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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
- Issue 75: September 2008
- Issue 74: August 2008
- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

More Archives
We are in the process of moving all of our articles to the new site.

In the meantime you can find them on the old i2P site.

Issue 77: November 2008



Welcome to the November edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists). Well it looks like a shoot out is looming at the O.K Corral in the near future. Lloyd Sansom fired the first bullet at the recent PAC Conference where he stated that community pharmacy is not ready to join the Primary Health Care Ranks, even though Minister Roxon is keen to have pharmacy on board. With professional services taking more of centre stage, one would have thought that the PSA would be thrust to the forefront through solid PGA and government, financial and political support.

PSA News Releases

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. This Month:  * Natalie Tasker named Pharmacy Student of the Year  * Australia's top pharmacists awarded   * NPS campaign represents a fruitful collaboration   * Pharmacy profession supports calls for publicly funded weight-loss programs 

NPS News Releases

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. This Month:  * National Prescribing Service Campaign wins major National PR award   * Generic medicines campaign wins national PR award   * Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign launch

Australian Self Medication Industry Press Releases

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:  * ASMI welcomes measures to increase focus on individual health as part of national primary health care strategy    * Global expert calls for rescheduling of prescription medicines as key element in bold reform of health system   * Pharmacy attempts to 'switch' customers to house brands threatens customer loyalty and profitability   * ASMI welcomes proposal for nicotine replacement therapy to help smokers quit

Health News from Around the World

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.

Around the Traps

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column. This Month: * Champix found to be ONE OF THE most cost effective treatment for quit smoking * PFIZER SHOWS ACCELERATING PIPELINE WITH SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN LATE-STAGE CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT-Phase 3 Cohort Now Includes 25 Programs; Additions in Key Disease Areas Including Cancer and Heart Disease * LocumCo founder Sue Muller featured in new book on CEO success stories

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.

Find it Here

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:           * 1st Annual Scientific Hospital in the Home Society Conference * ARCHI Innovations in Practice Pain Management Workshop * 2008 NSW Health Expo * ASMI 2008 AGM & Conference


Is retail pharmacy ready for the future? This is a question that is on the lips of some leading commentators on pharmacy around the Nation as the health system undergoes a review of how things are done. Minister Nicola Roxon has called for a greater input to primary health care to take some of the load from the medico centric model that has evolved over the past 40 years. Pharmacists believe they are well positioned to take on extra work being in the “community” and accessible to all.

Mirixing the Pot - Professor Lloyd Sansom & Others

At the recent PAC Conference, delegates received a jolt in the form of an address by Professor Lloyd Sansom, who is chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and the Australian Pharmacy Examining Council. He stated that he believed that pharmacy was not ready to take up the responsibilities of an expanded primary health care role. This of course is at odds with various activities that are already in train for the provision of clinical services from community pharmacies, driven mainly by the PGA. Lloyd Sansom quoted a number of reasons for community pharmacy unpreparedness: * The current structure of community pharmacy is incompatible with the vision of a primary health care centre held by minister Nicola Roxon. * The current restrictions on PBS licences and the high cost of existing licences. * The resulting establishment of certain ownership structures. * The current structure which is heavily reliant on drug distribution * The projected images and performances of certain banner groups.

Can Professional Services and Chemist Shops Co-exist?

Is it likely that professional pharmacist services will be able to become an “additional” service within the current model of community pharmacy? The automatic answer most of us would say is: Yes! However, the question is not: can we? Rather, is it: likely? I’m sure there is no doubt that it is possible in the future for professional pharmacist services (PPS) to be integrated into the current community pharmacy model; however I believe that in order to do so, a major shift in traditionalist attitudes must occur before we have any hope of constructing this as a viable option. As a matter of probability, I believe that the profession as a whole (sadly) will not embrace such a move any time soon, as traditionalism tends to still be the major driving force of pharmacy practice above innovation.

Pharmacy Must Change to Meet Future Challenges.

I have found that attending professional conferences can certainly impact on your sense of ego.For a number of years I’ve been writing articles claiming the that pharmacy must change the way it works if it is to take its rightful place as a member of the health care team. I often felt that I was a lone voice crying out in the wilderness, with no-one paying attention. It almost gave me a feeling of smugness that I was “the visionary”, identifying problems no-one else could see and offering solutions. Almost the lone voice – I was quite aware that many others were worried that we were standing still while other groups looked like displacing pharmacy from the forefront of healthcare. I realise that I probably suffered from a martyrdom complex, with the whole world against me, but at least “I understood the problem”. I even wrote a piece where I imagined a person in 2107 writing about how primitive the pharmacy profession was 100 years ago and describing his/her day (as I envisioned it) as a “modern” clinical pharmacist.

The Credit Crunch and Financial Market Meltdown – Retailers, Shopping Centres and the Sweet, Sweet Smell of Cheap Lamb

Well as if things weren’t bad enough already with heightened interest rates and unprecedented fuel costs hitting the average household budget over the course of the last 12 months. Now the practices of unscrupulous and, without doubt,  criminal US “free-marketers” operating a quasi“mafia-style” operation of greed  have brought this global economic circumstance and its impact on Consumers and the Retailers that service them, to a new and incredibly dangerous crossroad. For Retail Pharmacies and Health Food Stores out there (certainly as far as the complementary healthcare angle is concerned) times have become increasingly tough indeed. By all accounts Health Food Stores have seen a drop in complementary medicines as a percentage of the whole with the food category on the rise arguably driven by the rise in consumer sentiment that “food is the new medicine”.

This Day Will Pass

The crew of the 12 metre racing yacht “Australia II” was in Perth on Saturday, 27 September to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its historic victory in the coveted America’s Cup. Many Australians will recall the extended overnight telecast of the memorable seventh and final race in the series. Since that moment of national euphoria, we have experienced a cavalcade of highs and lows. Recall, if you will :- · October 20, 1987 – the share market crash · * 1992 – the recession we had to have · * 1998 – the Asian currency crisis · * April 2000 – the Dot.Com collapse · * 2008, January 21 _ “Black Monday” - * share markets around the world fell 24% · * 2008, September 29 – “Manic Monday”. US Congress failed to pass legislation for the $700 billion recovery package At moments like these I do not need nor consume a Mintie !!! Rather, I read and reflect upon a sign which is mounted on my desk. The words are telling:- “This day will pass.”

Let’s Hustle, Sting ‘em and Pass the Lipstick

Our fearless editor suggested that a subject for this issue could be something erudite around the financial crisis. Merging issues to do with IT technology and the politics of envy and greed is a tall one, but what the heck here goes. First I thought naw, fair suck of the sauce bottle, what can get worse here in NSW. How can we use words in a sentence such as health, funding, service, taxpayer, government, bureaucrat, queues and/or shock-horror in it somewhere - that paints a situation more dire than we already experience? Jokes about the Department(s) of Health and Ageing being better described as a Department of Sickness and Death are passé. But, pardon the cliché, life goes on.

More from the Pharmacy 2008 Conference – Branding Matters

The development and use of brands has a long history in pharmacy.  For many years it was the wholesalers driving their use as they worked funnelling strategies to grow and then maintain their wholesale sales. In recent years, more brands have emerged as groups of independent pharmacists have banded together with a view to sustainability in a more competitive market.  It was very useful then to hear Dr Jenni Romaniuk from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science present on what makes good branding at the Pharmacy 2008 Conference.

Is IP Development at Universities a Wolf Dressed as a Sheep?

Those that read these pages will recall (i2P September 2008) mention of the University of Western Australia V Gray case. Universities are fast departing from the traditional “Learning/Teaching” persona by increasingly engaging in commercial activity by stealth. Research has always been a core activity within the intellectual walls of universities, and of course public research institutions, but there is growing activity in the area of the development of IP within these publicly funded walls. Universities generally have long promoted the dissemination of their discoveries and assets so it is probable that as they individually develop their own IP portfolios the sharing and caring attitude will likely cease, because the commercial exploitation of IP is dependent on confidentiality.

Responding to the Recent Australian Newspaper Article from a Pharmacy Perspective

There has been a recent outcry among the medical community in this nation regarding the excessive number of medical graduates that are going to finish medical school. Medical graduates are in a serious position of being left jobless after years of study. This has led the Australian Medical Students Association to gather significant support to change the current training system. Along with this change, international students would no longer be able to obtain internships position ahead of domestic students. Medical student associations and various other groups together with the Government will be sitting down and solving the problems that threaten their future and the future of the Australian healthcare system. Medical students are being reassured that all domestic graduates of Australian medical schools will have future employment.

Acupuncture? – A Prickly Question!

The empty chair beside her brought with it a thousand wonderful memories.  Sitting together they had smoked and talked and shared their dreams and troubles.  Her slender fingers now coaxed yet another cigarette out of the half empty packet and sadly she knew that the treatment she had some days earlier had failed.  As the afternoon slid by, she could hear the radio repeating its promises of a laser treatment with an “85% success rate” to “quit smoking the easy way”.   For this month I’d like to discuss acupuncture.

Like Pharmacies, Residential Care Facilities will change.

It is accepted that within a few short years the queues of people waiting to see out their twilight years in a RCF will be akin to those trying to get into the MCG on Grand Final day. RCF’s of course offer two levels of care, loosely described as “Nursing” and “Residential”. It is often the case that a residential occupant becomes a nursing patient when their health takes a turn for the worse. It has recently been reported that the operators of RCF’s see a very uninspiring financial return of only 1.1% per annum on each room. Even in more favourable  times this sort of return is unlikely to sustain a budgerigar, much less a vociferous Board looking for a healthy profit.

Understanding Indigenous Health

Is this Australia? One could have wondered and what really is the reaction from people “down south” to TV Programs such as the one aired on Thursday night on ABC-TV about the NT Emergency Response (Intervention).

Beware of Danger in Safe Havens

"Bad habits," a pundit once noted, "are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of." Sticking with what's comfortable might be one of the deadliest habits of all. In the bullfighting arena, expert matadors have long gained an edge by pinpointing a bull's comfort zone. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has studied this phenomenon. "In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns," she explains. "Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot. As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable."

More alarmist speculation on QT ‘problems’ yet still no incidence of actual complications. Smoke and mirrors.

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 QTc Interval Prolongation and Opioid Addiction Therapy

NEHTA Continues to Waste Money & Time

Editor's Note: Dr David More is recognised as one of the health informatics industry experts and we are pleased to carry his column in i2P. For this month we have selected his comments in regard to an article by Karen Dearne in the Australian IT online publication. It concerns the Pharmacy Guild and its efforts to monopolise the e-prescription market. i2P has often commented on this disturbing activity that is designed to feed on the greed of PGA executives, rather than fill any broader vision for e-health. David More makes a blunt comment, and as he says, " 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!" And i2P adds the comment "How many more chances has NEHTA got? When will it stop wasting money & time?

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