It looks as though our Newsflash Column has found favour with our readers.
One article “Analysis: The Pharmacy Alliance and API Dispute” drew record numbers of page reads which illustrates the intense interest that is being generated by the unpopular Pfizer Direct delivery system.
One cannot but help feel that because of the unfair motivation and callous indifference to pharmacy patients that Pfizer will eventually regret this move as pharmacists keep snipping at the business model, to either make it work or bring it down.
It will take a little while to engineer a “work around” – but it will come.
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Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.
Most people aim to do right; they just fail to pull the trigger.
For whatever reason, they just don't have the wherewithal to finish the job.
They are lacking discipline.
"Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built.
Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure," said the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn.
As the grind to remain profitably afloat continues to wear down community pharmacy on multiple fronts, the ability to pare down operating costs has become quite limited.
What can be done better, or done away with if it is under-performing?
In any review process it is inevitable that you will eventually have to come face-to-face with franchise marketing costs and wholesaler supply costs.
There is no distinct brand loyalty in the community pharmacy market. Consumers consider all brands pretty much the same. Is this good or bad?
The recent results from the Roy Morgan customer satisfaction survey provide no surprises for anybody. The spread from best to worst pharmacy brand was only 4 percentage points.
I’ve been thinking about pacifism, catechism, patient-recollection, and specimen-collection.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to become insensitive to statistics about lives taken by bullets and bombs. Similarly, it’s easy to grow numb to oft-rehearsed statistics like seven thousand patients dying each year from medication errors, which happens to be nearly seven times the U.S. troops we lost each year at the peak of the war in Iraq.
This is to say nothing of patients injured and lives lost from specimen-collection errors and laboratory mix-ups. Has anyone seen statistics on this? I’ve not been able to dig up the data, but the media has put a human face on the problem for us.
Mandatory reporting of health practitioners came into effect on 1 July 2010 and applies to all registered health professionals including the pharmacy profession.
This is the first time that Australian pharmacists have been subject to such legislation although there has always been a professional and ethical duty to protect the public.
Guidelines, including decision guides, are available from the Pharmacy Board of Australia at http://www.pharmacyboard.gov.au/Codes-and-Guidelines.aspx.
These guidelines are certainly worth reading in order to gain a complete understanding of this new requirement for pharmacists.
The suggestion by some leading Australian retailers that consumers are "cocooning" is, perhaps, understandable but misplaced.
All consumer groups are alive, well and consuming.
However, their needs, wants, demands and buying patterns have changed, substantially, and possibly permanently.
It would be wrong at this time for businesses to significantly cut back, to differing measures, and to become inert, in the belief that existing, prospective and past buyers have done similar.
Some will contend that it is the "discretionary purchase" market segment that has been the most affected and is the worst performing.
Well, that is true in part.
What has happened is that the "excess" component of consumer expenditures has been eliminated from most segments of the overall marketplace.
"Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to."
When Henry Ford said those oh-so-true words, he wasn't just talking about himself -- even though he is the epitome of determination. He went belly-up several times, but never lost sight of his goal.
He believed in himself and in what he was doing.
In the end, he was so right.
A PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY IS NEEDED AND JUSTIFIED
Submissions closing date – 30th June 2011
Report due to Parliament – 18th August 2011
After ten years of an improved way of providing Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme medicines to remote living Aboriginals there are major flaws to the system introduced to resolve the question of access in places where there is no mainstream pharmacy available.
Over the years I have noticed that patients respond positively to any interaction with them that is genuinely educational, and most importantly, gives them the knowledge to provide some of their own input into management of their condition, independent of their GP, pharmacist or any other health professional.
Surprisingly, not all the knowledge transfer is directly related to drug or condition knowledge.
Some years ago when I was working as a clinical pharmacist in a public hospital I turned up at a patient’s bedside with some drug information to assist this patient recover from his recent heart attack.
I had prepared a medicines use review and other supportive information for the patient to take home with him, after a discharge planned for the following morning.
In a recent UK newsletter published by PJ online I noticed a small commentary which stated:
“GPs need to be incentivised to work more closely with pharmacists, according to Graham Phillips, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English pharmacy board.
His comments were made at an All-Party Pharmacy Group meeting last week, looking at how pharmacists can help improve outcomes for patients with long-term conditions.”
The reference was directed towards the introduction of medicine use reviews, a process already established in Australia.
Editor's Note: There have been recent calls for the rapid introduction of e-prescriptions given that NEHTA is now looking at a 5-year introduction period.
The Medical Observer reported recently:
"AXE paper prescriptions from July next year: that is the call on Government from the head of one of Australia’s leading electronic prescribing service operators.
Speaking at the 8th Annual Future of the PBS conference in Sydney last week, MediSecure CEO Phillip Shepherd said if the Government was serious about meeting its 1 July 2012 deadline for the introduction of a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) it must get e-prescriptions working first.
Mr Shepherd told MO decisive action was needed to encourage the adoption of e-prescriptions by making them the only means by which a patient could access medications."
"National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) clinical lead and Melbourne GP Dr Chris Pearce said he supported imposing a deadline for e-prescribing but said a five-year deadline would be more feasible."
Increased intakes of compounds called flavonoids from citrus may be associated with lower levels of markers of inflammation, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard, Sweden and Singapore.
Data from between 1,200 and 1,600 women showed that women with the highest intakes of total flavonoids, which includes various subclasses such as flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanidins, and polymeric flavonoids, were associated with an 8 percent lower level of the pro-inflammatory compound interleukin-18 (IL-18), compared with women with the lowest intake.
Prospects for recovery of lost vision have brightened with the release of new scientific findings showing that the use of gentle near infra-red light can reverse damage caused by exposure to bright light, up to a month after treatment.
Dr Krisztina Valter and doctoral researcher Rizalyn Albarracin of The Vision Centre and The Australian National University have successfully demonstrated recovery of vision cells in the retina following near infra-red treatment applied after damage was sustained.
New European Union rules come into force today banning hundreds of traditional herbal remedies.The EU law aims to protect consumers from possible damaging side-effects of over-the-counter herbal medicines.
In Australia, herbal medicines that have caused concern have been progressively classified under the Poison Schedules, with seemingly few adverse events reported.
Most Australian issues centre around practitioner claims and product standardisation.
For the first time in the EU, new regulations will allow only long-established and quality-controlled medicines to be sold.
But both herbal remedy practitioners and manufacturers fear they could be forced out of business.To date, the industry has been covered by the 1968 Medicines Act, drawn up when only a handful of herbal remedies were available and the number of herbal practitioners was very small.
Serious skin infection rates in New Zealand children have increased markedly over the last two decades according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.
More than 100 children a week are now being admitted to New Zealand hospitals for treatment of skin infections with most needing intravenous antibiotics and one-third requiring surgery.
The study by Associate Professor Michael Baker, Dr Cathryn O’Sullivan and colleagues has been published in the international journal Epidemiology and Infection. For the first time it comprehensively details the high rate of serious skin infections amongst New Zealand children.
Groundbreaking research in quantum light source led by the University of Sydney will result in information speeds many times faster and data that is almost impossible to hack.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that it will finance the development of a programme to develop a Thorium Fuelled Molten Salt Reactor (TFMSR). This is first of four “strategic leader in science and technology projects” that the Chinese Academy of Science will be supporting.
The Head of the Chinese TFMSR programme is Dr Jiang Mianheng, Graduate of Drexel University, with a PhD in electrical engineering. His father Jiang Zemin, was the former President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003. This gives an indication of the importance the Chinese Leadership attach to the TFMSR programme.
New pharmaceutical products based on plants used in traditional Cook Island remedies could be on sale within two years, following research carried out at UNSW.
Dr Graham Matheson, who grew up in the Cook Islands and is now an emergency physician in Sydney, is undertaking a PhD at UNSW about the plants.
His interest in traditional remedies was ignited in 2003 after two sporting teammates made spectacular recoveries from serious bone fractures after they used traditional plant-based remedies.
The Slow Food in Australia organisation has posted the following comments on their website, drawing attention to the enormous market concentration of retail sales that exists in the hands of Woolworths and Coles.
No other western economy allows this type of market power to develop.
Australian laws only look at the prinicpal market in which an acquisition might occur with no consideration to the total market power the duopoly controls.
Perhaps it is just in time that political feelings about market concentrations and the misuse of market power are beginning to be realised from a broader perspective, and this could eventually work in favour of Pharmacy in its fight to retain ownership of pharmacies within the profession.
Damage done to local economies is not always seen e.g. the recent price wars involving milk, that do nothing to support farmers and the nation's need for food security; instead we see a pseudo-campaign purporting to embrace consumer's rights to cheaper prices.
And receiving cheaper prices is problematical as was recently exposed through a recent TV survey into global retail prices. Australian supermarkets were almost double of any of their global counterparts.
The destruction of local farm economies has to be seen in the context of unemployment and loss of local investment that impacts across all businesses.
This has to be a factor when government is weighing up the misuse of market power.
Well-known researcher and academic Con Berbatis of Curtin University of Western Australia’s School of Pharmacy will speak on invitation in the Fifth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy to be held in Utrecht the Netherlands, 23-24 May 2011.
He will address and participate in the session entitled ‘ Prescription opioids : managing an epidemic of diversion and misuse’ .
Editor's Note: After the implementation of many prior strategies it appears that government has found a sensitive spot by attacking the marketing basis of tobacco promotion - brand power!
The following analysis by Professor Simon Chapman makes interesting reading.
British American Tobacco's long-threatened campaign against plain packs kicked off today. Has there ever been a more complete demonstration of Shakespeare's "the lady doth protest too much"?
It's now very plain the global tobacco industry sees the move as arguably the greatest single threat it has ever faced, and is spending millions to say that — really, honestly — plain packs just won't work and will cause chaos throughout the economy. I've done many interviews on this in the past year and even normally sceptical radio hosts quickly make the point that ordinary Australians are asking "well, if it won't work, why are they so concerned and spending all this money?"
The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is now offering financial support for pharmacists affected by the floods via the funds raised by our joint flood appeal with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The flood appeal was set up to provide relief to any pharmacists affected by wide-ranging floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
(Click for application form)
In a departure from our normal Pharmedia content I was intrigued to find that "medical marijuana" had achieved a position of "normalcy" in some states of America.
Although I personally hold traditional views about this type of drug, it is not going to go away as a social problem under our current regime.
Then I got to thinking about the parallel problems of injecting heroin, nicotine addiction and alcohol addiction and whether there was potential for treating these problems with pharmacist-supervised and limited sale of these types of products.
I therefore asked Mark Coleman to comment and his commentary appears below the article following: