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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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PBS Reformation - Are we entering another Ice Age? :: Neil Retallick : 1/8/2007 : National Pharmacies' General Manager, Merchandising, Neil Retallick shares with Auspharm subscribers his views on the PBS Reforms, suggesting businesses who fail to adapt may well be left out in the cold.


"Over the last several years in particular, as the ballooning costs of Australia's subsidised medicines scheme emerged as a major economic management issue for the Government, we have seen an increasing number of adjustments to the PBS pharmacy revenue model... If the dispensary was a hot income earner for pharmacists in the 1990's, it's getting chilly in there now."   More... premium

PBS Reforms and their impact on Pharmacy Service Providers :: Mark Nicholson : 1/8/2007 : JR Pharmacy Service's Mark Nicholson gives us his take on what the PBS Reforms might mean for the providers of services to pharmacy and suggests that, for pharmacies themselves:


"Our view is that, despite the PBS reforms, as long as regulatory controls remain in place the Pharmacy industry will continue to enjoy good health although ongoing success will not necessarily be shared between each and every Pharmacy."   More... premium

Post August 1st 2008 outlook may be complex but... :: John Bronger : 1/8/2007 : Immediate Past Guild President John Bronger gives us his comments on the Reforms.

"The maintenance of the community pharmacy network for PBS and professional service delivery must be protected and enhanced as it has a well documented history of public benefit."   More... premium

PBS Reforms and the Wholesale sector :: Stephen Roche : 1/8/2007 : Last week, AusPharm put a series of questions to API CEO Stephen Roche about what the Reforms would mean for the Wholesalers.

Here's what he had to say.    More... premium

PBS threat may help drive opportunities :: Debbie Rigby : 1/8/2007 : PSA National Vice President Debbie Rigby says that the PBS Reforms offer a great opportunity for pharmacists to drive down the professional services road. 

"How many times have we all heard the phrase "pharmacy is at the crossroads"? To my mind this does not really describe where the profession currently stands since many pharmacists have already chosen the path they want to take. They have chosen to take the road of delivering more in-depth professional services and have made great strides along it.   More... premium

How might the PBS Reforms affect everyday pharmacy services? :: Kevin de Vries : 1/8/2007 : Bendigo Community Pharmacy owner Kevin de Vries gives his take on the Reforms.

"The era of cross-subsidisation of community pharmacy services is over and the era of user-pays is about to commence."   More... premium

A Little Google Can Be A Dangerous Thing! :: Ron Batagol : 31/7/2007 : So, Joe types the magic words "cancer cure" into the "Goggle" website (or was it Googly or something like that?) that grandson Jimmy set up for them as a "Favorites" on their new fangled computer. And guess what? He ends up with an avalanche of "expert" opinions on the subject, many in conflict with each other. Try it yourself - there are over 6 million Google hits on "cancer cure", which come up in 0.09 seconds!   More... premium

Walking the Amiodarone tightrope - who's in charge of the safety net? :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 26/7/2007 : Amiodarone is one of those drugs that sends shivers down the spine. It's associated with a string of serious side effects, yet is probably the most effective anti-arrhythmic available. No wonder amiodarone patients feel like they're walking a tightrope between benefit and risk.

That is, if they've actually been informed of the risks!   More... premium

HOMER SCHMOMER :: Debbie Rigby : 19/7/2007 :  

"The right people with the right skills and the right tools doing the right job at the right time."

Over the last few years the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and other leading journals have published a number of articles based on the HOMER (HOME based medication Review by pharmacists) study which seriously questions the value of pharmacist-conducted medication reviews.   More... premium

What does a pharmacist look for in a pharmacy? :: David Haworth : 17/7/2007 : As a locum these days (not an owner any more) I occasionally find myself, at scheduled times of inactivity, in need of pharmacy services.

It may be ear plugs for that noisy motel, a refill of my glucosamine in Tasmania or that soap free shampoo I forgot to purchase at my last job. Why didn't I get that Ezetrol script made up at the last job? Does it cause forgetfulness just like the statins maybe?

And as a greying, spritely, fun loving old chap what do I like in a pharmacy and what turns me off?   More... premium

Diabetes - the business case for developing a professional services category into a viable Community Pharmacy Category :: Mark Nicholson : 12/7/2007 : In today's feature from JR Pharmacy Services' Mark Nicholson he explains why community pharmacists should not pass up the opportunity to develop a Diabetes Management category in their pharmacies.

"... the average diabetic contributes approximately $5,000 of sales (dispensary and OTC) per annum to a pharmacy. At a 32% gross profit this translates to $1,600 gross profit per patient. With the Stage 2 funding a further $458 per patient (max. 14 patients) will be provided...."    More... premium

Dealing with the media - remember, spin rules - OK? :: Ron Batagol : 3/7/2007 : An issue that frequently comes up on AusPharmList is the surprise, annoyance and sometimes even outrage, that pharmacists express about "media distortion" of medical and pharmacy news stories.

This so because of the emphasis or "spin" that the media puts on these stories, complete with the seemingly obligatory, sensational, screaming headlines that manifestly "distort" the real story even further.   More... premium

Tales from the Help Line: olanzapine and drug-induced type 2 diabetes. :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 28/6/2007 : It's grade 1 pharmacology to know that most antipsychotics are associated with significant weight gain. But how many of us have treated the problem as anything but cosmetic? Evidence is mounting that drug-induced obesity is a big problem ('scuse the pun) as it seems to be increasing the risk of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

The problem with atypical antipsychotics is that they increase both the risk for obesity and diabetes. Of particular concern is olanzapine, as today's AME Line case study suggests.   More... premium

Another career option; Locum, guys! :: Veronica Nou : 14/6/2007 : When I first decided to do locum work I think it really surprised the majority of people who knew me. I was working between Newcastle and Muswellbrook at the time, and was slowly caving in to family pressure to return to Sydney (where they could keep an eye on me). It was a hard decision to leave my workplace at the time, as they had really looked after me, so I spent a bit of time asking their advice on my next move.

"Do locum work," I was told. "You're still young. Get out and see places, you'll learn a lot more that way, and it's easier to do it now than later."   More... premium

It's that time of year again :: Mark Nicholson : 7/6/2007 : In today's feature JR Pharmacy Services' Mark Nicholson looks at some of the issues involved in end of year tax planning. Today's feature was co-authored by JR Pharmacy Services' Norman Thurect.

"Managing tax should be a year round exercise but for many it is something that only bears consideration in late June. If you're one of the 'many' then consider this article a prompt to ensure sure you don't miss any opportunities to minimise your 2007 tax liability."   More... premium

Metha-do, metha-don't :: Irwin Lowe : 5/6/2007 : Opiate substitution treatment programs in retail pharmacy are, I suspect, at a crossroads. Idealistic pharmacists who apply 'normal' patient care to clients on programs like this are very quickly burnt out. The programs can be very rewarding for a few individuals and I have experienced the shared joy of individual lives, otherwise destined for ruination, redeemed.

The difficulty is the daily grind of the very many 'failures' (by definition of continuing to be in some way associated with the drug dependent lifestyle) one assists to help those few 'successes'.    More... premium

The power within :: Archana Haria : 31/5/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature 4th year Curtin University pharmacy student Archana Haria returns with a cracker of a success story.

"It's not often you feel like you have REALLY made a difference.

My day came on a very average morning while working at my community pharmacy clinical placement from uni. The last module of my workbook required me to review a patient on multiple medications, identify potential and actual drug interactions, ask a series of questions of the patient (after getting patient consent), make a recommendation profile to better manage the conditions and then make a follow-up phone-call. As a fourth year student, you can imagine, the first thing that ran through my mind was "yeah right!"
   More... premium

Type B side effects - expecting the unexpected :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 29/5/2007 : Karalyn Huxhagen's brilliant piece last week hit home the importance of keeping up to date. But it reminded me that it's equally important not to forget what you already know.

There's not much point in learning all the new fangled facts and figures if you can't do the bog standard stuff like intervening on a patient taking both a beta agonist and a beta blocker.... Or avoiding a drug the patient has a documented allergy to, or.... as my case today describes... helping a patient suffering from a well-documented drug side effect.   More... premium

Flogging off phenylephrine cold products in supermarkets? It's all part of an emerging bigger picture! :: Ron Batagol : 24/5/2007 : Recently we learnt that the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) is soon to consider whether or not to allow phenylephrine-containing cold tablets to be downscheduled. Let's call it what it really is; not down-scheduling but de-scheduling of phenylephrine solid-dose cold products, to allow them to be sold in supermarkets and other general sales outlets.

So, why are we not surprised?

After all, NDPSC is the same group of "rocket scientists" who, not so long ago, through their hare-brained decision, based on an overseas-drug company sponsored GP (not OTC!) study, decided that NSAID products could be flogged off willy nilly to Joe public, by grocery check-out ch**** and servo grease monk***!    More... premium

Pharmacy rentals: the price is not right :: Angelo Sommariva : 22/5/2007 : Some 'listers will have heard the speech delivered at APP2007 by Queensland National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce about the disparity in rents charged in shopping centres between supermarkets and pharmacy. In today's AusPharm feature the Guild's Angelo Sommariva fills the rest of us in.

"In the US, which is widely seen as the most deregulated market in the world, legislation prohibits two adjacent premises in a shopping centre being charged different rental rates. In stark contrast, the rental rates paid by Coles and Woolworths is usually 20 to 40 times less than that charged to small business operators. How can we get this so wrong, when even the US has it right?"   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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