s Marketing Focus | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2009         Volume. 1 No. 2   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July edition of i2P, and of course, the first week of the new financial year.

Note that we are developing a new range of categories for you to follow e.g. health politics, hospital news, an expanded IT offer and we will be developing the category of anti-ageing medicine

Also, out of interest, could I refer you to the e-publications category located immediately below our columnists. If you click on the link contained there, you will find a range of e-publications that are recommended reading.

The first publication noted is the Pharmacist Activist written by Dr Daniel A. Hussar of the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is a pharmacy advocate.

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I’ve seen the future…….and I’m not happy, Jan!

Chris Wright

The ubiquitous Mrs Wright, in her quest to unearth a new erotic shopping experience, ushered this writer to a new Coles store located at the all very nice and leafy suburb of Ivanhoe in Melbourne recently.
This is contemporary retailing at its best, no doubt influenced by the gurus at Westfarmers and the rapidly changing retail climate in Australia, which of course involves the future of Pharmacy in some way….but more about Pharmacy later.

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Pharmacists losing their mojo

Neil Retallick

I read some market research recently that ought to concern community pharmacists across the country, as well as the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Groups of average Australians were brought together for a series of focus groups to discuss the community pharmacy landscape as they see it.
Some of the feedback was disconcerting.

Comments: 3

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Has the horse bolted?

Ken Stafford

Some twenty years ago uneasy tremors were running through hospital pharmacy here in Perth. Hospital management had suggested to one of my fellow Chief Pharmacists that the hospital needed a total parenteral and intravenous additive service (IVAS) .
When it was pointed out that this would be very labour intensive and the pharmacy did not have sufficient staff to provide it, the comment was that “nurses would be happy to run such a service”.

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Independent Pharmacist Practitioners

James Ellerson

In the region where I practice, GP’s are reluctant to comply with a patient request for a Home Medication Review.
The stock standard phrase is “I can do that for you” and so in frustration a patient will turn to me, in a professional, or quite commonly in a social setting, and asks if it is possible for me to perform a review without the doctor’s involvement.

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Disgraceful – discuss

Pat Gallagher

Disgraceful – discuss
The newspapers have been chock-a-block the past few days with dire tales but true about the black hole we are about to enter with the insane policy to re-regulate the ‘workplace’ to suit the union paymaster cliques.
While I never voted for Keating I did admire him a little bit this morning when I read a quote of his from the bad old days.
He said to some union goose: “you are carrying the jobs of (100,000) dead men around your shoulders”.
Giving a dead hand to this union unfettered power play will ensure that the nation will soon look like NSW; where the government is actually the plaything of a few loosely combined public ‘service’ union mugs.
Depending on how large your pharmacy is, in terms of overall staffing, you will soon be touched by the coming dead hand of the new/old order.

Comments: 3

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UK Dispensing Errors Under Review

Staff Writer

The recent furore in the UK over pharmacist Elizabeth Lee receiving a conviction for a criminal offence and subsequently a suspended jail sentence, has really lit a fire under the imbalances that exist when a pharmacy dispensing error is made.
The dispensing pharmacist or the supervising pharmacist under current UK legislation, has been made to bear the brunt of legal responsibility, with pharmacy owners escaping with little pain.
According to an article in PJ Online "In many cases, all that the employer needs to establish is that he had standard operating procedures in place and that the employee or locum had simply not complied with them. In these cases, the employer can walk away leaving the employee or locum to face the, often damaging, consequences".
There is now a rush in the UK to have current legislation amended to reflect a more proportionate responsibility for all parties involved.

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A New Ministery - Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health

Staff Writer

The appointment for the first time of a Minister for Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Service Delivery is an important strategic recognition of the special needs and circumstances facing people in Australia's rural and remote communities.
People in the bush will expect this position to be part of a permanent increase in the Government's commitment to rural communities.
In welcoming Minister Warren Snowdon to the new position, Dr Jenny May, Chairperson of the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA), said the appointment will be important both for substantive policy reasons and to boost the place of rural issues on the political agenda.

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NZ fish killed by water quality

Staff Writer

The following news item was recently published in Science Alert. It would seem that the pristine environment of New Zealand is under attack. The reasons are similar to those findings in Australia surrounding the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

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New theory for global diabetes epidemic

Staff Writer

A new "fertility first" hypothesis published this week by a group of international experts in the American Journal of Human Biology, proposes that the global epidemic of Type 2 diabetes has its origins in the struggle, over millennia, to sustain human fertility in environments defined by famine.
A surprising and important implication for us in the modern world is that this hypothesis gives cause for optimism that the modern epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease will diminish.
Source: Sydney University

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Immune system key discovered

Staff Writer

A team of Monash University researchers has discovered the importance of a protein, which could improve the way the drug interferon is used to strengthen the human immune system.
Published online in the prestigious journal Immunity, the findings show that the protein promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) is a key player in the body's immune response to disease, increasing our understanding of the function of the immune system.(Source: Science Alert )

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Political suspicions raised as China cracks down on bogus online health info

Staff Writer

China is notable for its authoritarian approach to the Internet and other forms of media communications.
Restrictions on Internet activity may have some long-term implications for Australia, particularly as these restrictions are intruding into the health arena.
Source: Tech.Blorge

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Senior Pharmacists - A Valuable Resource

Staff Writer

Little thought seems to have occurred in maintaining and supporting mature aged pharmacists in the workplace.
Given that this group of pharmacists is the one with the "corporate memory" of the profession, with many having started life as compounding pharmacists and counter-prescribers, there is a wealth of untapped intellectual resource that could be internally utilised in mentoring or even training pharmacists in how to sell a professional service.
This group of pharmacists is concerned with the development of retail clinics proposing to do almost exactly what they were successfully doing 30-40 years ago.
What went wrong?

Well, there is plenty of evidence to illustrate that the process of commoditising medicines is the primary reason for this loss, because if you strip everything out of a process to sell at the cheapest possible price, you get a barren professional offering
Source: Science Alert

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Terry White Makes a Move

Staff Writer


It is clear that the Terry White pharmacy group is on the move with the recent purchase of Pharmacy Direct and a restructure of its own management. Terry has had a distinguished pharmacy career and his stewardship will see possibly the strongest pharmacy group in Australia emerge He is opening up the opportunity for equity for senior members of his management team.
The following excerpt extracted from pharmacy media reports explains the process.

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Marketing Focus

Barry Urquhart

articles by this author...

Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, Perth. Barry is an internationally recognised conference keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic planning workshops and marketing business coach.
Contact Barry: TEL:61 8 9257 1777 - EMAIL: urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au -
WEB: www.marketingfocus.net.au

Look for, understand and respect the transformation ……….

Up to this time the unemployment statistics have been a consequence and a measure of the global financial crisis.
Things are about to change.
In the immediate future, probably within the next three months in Australia, the nature and significance of unemployment will become a cause of the deepening decline in many national economies and in the international economy.
Losses of income, buying power and the ability to settle debts will have an immediate and increasingly devastating impact on the unemployed. The number of personal bankruptcies will increase significantly. As a consequence there will be a rippling, cascading effect on government and business revenues, margins and profits.
Overall, confidence will be further adversely affected. So too will the willingness to expend, invest and employ.
Regrettably, the ability and drive for the few who will seize upon “bargain” buying and investment opportunities will not result in widespread or sustainable overall recruitment and new employment.
Do not ignore the unemployment statistics. Monitor them closely, for they will provide insight on when the nadir of the economic downturn is reached . However, they will not be a good and timely leading indicator for any economic upturn. To sustain a national economic uplift, capital investment by governments and private entities is a prerequisite. That is the set of statistics which need to be monitored most closely in the immediate future.

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Upon reflection and after careful, extended analysis it has become apparent that many entities, in both the private and public sectors are not set up for ongoing success.


Indeed, the prevailing structures, systems and cultures may be and probably are contributing to suboptimal performances and sluggish responses – to dynamic changes to the contemporary marketplace.


Recent and evolving structural changes in the world order, because of the global financial crisis, have not been met with, addressed or redressed by conspicuous, broad and dynamic changes in the manner in which business is done.


Ubiquitous cuts in staff numbers, inventory levels, product/service ranges, travel expenses and marketing expenditures do not necessarily establish a new framework for growth and success.


During a recent and extended broad ranging discussion with long-time associate Paul Mitchell of The Human Enterprise in Sydney, he made the statement that entities needed to be “set up for success”. His assessment was that many were not.


The phrase and the underlying strategic significance resonated with me, based on recent experiences in working with big and small businesses in the formulation, documentation and implementation of strategic plans.


Paul is a widely recognised and respected consultant and counsellor on Leadership Transformation. I have long valued his insights, experience and expertise.


We concluded the dinner, the meeting and the discussion with the mutual resolve to awaken in clients and business people at large the need for a total, close and disciplined review of leadership styles, strategies and systems to ensure that the entities are…………….


If Paul of myself are able to assist you in your endeavours, please do not hesitate to make contact.

Email: soul@thehumanenterprise.com.au


Business owners and managers who have ensured that a business plan has been “reduced to writing” (a favourite legal term that I often utilise ) are to be applauded.
Too often, careful study and review of business plans reveal many stark deficiencies, not least of which include absences of situation analysis and logical, integrated and sustainable strategies.
In short, a significant percentage of “business plans” are in reality little more than wish lists, action plans and schedules of aspirations which lack structure, infrastructure, understanding and a capacity to respond to external forces. The latter include economic and financial volatility, changes in government policies, emphases and priorities and the threat of direct, indirect and imposing retaliatory actions by competitors, substitutes and, yes, ”pretenders to the Throne”. Everyone and everything today seems to represent possible threats which could result in leakages in sales, revenue, margins and profits.

Strategies and strategic plans can not and should not be formulated, documented and implemented in isolation or in a vacuum. It is imperative that consideration be given to probable responses from all external entities, including the increasingly ubiquitous regulatory authorities, which tend to narrow options and opportunities.


One characteristic common to many companies at present is the inaccessibility of executives because “they are in planning meetings”.

Interactive, focussed and strategic planning is laudable. Among the qualifications to such sentiment is the need for resultant documents to be concise and transparent, with specific accountabilities to be assigned to nominated people within specific time horizons.

In periods of economic downturns some comfort can be derived from involvement in group sessions, be they for planning, teambuilding, restructure, performance review and overall bonding. It is imperative that the process(of planning) not overwhelm the outcomes and the needs for productivity, sales and profits.

Business plans of 100 pages or more are seldom read, comprehended, recalled or implemented. Take pause.

We can all learn from the lyrics of the late Beatle, John Lennon, who wrote:

“Life is what happens to you -

While you are busy making other plans”

John Lennon

The key message : -

Think It -

Say It -

Write It -

Do It -


The global financial crisis is a common stage setting for a full spectrum of businesses and sectors.

One redeeming feature is that it has sharpened the focus of many business owners and leaders. “Things aren’t being allowed to just happen”. Assertive action is being taken to assure control and directly influence outcomes.

During May, Marketing Focus was retained to facilitate interactive business development workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on the following topical issues:-

CARBON TRADING Capitalising on and being advantaged by carbon trading legislation.

SPHERES OF INFLUENCE Optimistic revenue streams from internal company spheres of influence.

MERGING CULTURES Effecting better integration between merging company cultures.

NON PRICE DEMAND Generating, qualifying and developing demand for real estate purchases – countering any push for lower prices.

NEW INCOME STREAMS Recognising, enhancing and capitalising on complementary income streams.

The energy and power unleashed in such sessions are palpable.
The outcomes are bankable.

In stark contrast is the training schedule being conducted by an Australian national real estate franchise network. It is training real estate agency sales representatives on how to have vendor clients accept lower prices for their properties. This is a strategy which competitors will find easy to counter and to capitalise on in the pursuit of good listings and prompt sales.



Self promotion has, or should always be, on the business agenda.

However, many such endeavours flounder because of a lack of planning, poor execution and spasmodic follow-up and reinforcement.

The following article outlines some fundamental steps and many challenges. Enjoy, learn and profit.



Today, self promotion is an imperative.

Humility and understatement can be commendable but costly virtues in the current marketplace. The Pareto Principle, in which 80% of business is supposedly generated by repeat customers, referrals and recommendations is like the Italian economist himself, Pareto … ….long since buried.

At present low response rates to market, sales and relationship initiatives are being rationalised as consequences of existing and prospective clients being distracted by the fallout from the Global Financial Crisis. Wrong!

It is indeed the marketing, sales and relationship initiatives which are being dismissed or ignored as distractions from the primary focus as stretched and often stressed business owners and leaders address the priorities of the day. Many are up to their elbows in alligators.

Relationships are valued and protected. Tenuous holds on income streams are quarantined, with recommendations and referrals minimised. A loss of sales potential, a relationship or friend for any reason is too much to contemplate, let alone bear.

So, any and all emphases on self promotion need to be defined, confined and refined, to ensure that there is relevance, benefit and advantage to target audiences of such endeavours. Big noters and ” blow-hards” are presently and will in the future falter on the alter of growth opportunities.

It is said, and widely accepted, that man cannot survive on bread alone. So too companies with public relations campaigns. The measure of success in the prevailing economy and marketplace is not quantified in the column centre-metres of “free ink” in trade, business and commerce publications and websites.

“A picture is worth a 1,000 words” is a well travelled truism. However, this misquote of Confusius is incomplete. The missing phrase is “……..but a picture doesn’t tell the full story.”

The business life experiences of former elite sports people are similar. Past glories, victories and fame do open doors, but they seldom close deals.
Well crafted editorials are much the same. Editors and readers alike dismiss, scorn at and laugh down hackneyed phrases like “the nation’s biggest”, “the world’s best” “the market’s number one”. Figuratively and literally such contentions are “unbelievable”. So, dispel such contentions if credibility is important to you, your image and message.


Missives from professional public relations consultants are often transparently, self serving (to the interest of clients ) . In isolation most achieve little.
Complementary strategies, tactics and communications including advertising, displays product /service sampling, networking and one-on-one communication are typically required to “close the loop”.

Having stimulated interest, established a presence and developed awareness, recognition and preference for a brand, it is logical that reinforcement of such via medium of promotional products is implemented.

In a sea of sameness an ongoing presence of a company logo and brand name does establish a subliminal foundation on which to progress the sales and marketing processes.


In pursuit of effective self promotion certain essentials need to be respected and utilised.

As a starting point one needs to review The Three Rs ……

Written text instils a measure, a focus and discipline. Review of words used and sentiments expressed is typically instinctive.

Written text differs appreciably from the structure of the spoken word. It tends to be more concise, comprehension is higher and the orientation to the intent of the communication is noticeable.

In short, a well structured text reflects and projects a well considered case.

All self promotion material must necessarily focus on the recipients and highlight the advantages, benefits and confidence which will be or are also to be accorded them.

The underlying concept of “self promotion” is mirror-like in its character. Whilst the goal may be to promote the sender of the material, it will only ever be effective if the benefits flow to the recipient.

So in “self promotion” don’t be selfish.

Too often, self promotion initiatives are spasmodic, isolated and fractured.
Consistency and continuity are virtues.
Therefore, all relevant communication channels need to be deployed, including trade magazines and promotional products.
Images, perceptions, logos, packaging and product/service presentations need to be reinforced, consistently. Self promotion is part of the branding process and the disciplines need to be respected and deployed.

Professional service consultants consistently allocate up to 40% of their own time and resources on the promotion of their business, which typically centres on them (read: self).
That’s the reality. Now, all that one need do is to develop the ability and discipline to differentiate the person from the product (which may still be the person). For example, entertainers often talk about themselves in the third person. Tom Hanks will refer to “Tom Hanks” or “he” in interviews.
Little wonder this great self promoter can command fees of up to $70 (US) million for a single movie role. He has truly overcome his own …

“Angels and Demons”


Barry Urquhart is renowned internationally for his strikingly accurate forecast of the finish of the economic boom in 2008.
His well documented projection from early in 2006 of a specific date made media headlines around the world and enabled clients to plan for the event …
10.35pm (Western Standard Time), Sunday 24 August, 2008. It was the closing moments of the Beijing Olympics.
Barry’s subsequent warnings of the credit meltdown, increasing unemployment levels and branch, plant, model and services closures have enabled companies, large and small, to gain and sustain competitive advantages.

Tel: (08) 9257 1777
Email: urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
Web: www.marketingfocus.net.au

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