Welcome to the May 2013 edition of i2P - Information to pharmacists.
Economic turbulence seems to now be arriving in Australia with forecasts of high inflation rates, which also means high interest rates following on.
This type of economic forecast also means that banks will be more fractious with their borrowers. They are already offside with pharmacy due to the high level of bankruptcies over the past two years.
There is a pent up demand for a general wage increase for pharmacists impacting at a point in this month where pharmacy gross profit generally, is in decline.
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Volume 5 Number 1
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Volume 5 Number 4
The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is available to provide support by listening and supporting you after a traumatic event such as a hold-up or violence in your workplace, natural disasters such as fire and flood, a medical emergency in the pharmacy or other unexpected events such as a car accident. The service can be contacted on 1300 244 910 between 8.00 am and 11.00 pm every day of the year.
Editor's Note: The cost shifting games that go on between federal and state governments have dogged Australian Hospitals for many years.When the Gillard government came to power it promised to end the cost-shifting debacles that continually affected the tension between hospital clinical staff and hospital administrative staff.The result of this tension is often that some administration procedures, of necessity and for safety reasons, are intertwined and managed best, between the two camps.It appears that money is being pulled back from hospitals by some state governments in an attempt to force the federal government to fund the shortfall.The danger, as always is some cuts may affect medication management across the board with the patient death rate likely to increase sharply as a result.The Society of Hospital Pharmacists, (through spokesperson Suzanne Newman), has reported on a scenario in the UK that may possibly be duplicated in Australia.
Daily Multivitamin Reduces Cancer Risk
Even Low-Dose Supplementation Would Save 48,000 Lives Annually
by Robert G. Smith, PhD
(OMNS Oct 26, 2012) A major new health study published online last week found that everyday multivitamin supplements lower your risk of cancer by 8%. This important result confirms what nutritionists and medical researchers have known over the past 50 years, that supplements of essential nutrients are beneficial for health and preventing disease. This is terrific news for everyone! Cancer deaths in the US in recent years have hovered near 600,000 per year (190 per 100,000) and are increasing. If taking a daily multivitamin will prevent 8% of these deaths, then the lives of 48,000 people in the US could be saved each year, just by taking an inexpensive daily vitamin pill.
If you believe all the advertising hype, then swallowing a bucket load of complementary medicines (CMs) may be just as good as a glass or two from the fountain of youth. While a number of these non-prescription drugs, to give them their correct name, do provide some health benefits, others either do nothing or may even make you sick. So how do you know whether you are taking panaceas, poisons or placebos?
As a scientist and a skeptic, I’m partial to a bit of evidence, especially when it relates to my health and well-being. When I watch a sporting hero claiming to have ‘energy’ because of a CM, or I hear that there is a natural treatment that can help me, it certainly gets my attention.
Dr Reuben Bolt today became the first Indigenous student to graduate with a doctorate degree from the Faculty of Health Sciences. His research into Aboriginal identity is set to deepen the way Indigenous people are understood in Australia and the rest of the world.
Your company can have the most sophisticated equipment, the sleekest facilities, the best location and in-demand products, but none of it works without the human touch.Your workforce is your most valuable asset! The knowledge and skills they bring to work with them every day represent the fuel that drives the engine of business. Want to keep the motor running? Leverage that knowledge so that everyone in the company can benefit from their co-workers' experience.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks will study how the genetics and diet of Yup'ik Eskimos affect the blood-thinning properties of a common drug used by heart and stroke patients.The research could lead to personalized drug prescriptions. The UAF Center for Alaska Native Health Research will conduct the research as part of a $1.02 million National Institutes of Health sub-award through the University of Washington.
Australia’s first national electronic prescription system has moved a step closer following the release of updated draft specifications. The suite of documents plans for a national framework and will be available for public comment until 15 October 2010.The latest release expands on previous versions in three key areas, extending the transfer of prescriptions to a wider range of care settings including hospitals and residential care facilities, and addressing instances where the medications are supplied based on informal instruction from a prescriber before a formal prescription (owing script) is provided. It also introduces the transfer of fully electronic prescriptions signed with a prescriber’s digital signature.
Can’t do the housework because it makes you sneeze? Do you sometimes get a bit of gastro? Perhaps your skin is itchy or you occasionally have trouble breathing. If so, your symptoms may be caused by things commonly found in your home or garden. Then again you could be one of the 5-10% of the population who suffers from food intolerance, or maybe it’s all in your head.
Tea tree oil may be used in future as a fast, cheap, safe and effective treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers and precancerous lesions, according to researchers at The University of Western Australia.A three-year study by the University of Western Australia Tea Tree Oil Research Group has found solid tumours grown under the skin in mice and treated with a tea tree oil formulation causes inhibition of tumour growth and tumour regression within a day of treatment. Within three days, the tumours cannot be detected.
The national health report card released by the AIHW gives a pointer as to where primary health care funds are going to be directed to, and a guide as to what "specialties" will need to be invested in by pharmacists.And following similar lines, the education that will need to be provided to back those specialties.A systematic approach to developing and marketing pharmacy clinical services is long overdue, and leadership is stagnant.What can be done?In practical terms - probably nothing until after the next federal elections, but that gives a small window of opportunity for our lead pharmacy organisations to work out a plan of action and support each other in the process.Political game playing, whether at the local, state or federal levels, is crippling initiative in all sectors of the economy - but in particular, health.And pharmacy needs to attract some urgent funding to initiate some primary health care projects that can soak up some of the surplus graduates before it is too late, and we lose these valuable human resources.It would also be interesting to know what impact existing pharmacy activities contribute to the report card statistics.
TELSTRA'S mobile base stations and some exchanges could soon be backed up by energy efficient hydrogen fuel cells that promise to deliver a 20 per cent carbon emissions reduction compared with the diesel generators currently in use.
Dr Zhiguo Yi and Professor Ray Withers have found a simple inorganic compound can efficiently oxidise water to release oxygen. The production of clean energy and the treatment of waste water are set to become easier thanks to ANU researchers. The scientists – Dr Zhiguo Yi and Professor Ray L Withers of the Research School of Chemistry at ANU, along with colleagues from Japan and China – have demonstrated that a simple inorganic compound, silver orthophosphate, can efficiently be used to oxidise water with only the power of light. The oxidisation process can be used to convert solar energy to clean energy or break down contaminants in water. The research is published in Nature Materials.
It would seem that pharmacy in New Zealand has a lot of similarities to Australia as the following news item details.Surely the message must get through to the decision-makers sooner rather than later?Health programs in both countries generally have the feel of being pressure cookers about to explode with neither government seeming to have the political will to take the first simple steps i.e. actually make a decision
Source: Voxy News EngineNZNZ Pharmacists Can Fill Gaps To Help Reach Health Targets
Researchers at the University of Sydney's Centenary Institute have announced that they have made an exciting discovery that could lead to the first new drug for Tuberculosis (TB) in almost 50 years
Dr Nick West, of the Mycobacterial Research Group, is looking at the genetics of TB in the hope they will reveal a way to reduce the impact of one of the deadliest diseases in the world.Dr West said when someone is infected with TB they either become sick immediately or the disease stays inactive."Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active," he said."This is a major problem as 1 out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."
When you stop to think about it, Alzheimer's Disease is talked about as being an epidemic but does not receive any focus in the area of preventive treatments.It is a chronic mental health condition and while ageing is a risk factor, it should not be regarded as the inevitability of ageing.Because of our rapidly ageing population, dementia patients are increasing in number and placing pressure on Aged Care facilities.Dementia progressively robs a patient of their self-sufficiency and ultimately their total independence, and requires more support structures and funding than other lifestyle illnesses.Can pharmacy make a contribution?Certainly - but it requires community pharmacy to become more flexible and be able to develop a presence in a patient's home.Maybe the PSA could develop a program that would attract government funding, to allow clinical pharmacist access and communication into a patient's home environment.Preventive medicine is certainly within the province of a clinical pharmacist.Now is the time to develop forward plans and cost estimates before existing resources are overwhelmed.Pharmacy can help, but the existing model will not deliver satisfactorily.That is not acceptable to pharmacists in general, but little can be done unless government is prepared to alter its funding and negotiating model.
The next step in dementia policy
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda
All of us who did not fall down in the last day or two are aware of the media management and spin NEHTA is prone to.
Well, for the first time we are now able to provide interested readers with the ‘communications strategies’ (read spin crib sheets) NEHTA is planning to use to sell the Health Identifier Service to consumers and health care providers.
The documents are very current – being dated 29 Jan, 2010
There is little doubt that there is a substantial ‘spin’ component when we read....
There is an 800 bed hostel in Darwin that houses a capacity clientele all the time and 90% of the residents are Aboriginal people, in the main men.It is called Berrimah Gaol and it is for people who have chosen to do things that are anti social, abusive, and dangerous to others. In choosing to go down a path of “badness” in life they have been rewarded with a stay in this hostel for periods varying depending on the nature of the act they committed.
It is well known that lawyers are able to generate their own income, something you would find out if you were ever to engage one. After the first "free" introductory consultation, there follows an expression of confidence that the legal problem will dissolve. Then follows the obligatory frenzy of letters, telephone calls and emails to the opposition lawyer (in 5-minute chargeable "bites" at an hourly rate that can only be called "stellar") until both lawyers agree that enough activity has been generated to create a base income. At that point the difficulties are pointed out to the client and more instructions are called for, with the "nitty-gritty" of having to be faced with another round of high priced communications ((no strategic course is offered - you must "instruct" that yourself). Maybe you eventually get a result, but never a good result, unless an extraordinary amount of money has been spent to guarantee a good result.A new pot of gold has been found among the elderly and so strong is the cash flow, it has stimulated an entirely new body of law. Called "Elder Law", it is based on the premise that "baby boomers" will steadily retire from 2010 onwards. This group of people is fairly wealthy, independent and active, but will inevitably succumb to the ravages of ageing, including the onset of dementia and a period of time where an "elder" will not be legally capable of making decisions for themselves. Over the next 30 years the elders are predicted to become 25-30% of Australia's total population, and right now there is a stream of lawyers upskilling in "elder law" in time to follow the money trail for most of their future professional lives. Elder law booming for lawyers
Source: DPS Aged Carehttp://www.agedcareguide.com.au/news.asp?newsid=4033
A MARKETERS DREAM- PRE QUALIFIED PROSPECTS
A business ideal has arrived.The new reality in marketing and business today is that when business owners, managers and sales people first talk to new and prospective clients, many are pre-qualified. Indeed, self qualified.
These often first time prospective purchasers are well informed, confident, discerning, often articulate and assertive. Moreover, they are ready to buy and have the capacity to conclude a deal, typically, now.
Significantly, in the current communications and relationship era the power base has shifted to consumers, clients and customers. The key leverage is the readily inexpensive access to multiple channels and sources of information.
In many respects, business leaders, marketers, public relations consultants and advertising agents, in particular, have witnessed an ebbing of their previous seemingly impregnable power structures.
Images, status, market positions and bases for market competitiveness and appeal are now determined to some considerable degree by spheres of influence, over which businesses have little or no influence or control.
A weakening in market presence, market share and market positioning can be and often is a consequence of a lack of control over or consideration by many businesses of the media channels which are readily accessible to and by prospective clients.
Insufficient attention and resources are being allocated to the aspects of website profiles, interactivity, currency and relevance. Similarly the customer, purchaser or client ordering experiences begin from the initial contact with an email address, website, telephone system and the ingress points of a parking area.
Unkempt and poorly maintained parking areas of premises are physically conspicuous to all. What is not truly appreciated by some is the poor house keeping which is evident on websites, message bank messages, on mobile and landline telephone systems and the remarkably unfriendly, obstructionist automated telephone systems.
Technophile consultants who strive to increase the efficiency of clients communication processes too often overlook the effectiveness of encouraging and facilitating easy and prompt access to individual branches, departments and people by prospective, existing and past clients. Remedial action is often required to ensure the channels of communication are open and welcoming.
Comment about the future of pharmacy has been a daily occurrence for seemingly as long as Cook plotted a course up the eastern seaboard. He hit the rocks, as will many of the so-called “players” attempting to seek proprietorship over parts of the pharmacy puzzle will. Whether it be fact or Chinese whispers, a number of “core”(sorry Kev) “assets” have the attention of many.
In April 2010 the current program for QUMAX (Quality use of medicine in aboriginal community controlled centres) will come to an end.This was a pilot program and work is being done to look at where to from here?Like all pilots the program took some time to achieve its goals but achieve them it did. The evaluation process has been ongoing and the feedback from pharmacists and patients has been excellent.
I stood there squinting at the photo she displayed on her miniature mobile phone. It was a picture of her forearms covered in the blotchy, blistered, patchwork of a widespread glistening rash. As she talked about it, without seeming to notice what she was doing, she continued to dig her fingernails alternatively into the back of each of her red raw hands. I’d never seen eczema up close before so I was interested to learn about it. This time I’ll talk about the exploitation of people with this debilitating condition.
My view on our profession is patient based — what is best for the patient, so that he/she gets the right medication at the right time, right dose etc and that the medication is appropriate for the condition that the doctor is wishing to treat.
Under the current arrangements, this basic necessity and duty of care, in my mind, has been neglected, resulting from overworked and over-stressed pharmacists and the technicians (who get almost as raw a deal as employed pharmacists do).
This is a recipe for medical blunders and patient suffering as a result.
It’s that time of year again.Red, runny noses on sad faces; thick woollen socks, home knitted scarves and a growing pile of old soggy sticky hankies next to the bed; croaky voices, sore throats and bad coughs that just won’t go away.I’ve caught a cold and I’m sure I’m dying or at least that’s how I feel.It’s time to drag myself into the car and head for my local pharmacy.With some pharmacies selling nearly 100 products to treat my condition, surely I will find something to help.This time I’ll talk about remedies for coughs and colds.
Just once, I said, just once for a change I promised myself that when I write the next article for this prestigious rag, huh, publication, it will be in an upbeat manner.
With no whinging, no politics, no sarcasm and no despair. No sir. Next time I would write about the subject matter covering technology and the internet; good news will roll and rule.Sigh.
I have been following with some interest a series of postings on the web site ausphamlist.net.au about the 2010 salary scales for pharmacists proposed by Guild and Government. One, from a young pharmacist called John Kinsella here in Perth, caught my attention late last week. In this he argues quite vehemently that the proposed $26 per hour for a pharmacist with ten years experience is an insult, especially when compared to about $40 per hour for nurses working in the Health Direct program.
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.
Elephants are powerful creatures, yet when you see them at a circus they stand quietly tied only to a small chain and metal stake. They could easily break free, yet they don't. Why?