Publication Date 01/04/2014         Volume. 6 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Business is tight!
Cash flow has evaporated!
The PGA calls for unity while simultaneously dismembering the business of consultant pharmacists.
The federal government continues to strip massive funds from the PBS to the extent that it is gasping for air.
Oh, and I forgot, the Revive Clinic thinks that pharmacists cannot vaccinate patients in community pharmacies ( It is actually a warehouse pharmacy group trying to destabilise the market here to push fellow-pharmacists off balance by supporting the Revive group).
Even wage-earning pharmacists have discovered that they have not had a rise in their pay over the past five years

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New Pharmacy Opens Against the Odds

Peter Sayers

articles by this author...

Peter Sayers is vitally concerned about pharmacy professional practice - its innovation, its research and development, and its delivery to create an ongoing revenue stream. Delivery of healthcare is increasingly involved with Information Technology systems. All perspectives in IT must be considered for the impact on pharmacy practice and its viability.

There was a bit of joy celebrated in the Victorian town of Colac earlier this month.
On the 4th October 2010 a new pharmacy opened under the stewardship of business partners David Christofidis and Michael Georgy.
Colac is a busy town that once boasted a total of six pharmacies in healthy competition, one with the other.
A process of acquisition was entered into by one of the Healthwise pharmacies, and the total of pharmacies in Colac then became two.
Local residents, over time became dissatisfied with the new arrangement and began a lobbying process for a third pharmacy.
Specifically, they wanted a pharmacy owner who was not a member of a chain group and who was prepared to be competitive on price and service.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

 From left to right:
David Christofidis, Ruth Spokes, Jeanette Sell, Faye Roscoe, Michael Georgey and Terry Mulder officially open Colac Pharmacy
Photo courtesy of Colac Herald

Local consumer sentiment was deeply aroused and over 4700 residents signed a petition that was directed to Nicola Roxon, who eventually used her discretionary powers to overturn location rules and allow the new pharmacy.
This story was originally published in i2P under “Location Rules Dented” and followed up with “Introducing Jeanette Sell- the community leader who took on a monopoly”.

Location rules impact on new pharmacists trying to set up in business, so the Colac experience was published as a Pharmedia commentary in a different context under "Do you feel good about yourself?"

This is a first business venture for the two pharmacists involved and they have had to not only overcome location rules, but had to lease suitable premises for about 12 months prior to opening.

“We have been the tenants here for a year,” Mr Georgy said of Colac Pharmacy’s site in Murray Street.

“It is really exciting that we are about to open,” he said.

The owners have had to turn away eager would-be customers who hoped to have a prescription filled during the establishment of the new pharmacy.

Colac’s Ruth Spokes, Faye Roscoe and Jeanette Sell led the campaign to bring a third pharmacy to the city, which once had up to six pharmacies.

There is no doubt that the new pharmacists, if they provide a good service at a competitive price, will be the recipients of local goodwill that new business owners can only dream about.

On top of that, a 12,000 population count distributed among three pharmacies is more than an adequate catchment to ensure the new pharmacy is profitable and maintains good growth.

The stress of the cam­paign, which involved flood­ing federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon with appeals for help, put two of the women in hospital.

The three campaigners joined Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder to ceremoni­ally open the pharmacy.

“I couldn’t sleep last night, I was so excited,” Ms Spokes said.

“All our hard work has paid off,” she said.

“I have a heap of scripts ready to bring in.”

“It has been a while, I was a bit worried when it took Nicola Roxon so long to make a decision,” Mrs Roscoe said.

“We just wanted to make sure she knew what was go­ing on in Colac,” she said.

Colac Pharmacy will have three pharmacists, a consultation room, beauty room and retail area and will supply residents of aged care centre Baronga­rook Gardens with their Webster medication packs.

More than 4700 people signed a petition calling for a new pharmacy in Colac.

Mr Mulder praised Colac for supporting the third pharmacy campaign.

“Nothing happens unless you have the community behind you,” he said.

“The pharmacy will offer great service and benefits for our community.”

A fourth pharmacy licence was recently applied for by Ocean Grove Priceline owner Paul Bereznicki.
This application was rejected.

It is interesting to compare the Colac consumer rebellion against some recently published national polls where consumer satisfaction was measured among the various pharmacy groups. Chemist warehouse topped the poll with a satisfaction rate of 90.1% and Priceline came in slightly lower at 88.1%.

However the 2010 annual survey Roy Morgan poll for ethics and honesty shows pharmacy has improved slightly (1%) compared to 2009 and in second. position after nurses. Doctors and dentists dropped slightly for the same period.

I wonder how the Colac community might have voted in this type of poll?

Pharmacy leaders need to assess the adverse effects experienced by the Colac community, as the location rules seem to be at the core of the discontent.
i2P has long supported pharmacist ownership of pharmacies, but with no restraint on trade that occurs with location rules:

* Colac is just the tip of a consumer backlash.
* Young pharmacists are the second casualty.
* All pharmacists suffer in the loss of self esteem stakes

Pharmacy is not renewing itself adequately or appropriately due to the location rules.
Readers are recommended to revisit the Pharmedia Commentary “Do you feel good about yourself?” and answer that very question.

And it would seem that unless there are serious corrections, pharmacy is setting itself up for a Colesworth takeover

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Submitted by From a small county town in Vic on Wed, 13/10/2010 - 08:06.

Congratulations Colac Pharmacy. You overcame impossible odds and set an example for the rest of Australia.

Nicola Roxon encountered ferocious opposition from the Pharmacy Guild over her decision to allow another pharmacy in Colac. She is to be applauded for her common-sense decision.

Hopefully she will see that her Primary Health Care Reforms will benefit greatly if she were able to ease the restrictions on opening additional pharmacies in country towns where the Guild's monopolistic practices have stifled innovation and progress, as was the case in Colac.

Nicola Roxon has the courage to make much needed change; all she needs is for the local communities, who have a compelling case, to make their voices heard.

If you don't ask - you won't get.

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