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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 74: August 2008
Welcome to the August edition of i2P – Information to Pharmacists.
It has been an interesting month given the various predicted upheavals within the supply chain due to the PBS Reforms “we had to have”.
Some pharmacies will yet find that life can be even more difficult as profitability and cash flows continue to be adversely affected.
This month I would like to introduce a new writer in the form of Andrew Bryant, a young pharmacist with a very clear grasp of what his priorities should be.
We welcome him to the i2P family and look forward to some very spirited writing in the coming months.
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.
* Complementary therapies – jury is out on cold prevention
* Type 2 diabetes: an important health care topic for new-look NPS pharmacy activity
* Minimising birth defect risk for pregnant women with epilepsy
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:
* Proposal for a revised Pharmacy Only category for medicines
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.
* Get your nominations in for the PSA Excellence Awards
* Asthma study reinforces pharmacists' role in primary health care
* Attendance Boom at Sydney Pharmacy Expo
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 appoints new Chief Operating Officer
* New Space Nutrition range
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).
Management Conference 2008
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
This month Pharma-goss concentrates on one subject which the author believes should be a paramount discussion topic for all members of the pharmacy profession and especially those young pharmacists who wonder where their training is leading them.
The foundation upon which pharmaceutical care is provided to the Australian community is in need of an overhaul and until there is a thorough review of the way pharmacy services are structured there should be no more Agreements entered into between the pharmacy profession and the Commonwealth Government.
$1 billion a year is paid to pharmacists by the PBS for professional services and a similar amount again by consumers for the dispensing of medicines not attracting a government payment.
Is the Australian public getting its money’s worth or is there room for improvement through an alternate infrastructure that links more closely the supply of pharmaceutical services with the way health services are delivered in the 21st Century.
Con Berbatis - A Pharmacy Researcher Perspective
Editor: The Garnaut draft report on climate change released in July 2008 has every likelihood of impacting on our lives like few other events.
The health consequences of climate change and their mitigation have been under-reported. The Garnaut report estimates heat-related changes to health indicators under ‘unmitigated’ (no action) and ‘mitigation’ scenarios.
Con Berbatis reviews predicted heat-related deaths and hospitalisations up to 2100.
Part 2. reviews heat-related working days lost and increased rates of food- and mosquito-borne infections .
He points to likely impacts on future pharmacy practice in Australia
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
The basic infrastructure of pharmacy is fractured and is causing a major rift among pharmacists.
On one side we have the all-powerful 35 percent represented by pharmacy owners, while on the other side we have the silent 65 percent, majority represented by a mix of individual pharmacists, specialist clinical pharmacists and consultant pharmacists, plus a range of pharmacists providing business services in the management and IT sectors.
There is a spurious argument that all pharmacy services must be managed through a community pharmacy.
Pharmacy owners proclaim that it is their capital that is at risk if pharmacy services are not tied to the PBS, and thus a community pharmacy.
Andrew Bryant - From a Recent Graduate Perspective
A profession must be functionalist, in so far that their status is achieved because the functions performed are essential for society, or trait orientated, where the defined characteristics of the profession are exclusively of their own.
The functionalist approach dictates that the profession will provide specialised and expert knowledge for the benefit of the community and in return society deems on them a privileged position.
The trait orientated approach, mandates that the profession possesses the following core features: specialised knowledge and lengthy training, service orientation, monopoly of practice, and self regulation.
The element of power is important in the transformation of an occupation to a profession and in the profession’s interaction with non-professionals, the State and other professions.
Pharmacy in Australia possesses important traits and fulfils important societal functions and would be regarded as a profession.
I would argue, however, that pharmacy is indeed still a trade and for two valid reasons.
Neil Retallick - A Friendly Society Perspective
I think it was in an article published by National Geographic magazine many years ago that the dramatic claim was made that at some time in the not too distant future computers would weigh less than 1.5 tons.
An incredible proposition.
I’m sure we can all recall some recount along this line. Wasn’t Thomas Edison knocked back when he tried to sell his new invention, the light bulb? Wasn’t JK Rowling sent rejection notices by a number of publishers before somebody took a different view?
The issue here is that we all know what we know but few us don’t know what we don’t know.
Ken Stafford - A Consultant Pharmacist Perspective
What is it with the pharmacy profession in Australia?
Some time ago I wrote a column entitled “Our own worst enemy” where I looked at how pharmacy seems to take great delight in shooting itself in the foot.
It seems that all I have to do is save my article and recycle it at regular intervals because nothing has changed.
The Guild and the Society cannot seem to agree on very much, everyone steadfastly defends his/her own little patch and we continue to whinge about how nurses want to take over everything
Garry Boyd - From an Intellectual Capital Perspective
These pages have previously sent some of you into an emotional coma with stories about patent offices…………and this writer apologises in advance for continuing the theme. It’s just that a patent application crossed my desk that is worthy of comment, tongue in cheek or otherwise.
Below is what constitutes an invention in the eyes of patent law. Whether or not an invention is a composition of existing material or a radical breakthrough, any application made to a patent office must articulate the basis of the invention in a professional manner so as to persuade the examiner the claims are within the well established requirements.
(The following is from Wikipedia, with links to further explanations for those of you that wish to be bored further.)
An invention is a new form, composition of matter, device, or process. Some inventions are based on pre-existing forms, compositions, processes or ideas. Other inventions are radical breakthroughs which may extend the boundaries of human knowledge or experience.
Invention that gets out into the world is innovation, and as such it may be a major breakthrough, it may have a minor or incremental impact or its effect can be in between these two extremes.
There is also a “cultural invention” which is an innovative set of useful behaviors adopted by people who then pass them on. 
An invention that is novel and not obvious to those who are skilled in the same field may be able to obtain the legal protection of a patent.
Rollo Manning - A Special Report on Indigenous Health from Northern Australia
Editor's Note: Currently there is a greater focus in repect of Indigenous health. And about time, some would say. Only very small pockets of the pharmacy profession have attempted to come to terms with this major problem, and they genuinely need your management assistance. Rollo Manning could well be regarded as the pharmacy expert in indigenous health, and he vigorously defends the 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 h
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 a Concord Seminar, held at Concord Hospital (Western Sydney, Australia), Conference Room No 1.
Harvey Mackay - From an International Speaker, Author, Columnist and Consultant Perspective
With more than 27 million golfers in the United States alone, it's no wonder that golf for business purposes is a hole-in-one opportunity. Whether you're opening doors or closing deals, golf can enhance almost any business relationship.
So why is golf on the upswing?
TV and Tiger Woods are factors of course, but there's another reason that doesn't get much notice, except from sharp businesspeople. Golf is a networking game par excellance. In what other environment can you see your customer for four to five hours straight, without interruption from phones, meetings or competitors, for that matter?
Loretta Marron BSc - From a Skeptics Perspective
On one particularly cold night last winter my back ached, my big toe hurt and I woke up shivering. With bedclothes tightly wrapped around me I managed to slip one hand out of bed to turn on my electric blanket. I soon felt warm, the pain went away and I went back to sleep. In the morning I noticed that the blanket was unplugged from the wall and clearly had been all winter. Is my blanket possessed with magical powers or was it ‘mind over matter’? For this article, I’d like to talk about healing energies.
Dr David More - From a Medical IT Perspective
I am vitally interested in making a difference to the quality and safety of Health Care in Australia through the use of information technology.
There is no choice.. it has to be made to work!
The following press release appeared a few days ago.
Barry Urquhart - International Conference Keynote Speaker
Which is worse?
In health, business and economics the cure can be and often is worse than the ailment.National central banks, governments and lending finance institutions throughout the world are confronting a common threat. Inflation is high and on the rise. In China the rate exceeded 9% per annum for the first four months of the year and India has recorded an 11% increment.
The temptation and, arguably, the most direct and immediate remedial action centres on increasing official interest rates. For some that will figuratively be terminal, in a financial sense.Trading banks in Australia and a limited number of other western societies have taken the lead in recent months by increasing their lending rates, independent of any central bank initiative.National and federal governments have tended to sit on the outer boundaries, fixated by a desire to maintain budget surpluses as a means to retain their credit ratings. There has been a noticeable departure by some state governments in Australia which have gone into deficit to upgrade their depleted infrastructures.
So, a dilemma exists. Should inflation be allowed to persist at levels which are deemed to be unacceptably high or should it be reigned in by increases in official interest rates?
Chris Wright - Dispensary Systems Perspective
The two “Evils” of society, being alcohol and drugs, have long been subject to a range of conditions when sold legally.
As such, Pharmacy regulations and liquor licensing law have much in common.
The key word in the sale and provision of liquor is “Supply”, whereas in the World of Pharmacy, “Dispense” reigns supreme.
Both of course must be conducted in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the relevant regulations.
Victoria has recently introduced a 2am “lockout” in an attempt to curb the growing problem of violence amongst young people, caused by over-indulgence.
As industry, regulators, retailers and do-gooder groups provide serious lip-service on how best to arrest the problem rather than arrest the fools that think they can go toe to toe with Danny Green while being fizzed up at 3am, plenty of warm and fuzzy publicity is coming from the big retailers and manufacturers.
Stephen Carbonara - From an Independent Professional Pharmacist Perspective
Just a quick offering from me this month, as tax time has taken its toll. And speaking of finances, Medicare has raised the rate of remuneration for HMRs to $187.09 (up from $183.60) at the start of this financial year.