Welcome to the April homepage edition for i2P – Information to Pharmacists.
Well, pharmacy is a bit under the weather in respect of its stress levels at the moment.
A reluctant acceptance has taken hold as we all enter a period of “profitless prosperity”.
While it is positive in some respects that we have government underwritten services, it also places pharmacy businesses at the whim of government policies, each time the wind changes.
One of the “givens” when you deal with governments.
There always has to be one area of a pharmacy business that is basically free of interference for pharmacists to take shelter in.
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Volume 2 Number 1
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Volume 2 Number 8
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Volume 2 Number 11
Volume 3 Number 1
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Volume 3 Number 4
Volume 3 Number 5
Volume 3 Number 6
Volume 3 Number 7
Volume 3 Number 8
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Volume 3 Number 11
Volume 4 Number 1
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Volume 4 Number 11
Volume 5 Number 1
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Volume 5 Number 9
Volume 5 Number 10
Volume 5 Number 11
Volume 6 Number 1
Volume 6 Number 2
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 Extras simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.
The District Health Boards and the Pharmacy Guild plus partners are starting to engage the profession on the results of their negotiations on the new community pharmacy services agreement contract.
Unfortunately most community pharmacists are still very much in the dark as to the actual specifications of the contract.
Meetings are scheduled to be held around the country but no one can get a copy of what is to be discussed – all very strange and secretive.
Many of us enjoy a glass of wine and few would say no to a glass of French red, white or champagne. The French wine industry has a proud history, but one that ought to provide salutary lessons for the community pharmacy industry in Australia. Notwithstanding a tradition of constant innovation upon which a huge industry was built, when the French winemakers tried to protect their turf from external forces they consigned themselves to stagnation. The threats they were trying to overcome have now defeated them.
And when I say “pharmacy” I mean the dominant form of the practice – retail pharmacy - or to give it the Guild name to promote some feeling of community ownership – “community pharmacy” which of course we all know is fallacious. Let’s face it – they are retail shops owned by a pharmacist – not the community. If they were that they would be a Friendly Society and we also know there are not many of them.
Monday March 26th was “International Purple Day” – a day dedicated to increasing epilepsy awareness.
In discussing this on talk-back radio, I was astounded by the number of people who want to talk about their epilepsy – the social challenges, the interrupted lifestyle, the community ignorance of their particular health challenge.
Are we so focused on drug regimes that we don’t allow the patient connection to allow us to understand what it’s like to have imperfect health?
Are we ever able to take a position “on the other side”, where we put ourselves in the shoes of the patient?
Editor's Note: Chris Foster is a new writer for i2P and you will note from his "bio" that he has an interest in pharmacy.
We particularly encouraged Chris to come on board because we knew that many pharmacists will be seeking specialist financial and taxation advice from April 2012 onwards.
Gross profit in pharmacy generally will receive a "king hit" on April 1, so Chris has given a perspective on this item.
We were interested to note that Chris favours increasing gross profit through the product and service sales mix, rather than drastically cutting costs.
This fits in with i2P thinking that it is now time to embark on a range of fee for service offerings in the clinical area of the business.
Basically, pharmacists have approximately three years from April 1 2012 to renew their business model in its entirety and that will need to include a partial or a total refit.
It may also include a merger with another pharmacy, and it will definitely need a reduction in inventory SKU's with an emphasis on creative pricing and high stock turns.
Having an experienced eye checking your end-of-year figures should be one of the first boxes to get ticked.
Stop the bashing
Bank bashing is a favourite past-time of many Australians.
Some media commentators and numerous politicians have developed the pursuit into an art form.
In recent times the Australian Prime Minister, the Federal Treasurer and a number of leading cabinet members (each a former union leader) have, to the extent that many people believe, has overstepped the mark, with overly-politicised remarks, criticisms and demands.
Australia, its people (including share-owning superannuants) and businesses enjoy the fruits and advantages of a competently managed banking sector. Competence is not a description that sits well or is used freely when referring to the incumbent Federal Government.
The Federal Treasurer inherited a significant surplus which within 3 years he has converted into a deficit approximating $160 billion.
At this time, commerce, intending and existing home buyers and the public at large need financially viable and liquid banks, which have the capacity and disposition to maintain lending, as a key lubricant for keeping the wheels of the economy, turning efficiently.
I’ve been thinking about Adele, spring training, medication safety, and the law of the harvest.
Were you mesmerized when Adele nailed Rolling in the Deep at the Grammy’s?
I was. It's a song of regret over love that could have been, summarized repeatedly with, “We could have had it all.”
But the mud that stuck to my wall was the climax: “You’ll pay me back in kind and reap just what you've sown.”
To say Bruce Halle is "driven" is putting it mildly.
The Discount Tire Company founder's life story is the subject of a new book, Six Tires, No Plan, which I guarantee will inspire every person who reads it.
Author Michael Rosenbaum has perfectly captured the essence of this fearless tire maven.
I've known Bruce for a long time, and he is undoubtedly one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
He is also a bulldog when it comes to his business.
The averaging of indicators of disadvantage does nothing to help understand the plight of remote living Aboriginal people in Australia.
There are some 140,000 persons living “in remote” out of a total population of 520,000 claiming Aboriginal heritage – that is 26%.
Daniel Hussar publishes a newsletter in the US called the Pharmacist Activist and is very involved with pharmacy issues and direction.
In his March edition he discusses a submission presented to government supporting a wider range of drugs be available without prescription, but under pharmacist supervision.
This process has only just begun here in Australia, with "statins" and emergency contraception selected as the first two items.
Alarmist press releases by the Australian Medical Association as well as political lobbying to remove this useful extension is being conducted, along with moves to have non-medical prescribing banned.
It is interesting to note how similar doctor attitudes in the US and Australia are, and readers are referred to the comments in the last paragraph about not tolerating "turf battles".
Since developing ideas for the debate on clinical evidence that makes sense, I have to admit that it has been hard to find any middle ground.
Neither side (FSM vs Complementary Practitioners) seems to be able to have a reasoned dialogue.
On the one hand you have the recently formed FSM making a pre-emptive strike against universities providing accreditation and training of complementary therapists in scientific approaches.
This does not make sense if it is desirable to develop a scientific evidence base within the complementary modalities that can find a level of acceptance within the portals of Establishment Medicine.
The one quality surrounding complementary medicine is the level of care that is provided compared to establishment medicine.
It is obvious and proven that patients are looking for care and delivery outcomes that are not being provided by the Establishment.
Some complementary medicines (CM)'s have clinically proven benefits and I will freely admit that I don't mind experimenting with the occasional natural product.
So when asked what brands I would buy I have been known to mention Blackmores.
But that's all changed now, after what appears to be an act of treachery, they will never deserve my support again.
In Australia the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) provides a listening ear and support over the telephone to pharmacists in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory and has plans for expansion to all states of Australia. The medical profession in Australia has a range of state based Doctors’ Health Advisory Services including the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service which provides peer support over the telephone. Victorian is the only state to have a state based health program for doctors; the Victorian Doctors Health Program (VDHP). At present the Medical Board of Australia is undertaking a consultation with the medical profession considering if doctors are willing to pay a levy on their registration to fund health programs for doctors throughout Australia. If this proposal proceeds it may set a precedent which the pharmacy profession can follow.
Interest in pharmacy clinical services development in Australia is increasing since the latest round of PBS reforms hitting on April 1, primarily as a replacement source of income.
However the PBS reforms have all but eliminated any readily available monies that may have been able to be invested in this activity stream.
And while there are a range of clinical services scattered through a pharmacy environment (not generating much income), I refer specifically to clinical services run through a clearly identified "clinic", with services unique to pharmacists and chargeable to patients for an advertised fee.
Pharmacy clinics in Australia have taken the format of the Revive Clinics http://www.reviveclinic.com.au and Midwyf Services http://midwyfservices.com.au that have been growing slowly and generating indirect income through product sales and prescription generation.
The UK can offer some interesting insights for Australian pharmacists through their view of professional services and their implementation.
Recently, Lloydspharmacy (a chain group) began delivery of an asthma check up service that has drawn a lot of criticism from independent pharmacists and some employees of chain groups (known as “multiples”).
On the 4 April 2012 the British Medical Journal published an editorial (BMJ 2012;344:e2555).
It quoted a former head of Amgen’s global cancer research, Glenn Begley, who had tried to replicate 53 “landmark studies on cancer published in a range of peer reviewed journals.
These were studies that Pharma companies relied upon for the development of new cancer treatments, or more worrying, studies that had been funded by Pharma companies in some manner.
Comvita, the New Zealand-based global exporter of natural health and beauty products, and collaborators have identified key compounds in honey that stimulate the immune system, paving the way for a range of new wound-healing products.
The ground-breaking research, carried out at Industrial Research Ltd (IRL), Plant & Food Research and Massey University, found that different varieties of New Zealand honey appear to trigger different immune responses.
CEO of APESMA Chris Walton said Australian pharmacists deserved to be treated with respect rather than being underpaid for their hard work and expertise.
“Unfortunately this problem is not confined to Queensland. Right now APESMA is helping our pharmacist members in every state deal with breaches of employment law,” Mr Walton said.
Brain stimulation can markedly improve people's ability to solve highly complex problems, a recent University of Sydney study suggests.
The findings by Professor Allan Snyder and Richard Chi, from the University of Sydney, are published in Neuroscience Letters.
Recently, i2P received a media release relating to a food product used widely by the US processed meat industry.
It has caused a major US meat processor (AFA) into bankruptcy as the use of this product has become widely known.
Because food processing has become a major concern in health maintenance, due to the additives, pesticide and antibiotic residues that processing tends to concentrate, activists are using mainstream media to generate the alarm.
Normally a product of this type is sold as pet food and as far as we know, it is not sold in Australia.
Because of a large graphic located in the remainder of this article, please click on the "open full screen" link to view it correctly
New research could change the way health professionals treat Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 35.6 million people worldwide, a figure set to treble by 2050.
Research published today in Nature Genetics detailed the discovery of new genes that may play a role in adding to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older people up to 20 years before clinical symptoms become apparent.
A recent study by La Trobe University has shown to reverse obesity, body fat and improve insulin sensitivity in mice.
Scientists used the ACE inhibitor captopril (CAP)—commonly used for the treatment of hypertension and cardiac conditions—and found that it can reduce the body weight of mice maintained on a high-fat diet.
The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University officially launched its latest innovative teaching facility, the Professional Practice Suite (PPS), at a function held on the Thursday 12 April 2012.
The $1.8 million education and professional development facility is the latest addition to a range of space, technology and curriculum initiatives implemented by the faculty which are transforming pharmacy education in Australia.
An international researcher based in Perth has found that workers who resign themselves to work in unsatisfactory jobs are more likely to suffer from serious, persistent lower back pain than others with a positive attitude.
Research Associate Professor Markus Melloh, an orthopaedic surgeon and rheumatologist with the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) and The University of Western Australia, found that a third of people studied with niggling non-specific back pain went on to develop everyday back pain that severely affected their career and social lives.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Austin Health have come one step closer to understanding how our bodies regulate fat and weight gain.
Dr Barbara Fam from the University’s Molecular Obesity Laboratory group at Austin Health with Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos have discovered that the liver can directly talk to the brain to control the amount of food we eat.
Australia’s prolonged whooping cough epidemic has entered a disturbing new phase, with a study showing a new strain or genotype capable of evading the vaccine may be responsible for the sharp rise in the number of cases.
It was interesting to see the University of Technology Sydney teaming up with Cegedim Strategic Data services to provide a pharmacy confidence barometer.
It does confirm a lot of what i2P has been writing about for nearly 12 years now, but it is good to see this data confirmed in an authoritative manner and in an ongoing useful format.
The following news item was published in Pharmacy News in their 29th March edition.
i2P as always, has asked Mark Coleman to add his comments.
Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA: Support services for pharmacists and doctors in the United Kingdom – Part 5 National Clinical Assessment Service | open full screen