Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

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Community Pharmacy- the Next Industry to Take a Fall?

Neil Johnston

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Neil Johnston is a pharmacist who trained as a management consultant. He was the first consultant to service the pharmacy profession and commenced practice as a full time consultant in 1972, specialising in community pharmacy management, pharmacy systems, preventive medicine and the marketing of professional services. He has owned, or part-owned a total of six pharmacies during his career, and for a decade spent time both as a clinical pharmacist and Chief Pharmacist in the public hospital system. He has been editor of i2P since 2000.

So many businesses have disappeared, contracted in size or modified to a dramatically different (but workable presentation).
As an example, we are currently seeing newspapers evolving into multiple new formats and the graphic representations below illustrate other familiar businesses.
Pharmacy is just as vulnerable.
You would have to be blind to not realise that there are many vested groups working towards the control of an alternative pharmacy model (as illustrated by the Coles notepad addition to their analgesics section).
Coles hit the nail on the head.
Selling drugs without good information does not work.
This leads to the thought that clinical services is definitely the future, because you can create your own brand in that world.

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????? Will Community Pharmacy be the next industry to fall?

Community Pharmacy is vulnerable because:

* It is a closed shop, restricted in ideas and perspectives.

* It is bereft of clinical services support and the training needed to sustain that core business.

* There is minimal IT structure to interact with all health professionals and consumers.

* There is minimal automation.

* There is minimal employee development and virtually no opportunity for new pharmacists to become involved in their own business, even in alliance partnerships.

* It relies too much on government funding and as a result creates a dependent and uncertain income that changes on government whims.

* It does not pay its professional pharmacists a proper income.

* It does not provide decentralised training and education structures at a reasonable price.

* It has too many bureaucrats interfering with some activity streams e.g. cough mixture sales restriction
(totally unnecessary; small scale manufacture (regulations make final products uncompetitive in price); professional discretion ( e.g. the sale of nutritional and CAM products where full clinical trials are absent, but pharmacist clinical experience criticised or not recognised).

* It is over-regulated in all areas and crushes any innovation or creative spirit.

In fact, no matter which area of community pharmacy you look at, it gives you no joy.

Unless we enter a renewal experience immediately there is no future.

Some pharmacies and pharmacy groups are trying to renew in isolated pockets, but insufficient to develop into a revolution.

I am rarely pessimistic regarding community pharmacy, but unless there is some dramatic pharmacy political change, there remains no direction or even debate about the way ahead.

It is really past time to renew and restructure ourselves and our representative organisations trying to heal any of the deep divisions.
We still have an abundance of talent within our ranks, so why not align all this talent to walk in the same direction?
The missing ingredient is leadership.
Can you name one leader who is respectful towards all his counterparts in other pharmacy organisations and is admired, in turn, by all others?
It's a bit hard, isn't it?

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Submitted by Rollo Manning on Tue, 23/04/2013 - 17:44.

Very good Neil and you sounding a bit depressed. Now is the time to find a visionary leader who will think outside the cocoon that has created a heavy shield around the practice of pharmacy in the community over the past 30 years. The profession needs innovative thinkers to provide the consumer with a unique and startling successful pharmacy experience. Bring on Pharmacare and sit it alongside Medicare for funding professional services and reducing the number of outlets from which it can be obtained.

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