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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 70: April 2008
Welcome to the April edition of i2P.
This month we have two new writers.
One young pharmacist in the form of Ben Wishaw, and one not so young pharmacist in the form of Ross Brown.
It is no coincidence that Ben is challenging the “shopkeeper” role of the pharmacist while Ross is engrossed in the history of pharmacy and talks about the history of aspirin in his first article.
They are both welcome additions to the i2P family.
Letters to the Editor - A Reader's Perspective
Your Say is the column reserved for subscriber (or other source) comment relating to i2P articles, or reportage or general comment on the profession and industry at large. All posts must be identified, but the editor will suppress name and contact details if there is a sensitive reason.
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.
Are you Australia's top pharmacy student?
Zolpidem and Quality Use of Medicines
Three Part Series on Continence
(DVD and VHS Video available)
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.
* More talk, more action required in treatment of type 2 diabetes
* Pharmacists encouraged to support complementary medicine research
* NPS RADAR reviews released
Bob Bowden - Media Contact for the Australian Self Medication Industry
For over 30 years, the Australian Self-Medication Industry has represented companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of non-prescription consumer healthcare products and related firms.
ASMI is the peak industry body for the Australian self-care industry including consumer healthcare products ranging from over-the-counter medicines (OTC) to complementary medicines.
Also represented by ASMI are companies providing manufacturers with services, such as advertising, public relations, regulatory consultancy, legal advice and industry statistics.
Topics for this month:
* Herbal remedy to be trialled against prescription medicine for common gastrointestinal complaint
* Complementary medicines given major boost from new Commonwealth funding package
By a Staff Writer - News Items, Background Information and Items of Interest
Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column.
* Pharmacy International Network (PIN) -European study into pharmacy services
* Health Information Pharmacy (HIP) newsletter
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.
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).
This month:* International Line-Up for NMS 2008
* National Pharmacies-Calendar of Events - Pharmacy 2008 Conference
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.
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
Pharma-goss - With Rollo Manning
* The QUMAX Aboriginal health program
* Fewer PBS scripts
* Doctor direct stirs the pot
* PBS supplies and the “continuum of care from hospital to community”
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) is an organisation charged with developing e-health standards nationally and was initially under the leadership of Dr Ian Reinecke.
NEHTA has had a history of being obstructive, arrogant, being out of touch, and not truly understanding the needs of the various health professionals, in the establishment of its mandate for a national e-health system.
Millions of taxpayer dollars (again) have been squandered on various programs and activities that have never been delivered.
In late 2007, the Board of NEHTA endorsed a business case for developing a national platform for personal electronic health records to be put to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) early in 2008.
COAG met recently and refused to provide funds for the project, leaving the national platform project in tatters.
Dr Reinecke subsequently resigned.
Almost concurrent with these events, an announcement was made by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA)that it had endorsed a system called ScriptX, with information about the system being found on the PGA website.
Dr David More - From a Medical IT Perspective
Editor's Note: In an interesting array of press releases, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Health Communications Network and Corum Health have announced details for an e.prescriptions system (called ScriptX). Separately the PGA have announced a system of patient compliance (called MedsIndex).
Corum Health have lodged a patent for an e-prescription system back in 2005.
Dr David More examines the press releases and attaches some of his own observations.
Pat Gallagher - An IT Consultant Perspective
Realise that this is the first finger to keyboard effort for the newsletter since the November 07 election. So I should try hard to engage you in some hard thinking and not just the whimsy of our ever unamusing take on the health sector
Talking of the election, one of the newspapers had a idiotically screaming headline the other day – “First 100 days (of the rudderless mob) something or other”
I say – ‘something or other’ because it was some piffle and I ask you, hey, has the earth moved for you yet?
Garry Boyd - From an Intellectual Capital Perspective
Far too much activity in a Pharmacy has a negative financial impact these days.
The filling of DAA's heads the list of the "thankless task" category.
Pharmacists are faced with a dilemma.
Whilst the "turnover" of DAA business may look impressive on the balance sheet, the reality is often a substantial financial loss.
Many Pharmacists are turning their backs on filling DAA's, simply because they cannot get a satisfactory financial reward by staying in this sector.
Stephen Carbonara - From an Independent Professional Pharmacist Perspective
Medication reviews have hit the spotlight again, and I thought I'd offer my own opinion on the matter as an independent consultant pharmacist.
I have recently become medication review accredited and would dearly love to do full-time medication review work, either HMRs, RMMRs or both.
Up until now I have only worked in community pharmacy.
I find however that there are some major barriers with the current system that hinder my efforts to perform as many medication reviews as I would like.
Garry Boyd - From an Intellectual Capital Perspective
It comes as no surprise to learn that Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) say, in a submission to the A.C.C.C's inquiry into grocery prices that:
"The two dominant grocery retailers have significant market power which is exercised openly.
It is also exercised subtly by the implied threat in many ways."
"They carry the implied threat of excommunication in their dealing. For instance, they are able to exercise coercive demands in respect of quality systems, packaging and delivery arrangements."
This all sounds a bit like home, doesn't it?
Growers and the smaller suppliers have long been virtually told by Colesworth how much they will receive for their endeavours
Neil Retallick - A Friendly Society Perspective
A company’s competitive position is enhanced if it is able to compete effectively against other market participants whilst operating with a lower cost of doing business.
The lower cost base allows it to generate more operating profit dollars from doing the same things its competitors are doing.
Customers are getting the same value, so they choose where they will spend their dollars based on whatever criteria they think important.
When the lower cost operator reduces its prices (because it can), the customer now has even more reasons to spend their money with that low cost operator.
Ultimately, the low cost operator wins market share from its competition and these other players may cease to exist.
Certainly while the low cost operator and its customers win, the other market players lose.
Ben Wishaw - From a New Pharmacist Perspective
Editor's Note: We have a fresh new talent writing for us in the form of Ben Wishaw.
We try and encourage new pharmacists to become writers as a form of management discipline. If you can write your thoughts down in a logical and chronological manner and maintain the discipline over a long period of time, you are on the road to becoming self-taught as a manager.
With practice you become an effective communicator and those skills translate to an ability to train and delegate - two of the most important objectives of a manager.
Ben introduces himself:
"Hello everyone. I am very happy to be a part of the I2P team.
I'm a final year student at James Cook University in Townsville and have been working at one of the larger pharmacies in the area for about 2 years.
I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say and would be more then happy to hear some feedback because I'm not the only one with ideas.
I will include a photo once I find a decent one."
Rollo Manning - A Special Report on Indigenous Health from Northern Australia
Editor's Note: Since the Rudd Labour government was voted in, a greater focus has occurred in repect of Indigenous health.
Rollo Manning could well be regarded as the pharmacy expert in indigenous health and he vigorously defends their rights of indigenous people to enjoy good health - just like the rest of the Australian community.
Rollo's sympathetic insights reflect his long association with, and understanding of, the issues surrounding indigenous health.
Ross Brown - From a Pharmacy Heritage Perspective
Editor's Note: When trawling through the website of the Pharmaceutical Society in October 2007, I found a reference to The Australian Academy of the History of Pharmacy.
My immediate thoughts were that this organisation did not appear to have a great degree of exposure and that there may be an opportunity to explore whether there were any lessons from history that might have application in today's pharmacy environment.
I immediately contacted the organisation and eventually a column written by Ross Brown, the president of the Academy, turned up.
Ross is a well-known pharmacy identity and has worn many "hats" over his pharmacy career, and we are delighted to have him as a contributor to i2P.
For his first contribution, Ross discusses the history of aspirin, a most important drug that has been in continuous use since its discovery.
Chris Wright - Dispensary Systems Perspective
The ANZ Bank, in an obviously gut wrenching decision, has decided to reduce lending margins for Pharmacy by 15%.
The longstanding 75% has been whittled away to 60%.
This of course is a clear message that the ANZ has lost confidence in Pharmacy and is looking for an "out".
Surely it is arguable that any business with a "licence" is an attractive business proposition?
The Post Office, Newsagent, TAB, Tattersalls, UniTAb and others all enjoy an element of commercial protection by holding licences, or, in the case of Pharmacies, a PBS approval number.
Obviously the ANZ Bank has decreed in its undoubted wisdom that a PBS approval number has limited value....Could they be right?
Harvey Mackay - From an International Speaker, Author, Columnist and Consultant Perspective
An anthropologist was doing research on a small island in the South Pacific.
He'd become quite friendly with the medicine man from one of the indigenous tribes who'd been assisting him.
"I would like to meet the most important man in your village," the anthropologist said.
"I will take you to meet him today," the healer offered. And the two men embarked on a short hike through the rain forest.
They reached a clearing where an old man sat cross-legged in front of a group of children.
"Is that your chief?" the anthropologist asked.
"No," said the guide. "This man is what you would call a teacher."
"But I wanted to meet your chief," said the anthropologist.
"But you asked to meet the most important man in our tribe."
Barry Urquhart - International Conference Keynote Speaker
Editor's Note: This month Barry Urquhart, of Marketing Focus, has contributed a column of observations rather than his regular article.
He gives a good insight into the business world outside of pharmacy and thus some form of measurement.
Pharmacy tends to be insular and protecive in its approach to the world at large, and Barry is excellent at communicating what might be possible.
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. In this edition of i2P, Dr Byrne comments on some of the presentation of Dr Nicholas Lintzeris regarding the comparison of maintenance treatments in UK, Victoria and NSW. Drug dilution, crushing, take-aways: the practice versus the evidence.