s Report Card on Australian Health | 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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Recent Comments

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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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Report Card on Australian Health

Staff Writer

articles by this author...

Editing and Researching news and stories about global and local Pharmacy Issues

Despite the negatives published about the health of Australians, we now find ourselves with an average life expectancy almost equal with Japan, the country benchmarked as the best performing country in health.
While lifespan has improved in Australia, life quality has not necessarily kept pace.
Australia looks set to break new ground in public health as an expert panel  deliver a report to the Rudd government.
Nicola Roxon has continually stated that she has a strong leaning towards prevention, so it will be interesting to see how this will develop the potential for improved quality of life for the future.

Source: thewest.com.au

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Experts to report on Aussie health

A panel of health experts is due to hand its blueprint on how to make Australians healthier to the Rudd government this week.


Compare us with the rest of the world and we are a healthy lot, living longer than any other nation except Japan.


Australians' life expectancy is 81.4 years, compared with 82.2 for the Japanese, according to the World Health Organisation.


Both nations have excelled in different areas of public health. Australia has slashed smoking rates, particularly for men, since the 1940s, but more needs to be done.


Japan has advanced an aggressive health promotion strategy in workplaces to tackle the alarming rate of metabolic syndrome - the combination of high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugars.


The nation's high life expectancy is often attributed to a diet that traditionally is low in fat and high in soy products.


But National Institute of Health and Nutrition doctor Naomi Aiba says the typical Japanese diet has grown more and more Westernised in the past 50 years.


People consume more pasta, bread and animal protein and less fruit, vegetables and tofu.


"Our diet has shifted from plant to animal food," she told AAP.


In 1975, people devoted one third of their meal expenditure to fresh foods but by 2006 that had plummeted to eight per cent.


Japanese people spend almost two thirds of their food budget on prepared foods and nearly 30 per cent on eating out.


Obesity is on the rise for men but not for women. Almost half of women in their 20s overestimate their weight and think they are obese.


"Women want to be thin, to be beautiful, men accept their body size," Dr Aiba said.


According to the health ministry, 27 million Japanese either have or are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which heightens risk of heart attack and diabetes.


In Australia, the National Preventative Health Taskforce has warned life expectancy for today's children will drop by two years if the country's obesity epidemic goes unchecked.


The number of fat adults jumped by a staggering 2.8 million between 1990 and 2005, according to the taskforce's interim report.


About 60 per cent of Australians aged 25 years and over are overweight or obese.


The diets of Australian teenagers are severely lacking in fruit and vegetables, with almost one-quarter of children overweight or obese - up an estimated five per cent from the 1960s.


The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's 2009 snapshot of the nation's children released this week shows just 60 per cent of children aged four to eight years old and around half of nine- to 13-year-olds eat enough fruit.


Just two per cent of nine- to 13-year-olds eat the recommended daily serve of vegetables.


The smoking rate in Japan is 39.5 per cent for men and 12.9 per cent for women.


The government half owns Japan Tobacco, one of the world's largest tobacco companies.


Last year, the government abandoned plans to increase tobacco taxes after a campaign by Japan Tobacco.


One in five Australians are smokers.


Kate Carnell, who is a member of the National Preventative Health Taskforce, says the group's final report will recommend raising tobacco excise.


"People who smoke probably more than anybody are going to be a greater risk to the health system than people who are obese," she told AAP.


Taskforce chair Rob Moodie said the group had received presentations from the Japanese on their initiatives to cut metabolic syndrome.


One of those initiatives, which began in 2008, is the compulsory fat check program for workers over 40.


Workers who don't measure up are put on special exercise programs.


Professor Moodie said the workplace was the "new frontier" for Australia in health promotion.


"But we would be unlikely to be as interventionist and proscriptive as the Japanese are," he said.


Prof Moodie said businesses and unions were becoming increasingly interested in health promotion initiatives, and singled out WorkHealth in Victoria as leading the way on the issue.


Under the WorkHealth program, employees undergo voluntary health checks, including having waist circumference and blood cholesterol, pressure and sugar measured.


The checks are free for businesses with an annual payroll of less than $10 million. For larger businesses, employers are required to contribute $30 per worker towards the costs of the checks.


The National Preventative Health Taskforce is due to hand its report to Health Minister Nicola Roxon's office next week.

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