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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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Now listen up all you smart city b*stards . . . (Part 1) :: Peter Crothers : 28/2/2007 : Today's AusPharm feature from Bourke pharmacist Peter Crothers is the first of a three part series that looks at life as a rural pharmacist.

"Our local hospital's "pharmacy service" is almost 400km away. The pharmacists there seem good at their jobs and terrific people BUT . . . . they're almost 400km away! They service about 120 beds and (wait for it) no less than 23 outlying hospitals like ours. Twenty three! Our hospital pharmacists can manage 1 or 2 visits per year to our town for clinical audit activities - probably quite good in the circumstances - BUT . . . they're mostly still almost 400km away!"    More... premium

Tales from the helpline: Zolpidem - what did you do in your sleep last night? :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 22/2/2007 : I hope you've read the February edition of the ADRAC bulletin, because it is imperative that pharmacists are familiar with the range of bizarre neuropsychiatric reactions increasingly associated with the non-benzodiazepine hypnotic zolpidem.    More... premium

The role, responsibility and risk of saying 'No' as a practising pharmacist :: Kevin de Vries : 15/2/2007 : Pharmacists have been in the news in the last week for being unable (or unwilling) to say 'no'.

In today's debut feature from Kevin de Vries, he offers some practical advice on how to decline a request for supply.

"Do you make New Year's resolutions? I do. My resolution for 2007 is to be more positive and less negative, so it's with some bemusement that I sit here contemplating the role, responsibility and risks of pharmacists when saying "no" in their professional duties."    More... premium

Discredit of the Pharmacy profession in the media: Kos Sclavos responds :: Kos Sclavos : 14/2/2007 : Last week Andre Kung wrote "In this age of media saturation of everything that is bad in our society and community, wouldn't it be good for people to see something positive happening at their local pharmacy?"and several 'listers replied with similar concerns about negative press the industry has received of late.

The Guild appreciates how frustrating negative media can be, especially when it is sensationalist reporting and consequently damaging to the industry's reputation.    More... premium

On empathy (or: the importance of seeming Ernest) :: Bruce Moffat : 13/2/2007 : In today's debut article from NSW community pharmacist Bruce Moffat, he takes a look at empathy and canvases some skills pharmacists might usefully have.

"Every time we dispense a drug, we have an opportunity to maximise the quality of the care we give. It only takes a few moments with a patient to reduce medication errors, reduce wastage of expensive drugs, identify adverse events, and increase the chance of a patient complying with, and understanding their medication regimen. But to do this we must go out and, quelle horreur, actually talk to them."   More... premium

The ancient art of perfumery :: Eta Chow : 8/2/2007 : After the recent AusPharmList discussion on perfumes 2 AusPharmers have sent along features for your entertainment. The first of these, from Eta Chow, is in your (e)news today.

"I'm glad there are still some of us out there who have an interest in this ancient art despite the loss of pharmacy market share.

There is still quite a collection of classic fragrances available out there and my interest in this art lies mainly here. Classic fragrances are not "old people's perfumes" as the names night suggest, but works of art, some taking many years to develop just to create a single masterpiece."
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Ibuprofen, all the other NSAIDs and safety: we've fed the chooks, looked for the smoking gun, now what? :: Ron Batagol : 6/2/2007 : Ron's back, with his first feature of 2007, with an update on ibuprofen scheduling.

"On AusPharmList recently I reported that I had written to the Federal Health Minister expressing my concerns over the fact that ibuprofen is still available for purchase in supermarkets without the availability of professional advice and counselling for the consumer. I have recently been advised that the TGA is in the process of undertaking an extensive review of the safety of NSAIDs, which is to be concluded early this year."    More... premium

So you want to buy a Pharmacy! :: Mark Nicholson : 1/2/2007 : In today's feature managing partner of JR's Pharmacy Services, Mark Nicholson, writes:

"Young pharmacists often ask me what they need to do to buy a pharmacy. One answer is to gather a deposit and get in line. The question then becomes which line to get in - brokers, wholesalers, succession plan or simply cold calling are all avenues which could lead to an opportunity. Unfortunately though, being in line doesn't necessarily lead anywhere. Each line has more potential purchasers than the number of pharmacies on offer. What's more, they are filled with queue jumpers who get preference for a myriad of reasons."    More... premium

A tale of 2 infections :: Stuart Baker : 24/1/2007 : In todays' AusPharm feature Stuart Baker asks whether we really have moved on with the rational use of antibiotics in the last 10 years.

"Two encounters with antibiotics on the last day we were open before Christmas troubled me. The first incident was an ex-employee asking about her 3-year-old son who'd crashed his scooter, mangled his front teeth and split his lip."    More... premium

A coffee aficionado tells :: Peter Allen : 16/1/2007 : In today's AusPharm feature, coffee snob Peter Allen tells it like it is...

"In making coffee, *everything* matters, and it's a pharmacist thing to look for the variables that matter most and nail them. Making coffee 'God-shots' is one of the three things I do best. I challenge visiting drug reps, I kid them, "would you like an Eltham coffee -- with a shot of Methadone?" Then "isn't this the best, most satisfying coffee you ever had?" and they invariably say yes. And they always come back at morning tea time. OK, coffee-time. "    More... premium

Heard it on the Helpline: Sometimes you only have to say, 'I'm sorry' - the power of the apology. :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 21/12/2006 : It's almost Christmas! That jolly time of year when we're all ho-ho-ho-ing and tra-la-la-la-la-ing. But for many pharmacists, Christmas brings frantic trading, end-of-year deadlines, pensioners who still don't realise that stockpiling medicines on the safety net is illegal, and an assortment of Christmas crises at home. It's a time when there are stressors to burn. Consequently, the chance of committing an error in your daily work is at a peak.    More... premium

Did you remember to wind your pre-registrant forward? :: Wendy Morton : 19/12/2006 :

Only a month or so back it was that time of year again, when we in the Eastern States were forced in to saving an hour of our daylight each morning for allegedly more productive use after supper. It was also pitched to us as the perfect time of year to check the batteries in our smoke alarms to ensure we don't get burnt to a crisp while we are sleeping. For pharmacy owners and managers there was another important step to take to ensure you were not sleeping on the job while one of your most valuable staff members got burnt-out - that was also the time to "Promote your Pre-Reg".   More... premium

'Expert' pharmacists :: Karalyn Huxhagen : 14/12/2006 : In today's feature Karalyn Huxhagen writes about the emergence of 'specialist' or 'expert' pharmacists.

"Any of you who regularly scan Australian Doctor and similar magazines will be familiar with the discussion amongst GPs about being either a generalist practitioner or a specialist in a particular field. These same debates are gaining impetus within the practice of pharmacy since the introduction of the medication review program."    More... premium

And now for something completely different :: Irwin Lowe : 12/12/2006 : In today's feature Irwin has a bit to say about privacy, after a visit from the Board......

".....the entire [privacy] issue has become a 600-lb gorilla causing angst amongst professionals, and paranoia amongst the general public - I was told in no uncertain terms that the Board's current high priority is patient privacy. A customer, for example, recently yelled that I'd breached his privacy when I looked up his phone number from the White Pages and called him, so I made his brain implode by showing him a picture of his house on Google Earth."    More... premium

Choice vs Pharmacy: In defence of pharmacy :: Valentino Cosic : 7/12/2006 : In today's (very long but worthwhile ) article from Valentino Cosic, he vigourously defends pharmacy against the attack by Choice.

"In a post to AusPharmList late last week Ken Harvey wrote: "I was disappointed with the report of the Choice survey as, "another attack on community pharmacy" and "Choice survey methodology flawed"."

I'll address both of these points, as I totally agree that it's both an attack on our profession, with flawed methodology used, as well as flawed logic used to justify Choice's viewpoint."    More... premium

A Girl In Pharmacy :: Veronica Nou : 5/12/2006 : "Ah, customers....
While we stand there analysing them, sometimes we forget they do stand there analysing us. Customers do regard - and treat - pharmacists differently according to how they perceive them, and that's only natural - we all do this every day to everyone we meet."
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The excessive workload debate: for whom does the bell really toll? :: Ron Batagol : 30/11/2006 : Now that the sausages have finally gone cold, there's not even a decent fillet steak left in the place, and the "style police" have finished grilling me on an open BBQ for my sins of expression , it is perhaps timely for me to briefly pose a hypothetical to illustrate the dilemma that we all face in dealing with the critical issue of excessive dispensing workload. Picture, if you will.

The Coroner's Court is full to overflowing....   More... premium

The Fourth Agreement continues..... :: Mark Nicholson : 28/11/2006 : Mark is the managing partner of JR's Pharmacy Services. In today's AusPharm feature he gives his take on the recently announced PBS reforms.

"While the impact on profitability is unknown and subject to the mark-up / dispensing fee announcements, pharmacy income will likely achieve a neutral position in the short term thanks to the compensation negotiated. However, anyone purchasing a business during the next 5 years will need to be mindful of the eventual decrease in income because the pricing changes commencing in 2009 will lead to lower dispensing incomes."   More... premium

Heard it on the Helpline: Bisphosphonate associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) - what's a pharmacist supposed to say or do? :: Dr Geraldine Moses : 23/11/2006 :

Like the creepy shark lurking beneath the water in "Jaws" the movie (can you hear the music?), so too lurks the threat of osteonecrosis in the jaws of the people on bisphosphonates.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a serious, emerging complication associated with long-term use of bisphosphonates that wasn't detected in pre-marketing clinical trials. Given that this problem is irreversible, prevention is the key.    More... premium

Through my eyes :: Archana Haria : 21/11/2006 : Archana Haria is a 3rd year pharmacy student at Curtin University in WA.

"These are my thoughts on an ideal day trying to avoid the inevitable...studying for my exams! If I ever own a pharmacy I want to make it a different one.

Having worked in a pharmacy as a student and had numerous discussions with my peers and their work environment I am frustrated by the lack of patient counselling."    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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