter Allen : 10/4/2008 : "You know about the FEARFUL WINDS here in Melbourne last Wednesday, with big trees and limbs falling down all around (well, we are the green leafy shire) and hence powerless from lunchtime until who knows when?

So I stayed at my post -- because I am a pharmacist."

In today's AusPharm feature Peter Allen puts Roy Stevenson's generator challenge to the test.    More... premium

Mismatched Responses :: Irwin Lowe : 27/3/2008 : There is a wonderful scene in the television comedy “Black Books”, where Manny attempts to ask about a customer's day. The reaction he gets from the customer is a screaming tirade so vehement that Manny is blown backwards as if by a typhoon.

That’s the problem when dealing with the public, and people who walk in your door in particular, because you have absolutely no idea whether you will be interacting with the Dalai Lama (although the orange sackcloth, glasses, funny accent, and media contingent might be clues) or with Saddam Hussein.   More... premium

Natural disaster plannng :: Roy Stevenson : 19/3/2008 : "Scenario.... NSW Govt and Unions go head-to-head over privatization of the industry, OR climate change/ extreme weather patterns continue.

Consequence.... Pharmacy - and everyone else - is without power for several days to force a political solution, or floods/fires knock out power supplies."

In today's AusPharm feature Roy Stevenson muses about what to do when the sh*t hits the fan. Is his scenario a real possibility or does he just need to get a life?

You decide.   More... premium

Pharmacy ownership – a dream or a nightmare? :: Michael Scavone : 13/3/2008 : In Government circles there is an unwritten understanding that you don’t set up an enquiry unless you know or have a reasonable idea of what the outcome is likely to be.

The debate around pharmacy ownership circa 1999 was nearly at boiling point. The States were dragging their feet to conclude competition policy reviews before the 2000 deadline. The supermarket lobby was excited at the prospect of getting a foot in the pharmacy door. The Federal Government and the Opposition stated publicly that they supported the current model of pharmacist owned pharmacies and the Pharmacy Guild in NSW mobilised the troops with a petition of thousands of signatures aimed at retaining the status quo.

Solution – set up an enquiry. This was known as the Wilkinson Review aka the National Competition Policy Review of Pharmacy aka a Review of Pharmacy Ownership.    More... premium

Medication Reviews: who should do them? :: Kevin de Vries : 5/3/2008 : An article in Pharmacy News this week discusses training and accreditation requirements for performing Home Medicines Reviews (HMR). The article focuses on the relatively slow uptake of HMRs and seeks opinions as to why this may be the case. Some of the themes that emerge are the barriers (real or perceived) that exist to gaining accreditation, inadequate remuneration, whether new graduates should qualify to deliver HMRs and whether the accreditation education is too “highfalutin’ and complex”.
Professor Charlie Benrimoj (University of Sydney) is quoted as saying: “The [accreditation] process sends messages that only the elite can do HMRs; therefore there is no direct encouragement for ‘normal’ pharmacists to get themselves up to speed to provide HMRs.” Professor Benrimoj calls for as many pharmacists as possible to become accredited, stating that with an effectively managed, decent set of criteria “…any registered pharmacist should be able to sit the exam. It could be a day after registration.”   More... premium

PBS Reforms & F2A WADP – if only there was a substitute? :: Norman Thurecht : 28/2/2008 : In today's AusPharm feature article, JR Pharmacy Services' Norman Thurecht has a go at making sense of one of the little understood measures in the PBS reform package, the “Weighted Average Disclosure Price” or WADP.

"When the PBS reforms were announced in November 2006 they created a great wave of interest but to date the ripples of change have not been felt – but rest assured, they will. There are many facets to the reforms. While the total effects (both positive and negative) will only be felt in the years to come, it is important to understand what changes are occurring now so you can plan for change."    More... premium

If sex sells, might 'evolution' be sexier than 'history'? :: Geoff Miller : 26/2/2008 : Along with my colleagues at the Australian Academy of the History of Pharmacy, I often wonder what our universities and societies might do to inspire interest and ensure longevity in activities in pharmacy history.

While history might be light heartedly considered by some as “the story of something that never happened, written by someone who wasn’t there”, we should ignore its impact on our here and now at our peril. As George Santayana opined, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”   More... premium

First class? Not always! :: Archana Haria : 21/2/2008 : In our AusPharm feature today, pre-reg Archana Haria's story of her recent visit to India gives us a chance to reflect on the quality of health care we experience in Australia.


"On a recent ‘adventure’ to India I had an unfortunate encounter with the Indian railway system. Insisting that the railway system is a ‘true experience’, a friend, who had backpacked around ‘the world’ recently, advised me to make this very much a part of my adventure.

Little did I know what he meant by ‘true experience’. As I entered the Mumbai station of Dadar I was greeted with masses of people, the distinct ‘smell’ of India (a concoction of incense, spices and musk) and, of course, hawkers trying to convince me that they have the ‘world’s best…’!"    More... premium

Every cloud has a silver insurance policy :: Bruce Moffat : 15/2/2008 : NSW 'listers may recall reading the sad story back in December of a Sydney man crushed to death when a pharmacy's awning collapsed on him after a freak storm.

The manager of that pharmacy is Bruce Moffat, who tells us his story today....

"For those of you who would rather have a vicarious experience with a novel than a novel experience with a Vicar, read on. This is your vicarious experience of how your Pharmacy Insurance Policy works."    More... premium

Towards pharmacist prescribing rights - but let's get it right! :: Ron Batagol : 7/2/2008 : In our first feature article for 2008, Ron Batagol writes about pharmacists' core role, that of ensuring that our patients/clients are given their medicines in the correct dosages, with due consideration of safety and efficacy.

In a recent Pharmacy Board of Victoria Newsletter was a report on a case, referred to it by the Coroner, (1) of a pharmacist who had been "cajoled and bullied" by a client, obviously against the pharmacist's better judgement, into dispensing what turned out to be a fatal course of MS Contin treatment, after the prescriber was apparently uncontactable.

Unknown to the pharmacist, the patient turned out to be opiate naive, even though she assured the pharmacist that she had "taken the drug before and knew all about it!    More... premium

Evidence based and non evidence based medicines :: Michael Page : 18/12/2007 : As 2007 draws to a close Michael Page offers his view on why we should reconsider the way we look at the dichotomy that currently exists between 'orthodox' and complementary medicines.

"There are many ways in which we separate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) – including herbal medicines, vitamins, and so on – from orthodox medicines."   More... premium

When is a pharmacy a supermarket? :: John Clayton : 13/12/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature, Cropper Parkhill solictor John Clayton talks about what factors come into play when deciding whether a pharmacy is also a supermarket.

"Community pharmacies are distinguishable from other retail outlets because they are owned and managed by pharmacists, they supply scheduled medicines and they provide predominantly health products. There is an ongoing debate about whether the pharmacy of the future will continue to be distinguishable for these reasons, or whether it will cease to exist as a separate entity and pharmacy services will be available alongside other consumer items in supermarkets and department stores.

"What prevents this happening now? What prevents a supermarket from dispensing medicines? Does anything prevent a pharmacist from selling a full range of domestic items and so, in effect, operating a supermarket?"    More... premium

Serendipitous benefits of Stilnox® :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 6/12/2007 : In her last contribution to AusPharm for 2007, Dr Geraldine Moses writes about 'good zolpidem'.

"Over the past 12 months, many of you would have followed the news of the bizarre sleep-associated side effects linked with zolpidem a.k.a. “Stilnox®”. Indeed, just last week the TGA issued updated warnings about the drug.(1) But did you know that zolpidem’s strange side effects have serendipitously created new applications for the drug in a range of CNS disorders from brain injury to restless legs?

Let me tell you all about it."   More... premium

Structuring for success! :: Mark Nicholson : 29/11/2007 : This is the last article this year from JR Pharmacy services Mark Nicholson. However, he will be back with more business commentary next year!

"Back in February, I wrote about the challenges involved in buying a pharmacy, including some of the financial realities that surround a successful purchase (see So you want to buy a Pharmacy! ). Today’s topic is about structuring for success."   More... premium

The Point of view of a Pre-reg! :: Rowan Lowe : 22/11/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature pre-reg Rowan Lowe talks us through the issues that are important for pre-regs.

"When agreeing to employ a pre-registration pharmacist, a preceptor should always keep in mind that they are not simply employing a staff member but are providing an opportunity to educate and train the next generation of pharmacists."    More... premium

The Best Weight Loss Drug is Food :: Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis, PhD : 20/11/2007 : After the recent dicussions on AusPharmList on weight loss prompted by Stuart Adams' article a 'lister was in touch to introduce AusPharm to Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis, saying that her work was worth a look.

Dr Sainsbury-Salis is a Senior Research Fellow at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and author of The Don't Go Hungry Diet. In today's AusPharm feature she explains her research into reducing 'the famine reaction'.

Acording to Dr Sainsbury-Salis: "Whilst providing your clients with scientifically based advice for effective weight loss won't sell weight loss products such as the kind mentioned in Stuart Adam's article of October 23rd, a growing number of astute customers are looking for real solutions from professionals they can trust."   More... premium

Exposure to commonly-occurring chemicals during pregnancy - be alert but not alarmed! :: Ron Batagol : 13/11/2007 : Recently, after I returned from a vacation, I had a quick look, as is my wont, at what I had missed on AusPharmList in the two weeks that I had been away.

One exchange of posts immediately caught my eye. It concerned the situation of a pharmacist who sells a cough mixture which contains saccharin to a pregnant client and the ensuing debate around how to access the safety in pregnancy of saccharin used as a flavouring in medicinal products.   More... premium

Can you communicate? :: Archana Haria : 8/11/2007 : Recently I've been involved in the behind-the-scenes organisation of a nationwide public speaking competition aimed at high schoolers and the art of social intelligence interests me greatly.

I've seen some true gems walk through this competition, often discovered as diamonds in the rough, yet nothing prepared me for a recent 'moment in time'.

I thought I had seen the breadth and depth of social intelligence but I now reside in the comfort of mankind's unique ability to adapt.    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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