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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 Hard Sell :: Irwin Lowe : 18/8/2005 : Irwin became "the evil chemist" when the holy anti-trinity (Newslimited, Woolworths and Choice - the father, son and holy goat) launched an all out assault on the profession (a good and decent profession) in general and Irwin in specific.

In his latest missive, Irwin writes about the "hard sell":

I would not (as Tom the Beechworth baker says) sell a medicinal product that I wouldn’t sell to my mother. My mother, on the other hand, seeks to buy all sorts of crap from not only me but anybody else who spins a convincing-enough story of the needs she didn’t know she had. I grew up in a house full of steam-mops, power-irons, waffle-sticks, microfibre dusters, self-sealing containers, foot massages, magnetic window cleaning products, ever-sharp knives, muscle-relaxing vibro-chairs, slicer dicers, prawn-peelers, and twist-of-the-wrist graters.

Weight loss products, therefore, really get up my nose.
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I never asked to play "pin the tail on the donkey"- I just wanted to put the label on the medicine container! :: Ron Batagol : 10/8/2005 : Ron Batagol is a pharmacist with over 40 years experience in all areas of pharmacy practice, from community pharmacy proprietor and manager, to all aspects of hospital pharmacy practice, including management, clinical pharmacy and drug information.

In his latest feature Ron discusses the issue of the labelling of dispensed medicines and, as he usually does, Ron proposes a solution......:

"On AusPharmList over the last few months, there have been a number of quite spirited discussions about the frustration that pharmacists face, in trying to perform one of their most basic functions, namely affixing the printed directions firmly to the surface of the medication container that has been produced, as a consequence of a medical consultation, presentation of a prescription, and subsequent professional review and written documentation of the prescriber's intentions by the pharmacist."   More... premium

Pharmacy Financial Structures – A Timely Review :: Mark Nicholson : 3/8/2005 : Mark Nicholson is the managing partner of JRs Pharmacy Services. In this feature Mark writes about the tax office's new thinking on financial service entities, often used by pharmacy owners as a means of splitting income:

"Over time, the ability for a professional to split income with other family members made the use of service entities very popular. It is for this reason that the ATO are interested in the use of these entities. The ATO consider that previously accepted commercial reasons for using a service entity (not least of which would be asset protection) are no longer sufficient."   More... premium

Compounding: Training and Accreditation for Specialisation :: Mark Feldschuh : 22/7/2005 : Compounding may be the type of pharmacist activity that requires special skills. In the past Compounding was pharmacy.    More... premium

The Upsell :: Irwin Lowe : 13/7/2005 : We are all familiar with the concept of up-selling: that most annoying aspect of the sales process that steps well over the line of purely adding value to a specific sale, and plainly into the realms of just irritating the consumer. True salesmanship is a totally subtle concept - its expert execution lost on many companies, most societies, and, unfortunately, most salespeople.   More... premium

Facing up to the risk versus benefit of NSAIDs - isn’t it time we stopped feeding the chooks! :: Ron Batagol : 4/7/2005 : When he was Premier of Queensland, The late Joh Bjelke-Peterson had a wonderful throwaway line, to refer to the way that he handled his media releases. That line was "feeding the chooks".    More... premium

We are our own worst enemy :: John Harvey : 29/6/2005 : “We are our own worst enemy” is one of the two most common expressions heard whenever a group of pharmacists gather. The current convergence of activities and events (the possibility of taking an API franchise, the end of a QCPP term, an offer on the pharmacy and the possibility of a new site if I move quickly), leads me to ask some of the more fundamental questions and review where both I and the profession are going.   More... premium

4th Agreement Negotiations Misinformation :: Kos Sclavos : 24/6/2005 : As of today, Thursday 23 June 2005, the current Community Pharmacy Agreement has six days to run. Arrangements have been put in place to extend the Agreement for another three months and the distance criteria, as part of the Agreement, has had its corresponding legislation extended by six months. In simple terms this means that all existing Third Agreement programs such as rural incentives and HMRs will be extended until 30 September 2005. There is however one major outstanding issue which is being used as a lever to pressure the Guild into signing an Agreement before 30 June 2005.    More... premium

Lessons from Mozilla and :: Kieren Po : 23/6/2005 : A recent post on Auspharmlist mentioned the Mozilla project and floated the idea of the profession raising money to produce a full-page advertisement in a major Australian newspaper. For those who don’t know, the Mozilla Foundation was formed after the “browser wars” of the late 1990s from the ashes of Netscape to preserve choice and innovation on the internet. Their free and open-source flagship product Mozilla Firefox is arguably the fastest, safest, most standards-compliant and feature-rich web browser available for most platforms, and far superior to the ubiquitous Microsoft Internet Explorer. There are some lessons we can learn from the Mozilla project and   More... premium

Reflections of a newbie :: Wendy Morton : 16/6/2005 : I must admit up front - after 5 years of study & cramming my life around lectures, deadlines and casual employment, I had totally forgotten how much time full-time work steals out of one’s week (& hence the reason I have been promising AusPharm another column “soon, very soon, any minute now...” since early March!). After five months of registration though, spent flying solo in community pharmacy, there are a few things I have to say have really blown me away...   More... premium

Drowning in knowledge. Starved for wisdom. :: Irwin Lowe : 8/6/2005 : There is a general lack of understanding between the concepts of ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ out there in the general public. Knowing about something does not imbue wisdom about that thing. Having access to vast quantities of knowledge – ridiculously simple in these Google-days – also does not impart wisdom; simply knowing something does not make that thing useful, pertinent or even right.   More... premium

The law may be an ass, but why are we are the donkeys carrying the can? :: Ron Batagol : 31/5/2005 : Now I know my timing is lousy! And I’ll probably be as popular as "Roger the supermarket cash cow codger" dropping into the local Pharmacy Guild meeting!

But the issue of the law requiring a pharmacist to be physically present in the pharmacy at all times, without any exception for emergencies, is one that I have thought about for a long time!    More... premium

Thoughts of a new generation (I may well take up Roger's offer) :: : 19/5/2005 : When I started my studies in pharmacy the course had just been increased to four years. But it seemed like a career with great potential. It suited both my thirst for facts and knowledge and my outgoing nature, with the added bonus of the opportunity to perhaps one day own and run my own business, control my financial destiny.    More... premium

Packing: why do we do it? :: Dimitra Tsucalas : 12/5/2005 : We, the pharmacists of Australia, have chosen to involve ourselves in the provision of a professional service: packing Dose Administration Aids (DAAs), blister packs (and more recently, sachets) and the associated responsibilities.

Why do we do it?    More... premium

Cassandra* :: Irwin Lowe : 4/5/2005 : Whilst walking down the aisle of Safeway last week, I was reminded of my past profession as a pharmacist. The trigger, unlocking the floodgates of memory was a dump-bin with PGD’s Lipitor on special for $59.95 with an extra discount for an ‘Over $30’ shopper-voucher. PGD, of course, was one of the survivors of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ merger of the late 2010s. You don’t have to google too far on in to find the rest.    More... premium

Objection to the sale of the post-coital pill: everyone's right, or just a misguided indulgence enjoyed by some? :: Ron Batagol : 26/4/2005 : There are many issues that are raised on AusPharmList which seem to ignite a spark of vigorous exchange and discussion, which gradually, over days or weeks of posts, builds up into an inferno of passionate and dogmatic advocacy by those ‘listers who are on opposing sides of a vigorous and spirited debate.

The discussion about pharmacists who refuse to supply the post-coital or Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) is one such issue.   More... premium

Being Liberal with the truth :: Kieren Po : 19/4/2005 : The recent diatribes directed against our profession have been quite an exercise in being liberal with the truth. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s also our government being Liberal with the truth…   More... premium

The Deprofessionalisation of the Pharmacist :: Adam Phillips : 12/4/2005 : A proud history of specialty in health care, exclusive skills and knowledge and a unique, well developed and far reaching practice setting; sounds like a profession to me. So why are so few practising pharmacists ‘professional’?   More... premium

Do you just want to be McEducated or would you rather super-size it and learn the facts? :: Ron Batagol : 4/4/2005 : I am always amused when I hear colleagues quoting "facts" given to them about a new drug product by the drug company rep. I'm never quite sure whether it is the contents of that free bottle of lovely red wine that the drug rep. left, that has mesmerized their grey matter, whether they have suddenly had a mental aberration, or whether they have simply forgotten all that they have learnt throughout their training and career about assessing and evaluating drug information. And, gosh, after all, it all seems so plausible.    More... premium

Where is the line? :: Dimitra Tsucalas : 23/3/2005 : Sometimes lines are clear and things are black and white. And sometimes there’s that blurriness. Pens, stick-it-notes, golf clubs, microwaves, movie tickets, tickets to the tennis, morning tea nibblies – you know, we’ve all seen it.

Where is the line?    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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