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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 65: October 2007
Welcome to the October edition of Information to Pharmacists (i2P).
One gets the feeling that we are currently on the edge of a great change that will manifest in community pharmacy in the coming months, picking up direction in the beginning of 2008.
Pharmacists are finally realising that years of inaction are now manifesting in direct competition (Chemist Warehouse), plus accelerating overheads and reducing margins on the PBS, the primary pharmacy revenue stream.
Those that have planned have a springboard upward – those that have not are staring into space in bewilderment, frozen in time.
Peter Waterman - The Latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
PSA News - the latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists.
New health campaign on Hayfever launched
* GSK Announces Discontinuation of Serevent MDI (Green Inhaler)
* DAA program goes ‘live’
* PSA congratulates FIPs Australian fellows
Katie Butt - From a Good Prescribing Perspective
The National Prescribing Service (NPS)is a valued independent resource for good and unbiased prescribing information and education.
Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies Australia is blessed to have such a resource.
Pharmacists are moving closer to a prescribing role within the health system and it is appropriate that i2P promote the message of the NPS.
* NPS Elects New Board
Hot water or vinegar treatment for venomous sea creatures
Clinical best practice not always applied
By a Staff Writer - Conferences and Events
As part of our information service, i2P informs on Conferences, Workshops and Seminars or press releases that may be of interest to pharmacists. PSA event information will be found here, but PSA news will continue to be published separately in the section reserved for PSA press releases.
Pharmacy organisations may submit material for publication, preferably in digital format (Word document).
* Patient Safety & Quality Improvement - Embedding a Culture of Safety in our Hospitals & Health Organisations
Two Day Conference: 4 & 5 December 2007 - Venue: Sydney
By a Staff Writer - News Items, Background Information and Items of Interest
Press releases from the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Drug manufacturers, service providers and other suppliers to pharmacy are invited to post their latest information in this column.
Therapeutic Guidelines: Analgesic, Version 5, 2007
Global Health News from the Internet - Pharmacy Related Links
This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy.
Readers are encouraged to comment on any news item by contacting the editor through the "Contact Us" panel located on the home page.
News items and topics displayed range from drug-related news, Information Technology, medical communications, medical research breakthroughs, management and marketing issues.
Because this news area is dynamic and changes daily, readers should immediately bookmark any links that they find interesting.
Response to any item will be published through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.
By a Staff Writer - Publications to Note
This section of i2P is designed to be an experimental section to introduce other publications that have similarities to i2P, but are based in other countries.
The globalisation of Australian pharmacy started around the year 2000.
It has had minimal impact up to 2004, but that is now changing and i2P must reflect that change.
There are many aspects of globalisation not yet fully understood, but I think that to most of us, globalisation means that we must be quicker on our feet and have pharmacy practices with sufficient critical mass to withstand global pressures.
Depending on the model of pharmacy chosen, and its location, global pressures will vary.
As pharmacists we must begin to open up our minds to new ideas and innovative ways of delivering pharmacy practice.
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
Pharma-goss - (Incorporating Indigenous health) -By Rollo Manning
* Adherence support workers may be the answer
* Students still have sense of adventure
* Make up lost dollars in PBS to Aboriginal people in remote
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
With a range of PBS reforms already in place, plus those placed on the record as intended in the near future, one must add a best “guesstimate” of what medium term reforms have yet to be thought up by government and added to what amounts to a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry.
The following statement taken from one generic drug manufacturer’s site summarises the market conditions.
“The strong market outlook for generic pharmaceuticals is continuing with compounded growth of over 20% per annum expected for the next three to five years. The market for generic pharmaceuticals is expected to grow to around $1 billion in 2006 to over $2 billion by 2009, a figure that includes the impact of cost saving measures announced by the federal government. The key growth drivers are the expirations of many of the top 100 PBS drugs between now and 2008; increasing government and public support for generic pharmaceuticals; and an ageing, more drug reliant population."
Stephen Carbonara - From an Independent Professional Pharmacist Perspective
I’m all for increasing public access to medicines. This is why I would support federal Labor’s idea of introducing ‘GP super clinics’.
As an extra idea to this proposal of a ‘one stop shop’, how about a new service be implemented?
Currently we have HMRs and RMMRs to service the medication review needs of society, but the uptake in these services (especially HMRs) has to date been quite slow.
Why is this the case?
Could it be that the current system is unattractive to those providing the service?
Is it because, in the case of HMRs; one can only receive full remunerated benefit if you happen to own a section-90 approved pharmacy business?
Does this therefore mean that the current scheme is essentially only aimed at roughly 35% of pharmacists in Australia?
Heather Pym - A Division of General Practice Perspective
On many occasions when visiting GPs in my work of promoting QUM I am asked if I know of any GPs available to assist in practices.
I wish I did have a few suggestions up my sleeve but sadly GPs are scarce – probably more scarce than pharmacists if the ‘shortages’ are to be believed.
I think with pharmacists that many have left the profession for better conditions in other climes or are not satisfied or able to be waiting in the wings until called in for a locum position. Economics generally, these days, does not allow the insecurity and spasmodic demand for many ‘locums’ to be out there to meet the fluctuating demand.
Barry Urquhart - International Conference Keynote Speaker
Editor's Note: One of the most ridiculous psychological "hangups" collectively experienced by pharmacists, is their seeming inability to value the services they provide and charge accordingly.
The endless round of free services and discount prices, fuelled in part by major competitors, such as Chemist Warehouse and the ongoing bullying behaviour of the Colesworths of this world, has taken its toll on Australian pharmacists.
Add to this the endless rules and regulation that spew forth under the PBS, collective Pharmacy Boards and other agencies such as the TGA.
I can honestly say that at this very moment I find the profession of pharmacy
an empty profession and joyless to work in.
Everything has been made just too hard and complex on the production line that is now the dispensary.
I challenge every community pharmacist in Australia to just do four things:
1. Read Barry Urquhart's article right here.
2. Draw up and display in a prominent location, a complete list of the services you provide and price each one individually.
3. Prepare a booklet illustrating each service in detail. Don't spare the expense.
4. Budget some time and personally detail as many of your clients as possible.
Then go ahead and start marketing those great services.
I don't care if you discount them up to 100 percent for your clients and patients,,, but at least establish a value in the minds of consumers.
And who knows - this might be the start of something big!
Perhaps you might let me publicise your success stories. It only needs to begin with "the power of one".
Dr Andrew Byrne & Associates - A Harm-Minimisation Research Perspective
Editor's Note:Dr Byrne (and his associates) advocate for better policies which are proven to reduce risks for drug users and the general community under a framework in parallel with Australia's official policy of harm minimization.
The findings of the New South Wales Drug Summit recommend better access to methadone, detoxification and other dependency treatments. It also advised investigating alternative services such as supervised injecting centres, leading to the opening of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in 2001.
Dr Andrew Byrne has been involved in opioid treatments from a primary care background for 20 years at the same site in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney.
He is recognised worldwide as a specialist in the addiction field and was involved in the seminal stages of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
He received the Dole-Nyswander award from the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence in April 2006. This month, Dr Byrne comments on the interpretation of survey results from over 400 pharmacists relating to the impact of dispensing fees on a buprenorphine-naloxone service in community pharmacies.
Chris Wright - Dispensary Systems Perspective
There are similarities between obesity and indigenous health, the problem is, both are subjected to a shameful level of apathy.
The notion of “rewarding” indigenous parents for ensuring their children attend school is something this writer is very comfortable with, as long as they are able to attend with a nutritional breakfast in their bellies and dressed in clean clothes.
This will encourage their fertile minds to learn with interest and ease.
Stuart Adams B.App.Sc (Nutrition and Food) - From a Nutritional Activist Perspective
In last months issue I recapped on some of the topics regarding weight loss in pharmacies and described why I believe that pharmacies will never be reliable sources of weight loss advice because there is less money to be made by offering professional dietetic services than what there is to be made by selling people unnecessary products such as weight loss pills and meal replacements.
As far as pharmacy based meal replacement weight loss schemes go, by far the most popular one that people I speak to have tried (and failed at) is the ‘Tony Ferguson Weightloss Program’; the clientele of which has gone from approx 50,000 people to over 350,000 people in the last year alone (according to his website at least).
Ferguson’s program is sold through both his own ‘Weight Loss and Wellness Centres’ as well as the Terry White chain of chemists all over the country and is described (by himself) as “one of the most successful programs in Australia”.
Garry Boyd - From an Intellectual Capital Perspective
In that most majestic of democracies, the good old USA, those that are employed by Uncle Sam to make decisions on not only how Americans do business and survive in the most commercially combative environment on the plant, but influence other nations by their behaviour, are close to inciting a commercial civil war.
The US patent office is facing off against the Pharmaceutical Companies in a battle where there may not be a winner, but plenty of long term angst, of which the residual could well be felt in this country.
Carl Peeters - A Robotic Dispensing Perspective
Automated Dispensing Systems are commonplace in many hospitals around the world, and many Australian Hospital Pharmacists have used them while working in other countries.
More than 200 UK hospitals are using the Rowa brand, and Rowa has recently appointed Lamson Concepts as their Australia and New Zealand agent, with the intention of having a similar number of machines installed here.
Is there a compelling case for the introduction of these machines into Australian hospitals?
Pat Gallagher - An IT Consultant Perspective
Not that I feel that I have been missed but, for the person out there that might have wondered, I have been away and quite busy as it happens. So no IT related articles for this wonderful publication for some months. Sorry friend, have we missed much?
Not at all as far as I can see or tell (other than these few items).
Medinfo was held in Brisbane during August. It is the largest international health informatics conference and display show on the planet.
It was well attended and informative.
Informative in as much as about what isn’t said as what is publicly presented.
Dr David More - From a Medical IT Perspective
Editor"s Note: David More now reports on successful health IT projects on a global basis.
By this method he hopes to stimulate Australian agencies into developing a strategy that will work for Australians.
Most of the dismal failures have been "top down" in focus with the result of being "top heavy", unstable and costly. David draws the following success story from e.Health Europe publication.
David reports: " This really seems to be a model that needs to be much further studied – as it is already operational on a scale that would be invaluable in Australia.
Fascinatingly it has been, yet again, a ground up local initiative – rather than the top down style of national or state initiative.
This is especially relevant for those who still see a shared record as having significant promise."