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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 71: May 2008
Welcome to the May 2008 edition of Information to Pharmacists (i2P).
This month we have a great array of writers and topics, and into this mix we welcome a new writer, Loretta Marron.
Loretta won the skeptic of the year award for 2007 and will be focusing on issues surrounding complementary and alternate medicines.
Press releases, news and events are all present in their appropriate columns.
Rollo Manning leads off with his opinion column Pharma-Goss and this month he discusses drug promotion, PGA involvement, disease mongering and the ethics of it all.
Next follows an article on “Directional Scorecards”.
How do you rate your business direction – does it need touching up and some measurement?
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.
*Australia's Top Pharmacists
Rescheduling of Children's Cough and Cold Medicines
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 Celebrates 10th Birthday with new-look team
* Opportunity for drug-free intervention in perinatal depression
* Popular ear drops and complications risk?
* Compounding standards on their way?
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
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 - 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.
* HIP Information Days
* Technology upgrade gives pharmacy recruitment company (LocumCo) the edge
* NEHTA Re-organisation
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).
* NEHTA Technical Education Seminar
* International Line-Up for NMS 2008
* National Pharmacies-Calendar of Events - Pharmacy 2008 Conference
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
Pharma-goss With Rollo Manning
* XENICAL GETS NEW LIFE
* MORE DISEASE MONGERING
* WHY IS CODEINE SO HIGH?
* DRUG PROMOTIONS UNDER SPOTLIGHT
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
Every now and then I like to stop and take some time out, simply to review where I am heading and how well I am doing.
It sometimes takes a bit of courage to face up to what appears to be a string of adverse events and a situation that is seemingly impossible to resolve.
However, with supportive input from friends, it is possible to work yourself through most difficulties and develop a forward plan, even if the last one has just fallen into a heap.
Hiring a business coach or seeking out a suitable mentor could represent a first step forward.
Let me first state that there is no way of avoiding any responsibility in this process.
You must work your way towards a sound decision using a mentor or business coach to act as a devil’s advocate, or provide qualified input to your thinking.
And when you reach your logical conclusion, you take personal responsibility for the decision.
You cannot apportion blame to staff or others who surround you.
Con Berbatis - A Pharmacy Researcher Perspective
Editor: National studies of community pharmacies and GPs suggest more than 0.6 million cases of severe adverse drug events (ADEs) occur yearly in primary care in Australia. Over 80,000 cases with severe ADEs are managed each year in Australia’s hospitals. Under 2% of severe ADEs from primary care are reported to the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (ADRAC).Con Berbatis comments on the national implications to be drawn from reports to ADRAC. In Part 4 (June 2008), the contributions of pharmacists nationally to reporting adverse reactions will be revealed.
Stephen Carbonara - From an Independent Professional Pharmacist Perspective
The re-scheduling of cough and cold mixtures for children under the age of 2 years is one of the most ridiculous legislative decisions ever made in the history of medicine.
The majority of evidence for this decision comes from overseas studies, and the "lack of efficacy" claim is with reference to the length of illness, not the severity of symptoms.
These medicines are efficacious symptom controllers; they do not pretend to cure.
Loretta Marron BSc - From a Skeptics Perspective
Physics major, cancer survivor, researcher – that’s me.
Filling in for Nutritionist Stuart Adams who has his nose in a textbook as he pounds the pavement at his local Uni.
I don’t know much about medicine but I’m not too bad with the science.
One of my favourite topics is about ‘Energy’ healing modalities.
I’m the one who follows people around at parties with my trusty electronic meter gizmo to measure their magnetism, mysticism or miasma or whatever pseudoscientific claptrap they are meant to be radiating. A quick way to lose friends, but it certainly gets results.
I can’t help it; I just love my Physics.
Garry Boyd - From an Intellectual Capital Perspective
The Crown of England found a nice little earner in 1449 when Henry VI awarded one lucky punter a ‘letters patent”, therefore enabling a glorious 20 year monopoly.
The English Crown embraced the notion of granting letters patents, (and therefore monopolies) to those favoured and prepared to pay.
The Crown did very well out of this little rort and filled the Crown coffers with gay abandon.
This unprecedented enthusiasm for collecting money by fair means or foul even saw a letters patent issued to one enterprising chap for salt.
Harvey Mackay - From an International Speaker, Author, Columnist and Consultant Perspective
A.G. Lafley, chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble, says that his mother told him to have the courage of his convictions.
He says his mother encouraged him to have the confidence to be himself, advice that stayed with Lafley when he almost left P&G in his sixth year there, according to an article in Fortune magazine.
Lafley says that he accepted another job because he felt the bureaucracy of the company was smothering him, and he didn't think the company would change quickly enough to keep him satisfied.
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.
Dr David More - From a Medical IT Perspective
Editor's Note: Basically there has been a global failure by governments (including the Australian government) to connect a shared patient health information system powered by the Internet.
Big players in the IT industry (such as Microsoft) are now stepping forward to bridge the gap, and they seem to be approaching the right end i.e the patient.
By empowering patients and enabling them to share their information, patients will be able to broaden their capacity to share information with other patients who have similar problems, or health professionals of their choosing, also family and friend if they also choose.
Twelve months ago I had an interview with some people at Telstra who elaborated on the same theme.
They propose to use their client base to drive this "health social media" process.
Whether this will be in alliance with Microsoft or whether Telstra will be competitive was not made clear, but it is clear that health information and sharing is about to explode, and that control of that information will be driven by global IT businesses, not government.
Traditional health providers will have to move their own education levels to match the increased levels of patient education that will result from this phenomenon.
David More has assembled a range of press releases and commentary based on this activity and the fact that it was raised at the recent 2020 summit.
David More continues:
In an amazing co-incidence just a day or two after the 2020 Summit raised the idea of the Healthbook the following press release arrived.
Neil Retallick - A Friendly Society Perspective
Last month I raised my concerns that the current supply chain infrastructure for community pharmacy is not a model likely to minimise the costs of distributing medicines across Australia and into the hands of consumers.
Since then, the Government and the Pharmacy Guild have proved how inappropriate the current situation is and how inefficient and ineffective it can be.
The PBS Reforms coming into effect on 1 August will only cost some links in the supply chain millions of dollars.
The arrangements put into place to effect the reduction in prices of around 1,500 medicines on 1 August were developed by the Pharmacy Guild working with the Federal Government.
The outcome of these discussions is that these two parties will not be impacted by the price reductions significantly – if at all.
Barry Urquhart - International Conference Keynote Speaker
Follow up. That is the determining and distinguishing factor between a good decision and a bad one.
An appropriate decision which is not followed up and through can and will inevitably turn into being a bad decision. Conversely, what on reflection may be deemed to have been an inappropriate decision can be converted into a good decision by follow up and astute refinement. Often it is a matter of follow up or foul up.
Ben Wishaw - From a New Pharmacist Perspective
The NPDSC has recently decided to reschedule sedating antihistamines for children under two years old to prescription only.1
Now what will parents use to sedate their infants so they stop complaining?
Wait, I mean help treat poor little baby’s sniffles.
The NPDSC claims that these products were up scheduled (good to see they can actually do this) because of a lack of evidence for their efficacy and the potential risk to infants for side effects.
Chris Wright - Dispensary Systems Perspective
The future models of Pharmacy aren’t quite clear yet, other than the fact we need to accustom ourselves to getting our prescriptions filled in Supermarkets…..or, at least in Pharmacies that have the appearance of being Supermarkets.
As for shopping in a Pharmacy for anything other than medicines or associated products………..I don’t think so.
Peter Sayers - Pharmacy Practice Management Perspective
Every day it seems that some group of individuals seem to wish for pharmacy control or manipulation to suit their view of the world.
This group contains diverse organisations such as Choice, global manufacturers, major retailers media groups and various government agencies.
Recently, we have seen the upscheduling of infant medicines containing antihistamines and pseudoephedrine, moves to upschedule Nurofen Plus to schedule 8 and now an attempt by the TGA to add a layer of regulation to compounding pharmacies.
This activity must be stopped in its tracks.
Reeling from one blow after another, community pharmacists can be forgiven if they feel they are a target.
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 an article in the Drug & Alcohol Reveiew January 2008 regarding the use of naltrexone implants.