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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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I wish I was the Bionic Woman :: Karalyn Huxhagen : 17/5/2007 : Pharmacy is a profession that encompasses a variety of roles and, as such, our skills and knowledge go down a huge array of pathways. One of the most important areas of our practice relies on our clinical knowledge. To keep this knowledge up to date, correct and based in sound clinical evidence is a very tough task. I often wish there was a microchip in my head that stored it all and was automatically updated as I slept. Unfortunately this is not so.   More... premium

Love them or they will leave....... :: Frank Morgan : 15/5/2007 : "You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality." - Walt Disney

In today's AusPharm feature Frank Morgan reminds us that the key to business success is the people around us.

"In your enthusiasm to energise your business and focus on building relationships with your customers you may fail to focus on the management of your people. You may then end up blown away and sick in the stomach when you hear "I'm giving you my notice".....especially if it comes from an employee who is important."   More... premium

Better Than a Doctor Huh? :: Bruce Moffat : 10/5/2007 : (with apologies to William Shakespeare or his contemporaries)

Dramatis Personae:

Apothecary, Prince of his Realm (90 sqm incl toilet and 3 carriage spaces)
An Old Man, state beneficiary,
A Friar, possessor of arcane learnings
Chorus (of divers gradings)
Citizens of Sydney (Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and attendants)

How many times during the course of our working days have many of us been flattered by that most seductive of phrases "Thank you, you're better than a Doctor"?   More... premium

Matching the customer's desire to their objective :: Irwin Lowe : 8/5/2007 : 'Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.' - Douglas Adams, "Last Chance to See"

The reason we have specialists within an area of expertise is that even though we might have the ability to do things ourselves, in reality it is simply not practical. In my particular case, I suspect that my brain has actually filled to its limit.    More... premium

Superannuation: am I employed or self-employed? :: Mark Nicholson : 3/5/2007 : Following my article last month on the benefits of superannuation there were a few comments posted to AusPharmList and we also received number of queries in our office on the more technical aspects of how deductions relate to the employed vs the self-employed and, also, what the impact of the changes post July 1, 2007 might be.

I've put together below a basic summary of the changes that will apply in respect of contributions to superannuation together with some comments about determining whether a person is an employee or is self-employed.   More... premium

Pharmacy on holidaze....... :: Veronica Nou : 1/5/2007 : Prior to commencing her new job in April Veronica Nou had a six week jaunt around Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and mainland China with a couple of friends.

"One thing about my friends and I, or at least the pharmacy crowd therein, is the tendency we have to scope out other pharmacies, especially new ones. It's a sad truth that we have actually made half hour journeys to brand new developments and shopping centres just to check out the pharmacies there.

That's me above showing off my terrible sunburn!"    More... premium

*Just a bit* of botox and some unexpected side effects :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 26/4/2007 : Everybody's heard of Botox. What started out as the cause of life-threatening botulism is now a household name for ridding one of wrinkles.

But as Botox's popularity soars, for both cosmetic and medical purposes, caution about its safety seems to be plummeting, as a recent Adverse Medicine Events Line case demonstrates.    More... premium

Australian V8 Supercar Competition :: Michael Page : 19/4/2007 : There aren't many industries left in which legislation places limits on business ownership. There are fewer still in which the limits placed on ownership exist to protect the health of the public - pharmacy is one of these.

Most other ownership-restricted industries are regulated to protect the public or national interest through the prevention of large players exploiting an unfair competitive advantage that might be abused for economic, social or political gain. Examples of these might include the media and airline industries. It is interesting and enlightening to compare the conditions under which restricted industries operate.   More... premium

Have we got rid of the pharmacy squirrels or have they simply burrowed underground? :: Ron Batagol : 17/4/2007 : Some time ago, (in December 2004 actually), I wrote an AusPharm feature article entitled "Squirrels are a pharmacy health hazard - let's eliminate them!"

I think it is timely to re-visit this issue. The reason is that, in the two years since writing that article, I have seen and heard of numerous instances where squirrelling has nearly, or could have potentially, led to therapeutic disasters including fatalities.
   More... premium

Oral vitamin B12 supplements are effective :: Debbie Rigby : 12/4/2007 : Did you know that Vit B12 taken orally is clinically effective? In today's AusPharm feature Debbie Rigby tells all a pharmacist needs to know about Vitamin B12. Read on....

"There has been some discussion on the availability of vitamin B12 injections on AusPharmList recently. It has been commonly thought that oral vitamin B12 is ineffective; however studies and reviews have concluded that oral vitamin B12 supplements are effective in high doses. In Sweden, oral preparations have been used clinically from 1964.1 "   More... premium

Increasing dispensary efficiency :: Wendy Morton : 4/4/2007 : Quiet moments in the dispensary I call home are rare, but sometimes furnish the opportunity to reflect on how we might increase the efficiency and productivity of the place. Our grand plans range from whimsical notions, like an employment policy that limited new hires to people with unique or quota controlled birth months to regulate the demands on our petty cash tin for birthday cake morning teas, up to extensive redesigns and refits.

But at the APP2007 conference this year, the display of tailored dispensing solutions by Willach provided some genuine food for thought to pharmacies of all sizes in addressing the challenges of working smarter rather than harder to maintain or increase both our margins and professional involvement, as reduced funding models seem destined to force us toward higher dispensing volumes.    More... premium

I am terrible at filling out forms :: Irwin Lowe : 29/3/2007 : Bridgekeeper: Stop. What... is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yellow. Auuuuuuuugh.

[he is thrown over the edge into a volcano]

Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail

   More... premium

Tales from the helpline: Update on zolpidem: the 'oh my god' factor :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 27/3/2007 :

When pondering my AusPharm topic for this month, I just couldn't get zolpidem off my mind. We have had so many bizarre adverse reactions reported ....well..I just have to share.

Not only have we had lots of calls at the Adverse Medicine events Line from worried consumers, but we have also had many requests from doctors and pharmacists seeking advice for consumers who take zolpidem without obvious ill effect. I will give you some guidance on this later, but first let me fill you in on what's being reported.    More... premium

Have you considered becoming a preceptor? :: Karalyn Huxhagen : 22/3/2007 : Largely driven by the huge increase in pharmacy graduates in recent years the demand for pharmacist preceptors is at an all time high. There is a real need for more preceptors to be available to both pre-registration students and undergraduate students.    More... premium

Superannuation - should you give it a boost? :: Mark Nicholson : 22/3/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature managing partner of JR's Pharmacy Services, Mark Nicholson, talks about the importance of keeping your superannuation contributions up.

"You may be of the opinion that superannuation, with its history of changing rules and long-term returns doesn't suit you. The reality, however is that the Government is prepared to pay you to save. As such, superannuation saving should be at the forefront of every worker's and every business owner's mind."    More... premium

Now listen up all you smart city b*stards . . . (Part 3) :: Peter Crothers : 15/3/2007 : Here is the third and final part of Bourke pharmacist Peter Crothers' article that looks at life as a rural pharmacist.

"Pharmacy organisations and regulatory authorities seem obsessed with narrow definitions and tight regulations that may well suit the majority of practice situations, but the same people seem indifferent to, if not outright hostile towards, the pharmacy service needs of atypical groups, such as rural people."    More... premium

PHARMACY IS CHANGING: A need for state based pharmacy development :: John Gibson : 13/3/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature, Pharmaceutical Council of Western Australia member and clinical pharmacist John Gibson writes about the need for pharmacists and pharmacy organisation to work more closely with state governments.

" creating a conundrum for pharmacists, who have traditionally focused their efforts to sustain pharmacy services primarily on the vehicle of the PBS. Whilst this has worked reasonably well in the past, the changing methods of health care delivery are increasingly leaving Canberra based pharmacy organizations out of touch with what is happening where the 'action' is, in the states."    More... premium

'Sue your pharmacist' week :: Michael Page : 8/3/2007 :

"It is a source of comfort for many pharmacists - probably some more than others - that a pharmacist being sued for malpractice is an incredibly rare occurrence. It's also a source of comfort for our professional indemnity insurers and it keeps our indemnity premiums low, lower than those for most other health professionals.

But there is a clear implication in this, and it would be rather naive to assume that this implication is that pharmacists are so thoroughly competent and faultless that we never make mistakes worthy of litigation."    More... premium

Now listen up all you smart city b*stards . . . (Part 2) :: Peter Crothers : 7/3/2007 : Here is Part Two of Bourke pharmacist Peter Crothers' article that looks at life as a rural pharmacist.

"At our local Aboriginal Health Service...the access issues are similar, although less extreme, to those Robbo describes.....Of more immediate concern to me and many other bush pharmacists however, are the entrenched PBS access barriers to aboriginal people. In my town, 80-90% of the 1200 or so local aboriginal people have immediate physical access to my pharmacy and we work very hard to ensure aboriginal people get the same access to services and standard of care as anyone else, but sadly they often don't."    More... premium

Muggling jutherhood :: Wendy Morton : 6/3/2007 : "It is 1.55am in the morning on Tuesday November 15 and the School Fete is tomorrow. My 25th or 26th dozen of home baked biscuits is just going into or out of or through the oven (under, over, beside... one's grasp of all things spatial does tend to fray somewhat by this time of night). A moment of deja vu as I recall the opening scene of a novel I read about 3 years ago - the protagonist gently tapping store-bought mince pies at 1.37am with a rolling pin to "distress" them, the aim being to make them look home-made so she can take them to the school carol concert and hold her head high amongst "the proper mothers, who bake."   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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