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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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(Acting) National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia responds to Janet Albrechtsen :: Harry Zafer : 2/9/2004 : Janet Albrechtsen’s rant against community pharmacists has the all-too familiar ring of the uninformed about it. Ms Albrechtsen, like many of her colleagues, espouses a mantra of competition as a desirable end in itself for its own sake. There is no doubt that deregulation has its place – that is, when a rigorous test of public benefit has been applied and found to be advantageous. To deregulate simply for the sake of deregulation is not only senseless, it can work against the public benefit.   More... premium

Are there too many straws breaking the CMI camel's back? :: Ron Batagol : 1/9/2004 : Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister, is credited with the line that " A camel is a horse designed by a Committee"! Well, if Sir Robert were alive today, and saw how the concept of providing consumer health information has spawned the pedantic, obtuse, overly-redundant verbiage that passes as consumer medical information in our CMI's, he would surely see this as a classic example of this concept!.    More... premium

Shortage of health professionals :: Kieren Po : 26/8/2004 : The erosion of public healthcare and education by the incumbent right-wing conservative government has directly resulted in the current shortage of health professionals including pharmacists. It concerns me that the shortage of pharmacists, rather than being met by more undergraduate HECS places (there are actually fewer places now), is being met with full-fee postgraduate places - a user-pays system necessary for the financial viability of the universities around the country, and aligned with the ideology of the Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson.   More... premium

Response to Jane Albrechtsen, Who's afraid of Big Pharma?,The Australian 18/8/2004 :: Ken Harvey : 19/8/2004 : Jane Albrechtsen (The Australian 18/08) said rather than screwing the pharmaceutical industry, we should be nurturing it because modern medicines have led a revolution in improving the health of millions. As an example, she said a dose of the flu now means a dose of antibiotics and a few days in bed rather than an influenzae epidemic that kills millions.   More... premium

Drug Safety Monitoring - Going for Gold, or settling for Cheap & Second Best :: Ron Batagol : 13/8/2004 : An issue that has been of concern to me of late, and one which should be of concern to all pharmacists, and indeed all health professionals, is the trend in recent times for the regulatory areas of Governments to reduce the resources and expertise devoted to monitoring some important areas of drug safety.   More... premium

What does the FTA issue tell us about Australia's role in international pricing of prescription medicines? :: Mike Hobbs : 10/8/2004 : What does the FTA issue tell us about Australia's role in international pricing of prescription medicines? Issues surrounding that FTA have highlighted the importance of the PBS to voters. This debate also reminds us that although Australia represents only 1% of the world market for pharmaceutical products, its influence is infinitely greater than its absolute value in percentage or dollar market share.   More... premium

Irwin Lowe, I assume :: Irwin Lowe : 10/8/2004 : I’ve always found it astonishing the assumptions people make in daily life. Having just finished reading Richard Dawkins’ “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder†(1998), I find I am less perplexed, albeit slightly.   More... premium

Doctor / Pharmacist Turf War? :: Kos Sclavos : 1/8/2004 : There is no doubt that there is increased friction between the peak medical and pharmacy bodies. Some media would have you believe that Guild officials sit around the table working out what pharmacists can “take off†the medical profession. This insinuation is both fanciful and mischievous.   More... premium

The Cost of Ownership :: Kieren Po : 31/7/2004 : At the moment the biggest barrier to pharmacy ownership, by newly registered young pharmacists, is the high cost of purchasing a pharmacy. Many undergraduates choose to study pharmacy in the hope that, one day, they can own their own pharmacy. Their optimism is often shattered when they hear and read about the cost of realising their dream of ownership.   More... premium

ATO HAS REWARD SCHEMES IN SIGHT! :: Mark Nicholson : 30/7/2004 : On 14 July 2004 the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued a Practice Statement confirming their view on the taxation of consumer loyalty programs. Since then it has received some media attention. Pharmacists should be aware that current reward schemes run in conjunction with wholesalers and credit card operators are affected by this Practice Statement. It should also be noted that the ATO's view is nothing new, merely a reinforcement of a pre-existing position.   More... premium

A lot of the hard stuff has been done for you :: Irwin Lowe : 30/7/2004 : A most fascinating Channel 4 series recently screened on free to air starring Gordon Ramsay (the chef of triple Michelin star fame). His brief was to visit a failing restaurant and 'turn it around' in a week.   More... premium

To reform or not to reform? :: Michael Scavone : 30/7/2004 : I believe the need for community pharmacy workplace reform is the most crucial issue facing pharmacy today, yet it may be very difficult to achieve.    More... premium

Pharmacists have a key role to play in combating the development of antibiotic resistance :: PSA National President Grant Kardachi : 24/3/24 : The health-consuming public has come to regard being handed a prescription for antibiotics as almost an essential outcome of any visit to their GP for cold or flu symptoms.

Doctors often feel pressured to prescribe antibiotics and this is not a situation unique to Australia, as has been highlighted in a survey of 1,000 UK GPs showing that 93% feel under pressure to prescribe antibiotics from demanding patients. According to the survey, 28% of GPs prescribe antibiotics “several times a week” even when they’re not sure they’re medically needed, while 70% said they prescribe them despite being unsure whether the infection is viral or bacterial and 24% highlighted a lack of easy-to-use diagnostic tools as fuelling the problem.   More... premium

Hidden Gems - Come Explore :: Wendy Morton : 7/12/15 : If there is one issue I had with the SHPA Medicines Management 15 Conference in Melbourne over weekend, it was the misleading theme, which would have been more accurately coined as "Everywhere Gems - Come Hear Them Crunch Underfoot As You Walk Between Sessions".

Did you ever as a child run your hand through a container of polished gemstones at a weekend market stall, feeling their cool smoothness slip past your fingertips, overwhelmed by the range of colours and shapes, and the task of choosing a favourite? Well that is precisely the experience this year's conference organisers managed to channel.   More... premium

More debate needed on remuneration models :: Joe Demarte : 20/10/15 : I have said previously on many occasions that the role of PSA as the peak professional pharmacy body and the voice of the profession is to ensure the profession remains relevant to modern society and that it continues to evolve in ways that produce improved health outcomes for patients and cost-effectiveness for the broader community.

Central to all of this is the question of how pharmacists will be remunerated in the future to deliver these initiatives because unless adequate remuneration models are found there is no prospect of the profession remaining relevant in any sense at all.   More... premium

Andrew Laming: Let's overhaul the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme :: : 10/1/6 :    More... premium

Upholding professional integrity :: Justin Lee : 26/3/3 : Extensive coverage of the recent Home Medicines Review (HMR) moratorium controversy failed to generate in-depth analysis of rogue pharmacists who were claimed to be responsible for ‘rorting the system’ and generating HMR reports in a manner akin to a ‘sausage factory’. Although this may be seen by some to be a scapegoat for deeper political manoeuvring by the originator of the HMR moratorium call, it is nevertheless a serious claim worth investigating.

Reports of some pharmacists behaving badly are not new. Indeed, some may consider this latest infringement as an extrapolation of the increasing pursuit of profit at any cost such as ethically-questionable discounting practices (e.g. the generic atorvastatin affair), aggressive on-selling (e.g. the ‘fries and coke’ scandal) and excessive workloads (e.g. churning out prescriptions at volumes greater than what is recommended in Pharmacy Board guidelines and with limited or no assistance and patient interaction).   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.

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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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