s It does not have to be like this | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 29/04/2010         Volume. 2 No. 4   
Information to Pharmacists

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Feature Contribution

Introducing Jeanette Sell - The Colac Community Leader who took on a Pharmacy Monopoly

Peter Sayers

In the April edition of i2P, a story involving the ministerial removal of pharmacy location rules was published.
It involved a disparate group of Colac residents coming together to fight the location rules and to establish a third independent pharmacy.
The story was important for a number of important reasons:
(i) The Colac residents did not want a "chain-type" pharmacy.
(ii) They wanted true competition between local pharmacies to avoid a perceived monopoly.
(iii) They wanted good old-fashioned pharmacy personalised service in an appropriate time frame.

As pharmacists we often bemoan the spectre of "Colesworth" providing pharmacy services and the potential for them to strip personalised service out of the independent pharmacy environment.
Yet the existing Colac pharmacies (having the same owner) did exactly that.
The question I pose is if this is the direction of pharmacy (as formulated by the PGA supply side pharmacy and warehouse-type pharmacies) the Colac community have clearly demonstrated that those models are not the preferred version.
i2P asked Jeanette Sell to tell her story in her own words.

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My two bob’s worth on COAG’s Health Funding ‘Reform’ (sic)

Pat Gallagher

Health Reform? Is that what we have been given by COAG: I don’t think so at all. It is wrong from the get go. In that 60% will come from here; 30% will be taken away from there; 40% will be paid by them and we will layer some more highly experienced and very necessary bureaucrats on the top to make sure no one ever knows what is actually going on.
Same old, same old, just tarted up differently so the punters think something is happening.
Health Reform it aren’t. Pretending to reform hospital funding it is.
Not a word about technology, e-health, savings, over-staffing of suits in place of white coats and blue blouses, blame shifting, waste, incompetence and all the other ills that riddle the hospital operational (non-clinical related) networks.

And there are enough ills for a zillion hypochondriacs to wallow in. Just this past week I had occasion to sample it first hand with a relative that needed emergency attention. The ambulance picked her up at 6:55 pm, after just a ten minute wait. We arrived at the hospital about the same time as the ambulance at 7:15 pm.
So far so good.

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A once in every five years opportunity that must be taken.

Neil Retallick

On July 1 2006, the Federal Government reduced the pharmacy wholesaling margin from 10% to 7%. This action was an outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the Pharmacy Guild as these two parties hammered out the 5 year deal that was the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (4CPA).
To put this change into today’s context, Sigma’s wholesaling business turned over around $2.4 billion in the last twelve months.
If 70% of this turnover is generated by dispensary medicines, and if 65% of these are PBS items, then the 4CPA pulled about $33 million in revenues off Sigma’s top line in today’s dollars.

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The Light and Dark side of some Pharmacies

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

Living in outback Queensland, especially during the long periods of drought, the elderly grazier has struggled from day-to-day to keep his cattle property going.
He had only been 12 years old when his father died, but with the Second World War still raging, and with no men available, the local police officer had issued him with a drivers licence and told him to go home to help his mother run the property.
That had been the end of his schooling and to this day, he can still barely read and write.

Comments: 1

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Pharmacist Support Service now Extended to Tasmania

Staff Writer

Tasmanian pharmacists now have access to the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS), developed by the Victorian PSA.
It can be contacted by phone on the toll free number: 1300 244 910.

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Expensive drugs cost Australia billions

Staff Writer

Consumers and the Australian Government are paying up to 10 times more for generic cholesterol-lowering drugs compared to the United Kingdom, according to research carried out by health economists at the University of Sydney.

A recent study published by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) found Australia could have saved approximately $900 million on statin treatments (drugs used to lower cholesterol) over the past four years and could save up to an additional $3.2 billion over the next 10 years.

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Doors open on Australia's first zero-emission home

Staff Writer

Pharmacy designers in Australia have yet to come up with a zero emission pharmacy building, but they will have a model t draw from in the form of an AusZEH private home, designed and built by CSIRO.
Designed to fit the Australian climate – and the lifestyle of a typical middle-income family – Australia's first Zero Emission House (AusZEH) has been officially opened  in Melbourne.
Working with industry partners Delfin-Lend Lease and the Henley Property Group, and supported by the AusZEH consortium, CSIRO designed and built the demonstration house 30 kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD, in the community of Laurimar in Doreen, Victoria.
The eight-star energy-efficiency rated AusZEH showcases off-the-shelf building and renewable energy-generation technologies, and new future-ready energy management systems.
Nearly 13 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to home energy use.

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Pain Management and Analgesic Sales

Neil Johnston

With the changes occurring restricting the sale of analgesic products within pharmacies, there has not been a great deal of discussion as to how best to handle these changes.
It has been said that the new processes impact severely on the pharmacist’s workflow.

The analgesic market is a very large one within pharmacy and the ability to lose a major income stream is very real.
The following is a press release from the PSA and we have asked Mark Coleman to comment on the various issues:

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It does not have to be like this

Rollo Manning

articles by this author...

Rollo Manning has experienced pharmacy practice from all sectors of the industry – retail, administrative, policy and remote Aboriginal practice. He spent 10 years with Glaxo Australia and was the first Director of Public Relations at the Pharmacy Guild National Secretariat in Canberra.
He has also held the position of Pharmacy Policy Officer for Territory Health Services in Darwin.
Rollo is currently a Consultant working in his own practice with remote Aboriginal communities, in Northern Australia.


By Rollo Manning PhC MPRIA Grad.DipPR
Consultant to Aboriginal communities and organisations in economic and social development and health service delivery.

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It does not have to be like this!!


The above is a picture of a store at a remote community in the Northern Territory. A colleague working in the community described it thus:

“The store is …allegedly filthy and often sells allegedly adulterated or "Off" food as well as selling coddled eggs which is a health risk, and I think illegal under food laws in the NT, at least it is in NSW. This is supposed to be an "Outback Store" but it is allegedly directly responsible for a high percentage of the ill health in Ngukurr. The pricing regime is grotesque to say the least. One wonders what the visiting Environmental Health Officer has done to correct these anomalies, if the store were in Darwin it would be promptly shut down, especially as it serves cooked food (Take away) from the same disgustingly filthy building. It fails on all parameters of acceptable hygiene and the pricing regime is a rip off that has no regard for Aboriginal health and is, I allege, a gross insult to Aboriginal people. The only saving graces are that it employs at least 5 Aboriginal staff and charges around $20 for a packet of cigarettes.”


Why is it that we allow this situation to exist in a developed wealthy Nation?

Why do we think that 117 houses are enough for 950 people (average 8 persons per house)?

Aren’t we aware that the social determinants of health need to be addressed before we spend dollars in getting people healthy and sending them back to live in the same situation that made them unhealthy in the first place?

As for stores – such a description as the above makes one realise that despite a Federal Government intervention and millions of dollars spent on new programs peddled by thousands of bureaucrats ferried around the country on charted aircraft the position is still lethal. Lethal to the extent that the median age at death of men is 43 years and women 53 years. This is not just a statistic but an indication that there are hundreds of children growing up without parents and any firm guidance into a future of hope.

Would we put up with just one store to retail all the needs of 950 people without competition or quality standards maintained?

Until Australia wakes up and acknowledges that it has a Third World element in its population and must be treated in a policy sense in the same way as we do for the developing countries of the World - nothing will change.

Remote Aboriginal Australia needs a branch of AusAid to look after it and likely to be a darned side better job that FaCSIA, DEEWR or DoHA. Such mainstream bureaucracies have failed these people and until it is attended by a department that understands the principles of community development, self determination and enterprise facilitation nothing will change.

The writer made a plea to the NT Government to consider locating a Good Health Store and Pharmacy in the Growth Towns, of which the above community is one, some 15 months ago and to date nothing has happened.

The situation is dire; it is urgent; and cannot wait while bureaucrats shuffle policies and accompanying papers around gathering new facts (that are really the same as the old) and allow another generation of Aboriginal Australians be brought up in a state of poverty from welfare dependency.


Questions or comments to the author at rollom@iinet.net.au

PO Box 98 Parap NT 0804 or 0411 049 872

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Submitted by Chris Skinner on Mon, 03/05/2010 - 14:05.

This store, I am pleased to report, is to be replaced with a brand new building by December this year. Whether the prices will drop is another matter - but at least it will be an improvement.

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