..Information to Pharmacists

Your Monthly E-Magazine
MARCH, 2004


The Pharmaceuticals Summit
Last chance to book

Claiming the Weekend Back
Management Consultant Perspective

One of the major problems facing community pharmacies is the relentless ongoing increase in dispensing business.
A large prescription volume was once seen as the measure of success of a pharmacist.
It does not have the same lustre today.
However, it is core business, and it cannot be disregarded.
I recently had cause to visit four community pharmacy proprietors in a rural town.
Of the four, three were able to see me with varying degrees of difficulty, and the fourth was not available.
All of the pharmacists looked extremely worried and stressed, although the proprietor of the pharmacy with the smallest turnover began to relax (and actually smiled) after a few minutes.

A regular column reporting the news behind the news
With Rollo Manning


The Tail Wagging the Dog?
Consultant Pharmacist Perspective

Over the past few weeks I have been very interested to watch the furore that erupted with the "down scheduling" of ibuprofen and nicotine patches.
As I listened to and read the numerous stories of potential death and doom the thought took root that this appears to be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Does it Cost or Does it Pay?
From a Researcher Perspective

Editor's Note: Woolworths is pushing forward with its pharmacy concept, into rural areas.
A model is being established in a Woolworth's site on the far north coast of NSW.
It will not have a pharmacist, or scheduled drugs, but it will have the "look and feel" of a pharmacy (like a Priceline store in a Woolworths environment).
Like most pharmacists, I find the concept difficult to accept.
It struck me when I received this material from Con Berbatis, that the AIDS/HIV community would feel disadvantaged in such an environment.
This particular community is passionate about privacy and very sensitive as to how they receive their drugs, and health advice.
Out of my own experience I could not see this group of patients warming to a Woolworths pharmacy, and Con Berbatis asks this question in his article.
I make the point because the Northern Rivers Health Area, in which Ballina is situated, has the largest rural population of HIV/AIDS patients in NSW, possibly Australia (except for capital cities).
How then do the economic rationalists deciding competition policy in this country, evaluate fairly the economic savings made by pharmacy in the interventions with the AIDS/HIV community?
Surely the dollars saved in this process would more than offset some perceived discount that Woolworths may offer in the supply of drugs?
Well, corporates like Woolworths do not have a social conscience, and the shareholer's returns always rules at the end of the day.
Harm minimisation services would not give the desired return.
It is time a different form of accounting was introduced, so that like can be compared to like.
Con Berbatis is currently researching US and UK supermarket pharmacies to see exactly how many provide harm minimisation services, and to what depth.
His findings will be progressively published in i2P, and will provide economic arguments for governments, and others, to consider.

Did you Feel the Earth Move?
Change - Not Coming - It's Happening
From an IT Consultant Perspective

Attentive readers of this publication will know that I have tried over the past 15 months or so to only comment on matters primarily to do with the boring, the tedious and the obvious. The supply chain and the latter being the Internet and/or e-anything.
Barcodes, POS, unique product identifiers, data capture and reticulation, central product repositories (cataloguing), leadership (largely lack of) and so forth.

Recognition of Dispensary Technicians/Assistants
From a PSA Councilor Perspective

I have previously written on the need for pharmacists to reassess their staff dynamics. In the acute workforce shortages that we have at this present time there is a desperate need for owners and managers to ensure that they maximize the workload that certain pharmacy assistants and retail managers can undertake to help ease the burden that often falls to the pharmacist. In return for the effort and skills that these staff members contribute towards a successful business it is always rewarding to be able to offer staff recognition for their efforts.

Minnie Masters
A Student Perspective

On the 8th of this month there will be 263 new 1st year pharmacy students at Sydney University.
In two years 37 of these will graduate as Masters.
In 2006 there will be over a hundred extra pharmacist graduates from Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra and Griffin.
Are these graduates an inferior race, will they be friends or foes?

Coaching - The New Way to go
for Better Health Outcomes
Division of General Practice Perspective

Several new programs have been implemented in the Division this year so it is early days yet for evaluation although there is good evidence for better health outcomes for all the initiatives being implemented.
All the new programs hope to bridge the chasm that exists for many patients leaving hospital and taking up life again in their normal environment.

Natural products shown to be effective in preventing Alzheimer's disease
Complementary Healthcare Council Perspective

Marked by progressive mental deterioration, Alzheimer's disease causes loss of memory and cognitive function and a gradual inability to carry out daily activities.
Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the accumulation of abnormal protein pieces known as "beta-amyloid" fibrils which cause oxidative stress on cells- particularly neural cells. (1,6)
Alzheimer's disease accounts for up to 70% of dementia in Australia.
There is no cure.
At best, preventative measures are only recently being partially understood and complementary healthcare products (particularly antioxidants) is at the forefront of this understanding. (1)

Customer Service vs Price Difference
New Community Pharmacist Perspective

Recently a large warehouse style chemist has opened up in the area near my newly purchased pharmacy.
My first reaction to the competition was to expect a drop in business and a lowered customer base.
The grand opening was mentioned in all of the local newspapers, with big glossy catalogues outlining the cost of prescription and non prescription medications, and a truck with a large A-Frame advertising being driven around the town, frequently being parked in front of some of the larger pharmacies.

A Digital Imaging Boom
Digital Photography Perspective

It's almost a year since the Photographic Merchants Association (PMA) Pharmacy Group was formed, but due to various circumstances very little has happened.
However Pharmacy's interest in photography is increasing by leaps and bounds despite the falling sales of conventional "D & P"
A major reason is the growth of digital camera sales.
While many people are printing their own images at home, earlier predictions are becoming true and more and more are taking their memory cards to stores with digital minilabs and now to stand-alone and in-house kiosks - which offer fairly rapid service.
These kiosks are forecast as the biggest growth factor for photo and pharmacy stores to remain and to grow in photofinishing sales.
PMA have agreed to assist the group with a venue and the time to get together and discuss pharmacy's problems, ideas, promotions and growth in this regard.
This will be at the PMA Convention in Darling Harbour on Sunday 23rd May 2004 at 2 pm.
Chairman of the group, James Delahunty has produced the attached Newsletter with his thoughts on pharmacy and photography today.


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