Welcome to the August 2011 edition of i2P- Information to Pharmacists.
Direct distribution by pharmaceutical manufacturers is back in the news once more.
This disruptive attack on an efficient community pharmacy business model must be checked before it gets too far out of hand.
Neil Retallick discusses some of the issues as does Mark Coleman in the Pharmedia section of i2P.
Read and see what you can do to help.
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Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.
Pfizer is working hard to improve its direct supply model, but no matter how efficient it becomes, it will still wreak havoc in community pharmacies.
It is almost a case of the more effective Pfizer’s logistics become, the more damage their direct supply model will inflict on community pharmacies.
The issue here has never been whether or not Pfizer can supply the right drugs at the right time to the right place.
If they lack the will to make this happen, there is a multitude of logistics experts that can help them achieve efficient supply.
Recent relaxation of order cut-off times is an indicator that Pfizer wants their model to be accepted by pharmacists and is willing to make concessions to meet their needs.
New parents are congregating at alternative practitioner clinics for after-hours 'information' seminars, eager to learn anything they can do to improve their families health and wellbeing. Seniors and major illness patients are attending meetings to learn how to better manage their illnesses. But what advice are they being given and why is their local pharmacist not there to support them?
People want to feel they are in control of their health. When they are told about a lecture on lifestyle and health education, they will turn up in droves to listen to what their friendly neighbourhood natural therapist has to say.
First came the randomised controlled trial1,which linked calcium supplementation with vascular events, then there was a meta-analysis linking calcium with cardiovascular events2 and then a further confirmatory meta-analysis of calcium plus Vitamin D and using individual patient data.3
The conclusions were reasonably secure that calcium supplements are likely to increase the risk of a cardiovascular event. It is now advised that people obtain their calcium intake by dietary means – which is feasible even for those who do not consume a lot of dairy products. General practitioners have now stopped prescribing calcium, leaving me confused as to what arguments are being used by the community pharmacists who continue to sell the calcium supplements.
Through the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement hospital initiated HMRs will now be available for high-risk patients recently discharged from hospital. This is an important step in addressing the fact that patients recently discharged from hospital are at risk of medication misadventure. The question I would like to raise is who is best placed to undertake these HMRs. The traditional model of HMR referral has been through a General Practitioner (GP) to the consumer’s community pharmacy. Under this model the HMR may be undertaken by an accredited pharmacist directly involved with or employed by the community pharmacy or be outsourced to an independent accredited pharmacist. Under the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement this model has now been modified to enable direct referral from a GP to an accredited pharmacist and also direct referral from a hospital based medical practitioner for a newly discharged patient. The traditional model will continue in tandem with this new model.Comments: 2
We've reached a point in our country's history where authority and power seem to be manifested by the need to shout down the other person. Discussion and compromise are words freely bandied about, but they've largely lost their meaning.
What is really lost is perspective.
Just as there are two (or more) sides to every story, there are plenty of different ideas on how to get things done. No one person has a corner on that market.
I’ve been thinking about baseball, movies, ambiguous bar codes, and the FDA.
On June 26, 1974, New York Yankee All-Star Derek Jeter was born, two-time Academy Award winner Elizabeth Taylor divorced (for the fifth time), and Sharon Buchanan, a young grocery clerk in Troy, Ohio, was the first ever to ring up a retail purchase by scanning a bar code. On the same day in 2011, I drove from Arlington, Virginia, to Silver Spring, Maryland, to meet with people at the FDA to talk about the future of bar-code labeling on drug packaging.
There are more shocks and economic pain on the near-term horizon for taxpayers, small business owners and corporations.
This is a key finding of an extensive and intensive strategic analysis undertaken by Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, who will deliver a keynote address on the analysis at the forthcoming annual national conference for the Australian Mining and Exploration Companies Association.
Among the significant points which have been identified are: -
AUSTRALIA'S OWN SILICON VALLEY
"Wealth....Innovation. Creativity. Originality. Dynamism. Growth. Capital. Technology."
Silicon Valley is both a name and locality known throughout the world and is synonymous with each of the above listed attributes. It means and is perceived to be many things to many people.
Since the 1960's Silicon Valley has been the birthplace of many scenario changes, iconic products, services, concepts and business entities. In itself it is a magnet which attracts some of the world's brightest, most enterprising, free thinking and driven entrepreneurs.
The Federal and State governments, in Washington DC and California, have welcomed, encouraged and supported investment in countless large and small, established and start-up businesses to enable them to blossom and to create wealth, employment, education and opportunities.
Financial injections and tax relief/incentives have been provided in abundance.
Everyone, it seems, is a winner.
Over the years I've asked a lot of people what makes a great salesperson, and the answers are fairly predictable: passion; persistence; personality/likeability; planning; trustworthiness; strong work ethic; drive/initiative; quick learner; goal-oriented; good communications skills; sense of humor; humility; good timing; strong at building relationships; and follow-up (or as I say, the sale begins when the customer says yes).
My own answer is always the same: hungry fighter. In many ways, that is the embodiment of all of the above traits.
Politicians in the UK are starting to wake up to the fact that their Department of Health is unable to deliver its electronic care records system, after investing 2.7 billion pounds sterling in the project without being able to demonstrate a single benefit of the system.
The project has suffered from the same problems that have beset a similar Australian project being developed by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
It is now recognised that the pitfalls and waste might have been avoided in the UK had they consulted a range of health professionals before starting the project.
It seems the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is likely to follow the lead of the UK and denounce homeopathy as an ineffective and unethical therapy that shouldn’t attract scarce government research funds.
This is within the remit of the NHMRC’s role to provide health advice to clinicians and the Australian public. But the NHMRC also funds the majority of health and medical research in Australia.
And this dual role means the NHMRC – or those looking to it for guidance – may look unfavourably at funding any research involving homoeopathy.
Homeophathy has its shortcomings but researchers still have a lot to learn from studying this practice.
United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has acknowledged Monash University researchers for a life-saving new drug concept at the Saving Lives at Birth global challenge forum held yesterday in Washington DC.
Following the forum, at which Monash University researcher Dr Michelle McIntosh spoke, the research team received funding to engineer a drug that could save the lives of mothers of newborn children in developing countries.
The University of Queensland is preparing for an increased uptake in post-graduate legal courses as lawyers, consultants and accountants prepare to implement the Government's carbon tax scheme, due to take effect in July 2012.
Head of the TC Beirne School of Law Professor Ross Grantham said he expected a significant demand for specialist skills in areas such as consumer law, contracts, taxation, climate change and policy, and mining and offshore resources law.
A medicine designed to improve levels of 'good' cholesterol may also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes who are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to a recently published study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study, led by the University of Sydney's Professor Philip Barter, made the finding while analysing data from a clinical trial on the drug torcetrapib. Torcetrapib is a cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, a type of drug that increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, or 'good' cholesterol).
A $100,000 Microsoft fellowship awarded to a lecturer leading the University of Sydney in the emerging field of bioelectronics will accelerate the development of electrical devices used to diagnose and monitor stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Macquarie University's innovative Indigenous Science Education Program has been recognised with an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.
The Indigenous Science Education Program (ISEP) works with Casino, Lismore and Maclean High Schools in northern NSW and Chifley College in Western Sydney and has its origins in requests for help from Aboriginal Elders in addressing the poor completion rate of secondary education by their Indigenous youth.
Residents of the West Pilbara will soon have better access to GPs and allied health professionals following the signing of a $7 million agreement with the Pilbara Health Network for a GP Super Clinic to operate in Karratha.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, today welcomed the signing of the $7 million agreement as a welcome boost to health care in West Pilbara.
“This GP Super Clinic will deliver better access to health services for locals in a single, convenient location,” Mr Butler said.
Sleep apnoea patients who are successfully treated have lower blood fat levels and a reduced risk of heart attack than people who are left untreated, University of Sydney researchers have found.
Sleep apnoea, a condition in which people stop breathing momentarily while sleeping, affects up to 20 percent of the population. The researchers found treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device reduced post-meal blood fat (triglyceride) levels.
Moves to prevent the lifestyle risks of chronic disease in Australia have been boosted with the creation of an expert Advisory Council for the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler today welcomed the appointment of 10 expert members to a new advisory council for the Agency in another significant step forward for national health reform.
Nearly 3000 blind and partially-sighted New Zealanders could be suffering from undiagnosed sleep timing disorders according to a recent study from The University of Auckland.
The study, which was undertaken in conjunction with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB), was recently published in the journal PLosOne. It looked at self-reported sleep habits, sleep disruptions and medication use in people completely blind in one or both eyes; partially-sighted and fully-sighted.
While some people may feel anxious about their body's condition as they age, US academician Professor Michael Rose has no qualms about it; claiming once individuals reach their 90s their bodies stop ageing.
According to Professor Rose, who is an expert in evolutionary biology, “if you are lucky enough to live that long, you stop ageing”.
To reach this point, he suggests adopting a 'stone age' diet when you hit 30 years of age.
Commercial viability of high-value macroalgal (seaweed) bioproducts for human health is a step closer with a research collaboration between Flinders University biotechnologists and Australian Kelp Products.
Under the agreement, Flinders researchers will trial new processes developed at the University to create products for the food, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries.
These include marine sugars refined from seaweed that can have applications in anti-viral pharmaceuticals, functional cosmetics, and environmentally friendly agricultural pesticides and fertiliser.
On behalf of the pharmacy profession of Australia, the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is pleased to announce that financial support for pharmacists affected by the floods, via the funds raised by the joint Pharmacists’ Support Service Inc and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia flood appeal, has now been distributed. A total of 18 pharmacists were provided with financial assistance which was generously donated by their pharmacy colleagues from around Australia.
Editor’s Note: It was expected that other manufacturers would consider a direct distribution model after Pfizer had initiated a system that when developed, would appear to have most of the “bugs” knocked out of it.
The “who” and the “when” would then be the only unanswered questions.
i2P has covered a lot of the earlier discussion regarding this industry-changing decision, and in light of recent commentary, i2P has asked Mark Coleman to give us an update.
His comments appear below the media item in brown text published recently in Pharmacy News.