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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 31: October 2004
Welcome to the October 2004 edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists), and it seems astounding that the year 2004 is very quickly drawing to a close, given that I don't seem to have caught up with the year's commencement in the first place.
Many pharmacists are feeling the effect of workplace complexity and the use of poor systems to cope with the explosion of detail required to simply practice the profession for one day.
This has further resulted in many promising pharmacies beginning to look unstable, primarily because the model is flawed and is unbalanced in many areas.
The rate of market change is also breathtaking in some segments.
Letters to the Editor - A Reader's Perspective
i2P always strives to promote enterprise in pharmacy.
While we have been concerned with the concentration of wholesaler entities in the recent past, it is refreshing to see a new entrant that is looking to satisfy pharmacist needs that are obviously not being met.
We have had government enquiries set up to discover why community pharmacies do not have different models, but never for wholesalers.
Well maybe it's not necessary, as Jack Leigh describes what he is trying to achieve.
For those who wish to contact him after reading his letter, his e-mail address is
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
Have you noticed that the only areas of retail pharmacy that appear to have any sense of direction and motivation these days are corporate pharmacy models?
The standouts here are National Pharmacies and Priceline.
The things they have in common are that they are professional retailers, they monitor their own businesses so that they can make comparisons, they strive for excellence.
While some franchises perform well individually, they are not of the above standard in general. Priceline, however, is making the transition of an independent retailer with community pharmacy alliances, to a wholly owned subsidiary of API.
Will it simply become another wholesaler franchise?
The reason I make this point is that there is a difference between a wholesaler and a retail-oriented warehouse (ROW), and while the differences are subtle and not initially highlighted, it eventually gets down to how costs are apportioned at the interface of retailer and supplier and how focussed the supplier is on the micro needs of each customer/patient of their retailer clients.
ROW's ensure retail success, wholesaler franchise operators do not necessarily achieve this.
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
* A sad day for pharmacy and its future.
* PBS Expenditure - how can pharmacists help?
* Need an injection of hope
* Retailing dominates discussions.
* What is an EBA?
* The social determinants of ill health
* The Pharmacy Guild monopoly questioned
* Soul Searching
Chris Arblaster, PhD - A Consumer Self-Care Perspective
Professor Theo Raynor, Head of the Division of Academic Practice at Leeds University was recently in Australia as a guest of ASMI at its Annual Conference to present on current issues and research on consumer medicine information.
This article encapsulates some of the key points he made in his presentation.
Ken Stafford - A Consultant Pharmacist Perspective
Everybody has that sort of day!
You know - the one when you think to yourself "I should have stayed in bed with the bed clothes over my head".
I didn't quite reach that stage recently but I came very close.
As many of you are aware, my background is hospital pharmacy and I have continued my membership of the SHPA and try to maintain an interest in its C/E program.
Two weeks ago the WA State Branch held its state conference so I took myself along and was suitably impressed by the skill and professionalism of all those young (very young to my ageing eyes) pharmacists. "At least one area of pharmacy is alive and well", I thought to myself as I listened to the papers telling us about all the activities going on in hospitals, "A good, solid base from which to launch clinical pharmacy".
Con Berbatis - A Pharmacy Researcher Perspective
Editor's Note: Pharmacy's custodianship role of Schedule 8 agents is threatened by Australia's obsolete legislation. Routine medication review of drugs before dispensing by pharmacists is dogged by incomplete or inaccurate medication histories.
To strengthen pharmacists' control of S8s ,to ensure online comprehensive review pre-dispensing nationwide and optimize individual medication use, WA researchers propose legislation in each State be revised and standardized to
(1)standardize national guidelines for S8 and psychostimulant use to remove ambiguity in prescribing;
(2) limit prescriptions for S8s to just one agent to cut forgeries ;
(3) include pharmacists on committees to facilitate rigorous pharmacy intervention pre-dispensing such as including the indication of S8s on each prescription ;
(4) restrict patients prescribed S8s to one prescriber and the same dispensing pharmacy to reduce 'doctor-' and 'pharmacy-shopping';
(5) legislate online access to HIC- and State-held medication histories to diminish deception by pseudo-patients before doctors prescribe for them ;
(6) legislate online access to HIC- and State-held medication histories to facilitate online comprehensive data-based interventions by pharmacists pre-dispensing ;
(7) the dispensing pharmacy to account for remnant S8s of deceased or disabled patients to minimize deceptive or criminal misuse ; and
(8) allow comprehensive access to S8 data held by all national and State agencies for better analyses to bona fide researchers to facilitate regular and accurate population data consumption of S8s .
Pat Gallagher - An IT Consultant Perspective
We all have said this numerous times; "how did we ever get along without this, that or whatever?"
Mainly as a ubiquitous and catch-all comment on the fast, ever changing world we live in.
A few days ago I noticed my local friendly pharmacy had stuck a large label on the sandwich-board sign outside the pharmacy.
The footpath sign was supplied by Kodak and advertised photo development and finishing, as it has been doing for a long time.
The new, hastily produced label says - "digital photos in 'x' time, only $cents".
The lead story that night was the news that Kodak is retrenching staff and closing their Victorian film manufacturing facility.
Les Brener - A Digital Imaging Perspective
Over the past few months I have pointed at various innovations in the approach to family and photographic printing and the place for the pharmacist in today's digital photo world.
Terry Rimmer is the Australian Director of PMA (Photo Marketing Association International) and has been part of the Australian photographic industry both as a retailer and as a consultant for over thirty years.
As such Terry is able to keep up with all aspects of the photo industry and is well respected for his opinions.
While I have touched on the digital kiosk and emphasised its importance to pharmacy Terry has gone into far more detail in a presentation to the National Pharmacies at Hamilton Island and he has given permission for this presentation to be reproduced in i2P.
It is quiet a lengthy document but well worth reading and as such I will be splitting it into two parts in this and next month's editions.
Karalyn Huxhagen - A Queensland PSA Councilor Perspective
For many of us the acute shortage of pharmacists have seen senior managers move back into roles that require our clinical skills to be brought out of the mothballs.
For me I found this a daunting task as I had a young family, full time employment and I lived a long way from the metropolitan cities where most continuing education was delivered.
As I scouted the journals and the internet for appropriate types of education materials that I could use I was at times disappointed by the Australian material.
On the American web sites like Medscape and many others there was excellent learning material with assessment programs attached.
The then ACPP also distributed excellent papers from the "American Society of Consultant Pharmacists" called "Clinical Consult."
Heather Pym - A Division of General Practice Perspective
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Divisions of General Practice Network Forum last weekend in Adelaide.
One of the sessions on the 'Emerging GP/Pharmacy interface' was particularly pertinent to me, working as I do in the Melbourne Division of General Practice and I found the frank and open discussion on many issues very illuminating.
At the forefront of the presentations and following discussion was medication reviews both HMR and RMMR.
Several speakers outlined the success of these two initiatives in the regions they have worked - one in a rural setting and the other in metropolitan Perth.
Other speakers were a GP and several other pharmacists from 'official ' pharmacy bodies.
Terry Irvine - Community Pharmacist Perspective
It is now more than a month since we took over our pharmacy, and life is blissful.
Of course this may be because we do not understand the challenges that are facing us in the future. For the time being though, compared with all the other recent times I have spent in retail pharmacy my perception of what are small rural village attitudes is wonderful.