Welcome to the August homepage edition of i2P – Information to Pharmacists.
As belt-tightening begins to occur in earnest throughout community pharmacy (coinciding with a nosedive in PBS gross profit for July 2013), options to correct the problem are rapidly disappearing.
i2P, back in 2010, originally forecast that the PBS would be reaching somewhere near the end of its life-cycle by 2015. All the indicators are in place for this to be a realistic date.
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The signs are strong that the practice of pharmacy needs a shake up.
Profits are said to be down, wages are low, job prospects poor andopportunities for new businesses out of reach of most young pharmacists.
It seems as though the responsibility that is taken on in ensuring the legal requirements are being met in supplying out to the consumer medicines (drugs) that have the potential to kill is just not
taken seriously to the extent that the price paid for the medicine is comparable to a bar of soap.
Editor's Note: This article is best read by clicking the link below "open this article full screen".
This month we are in Belgium to demonstrate a pharmacy that is owned by two doctors who are using the pharmacy as an extension of their practice.
In Australia, conflict of interest prevents ownership of pharmacies by a doctor, but in these days of uncertainty, that situation may not last indefinitely, particularly as pharmacists, in pursuit of survival, are extending their range of activity towards paid professional services.
Eventually the ownership line will blur and both supermarkets and doctors will look to own pharmacies.
PBS does not take to account the disruption its policies and pricing decisions provide and how that ultimately impacts on pharmacy's ability to maintain a quality service with certainty.
Pharmacy problems are similar around the world.
I’m really puzzled at the current attack on fish oil supplements, wherein claims are being made the taking fish oils raises your risk of prostate cancer.
Might this be another little sensational outburst from the anti-vitamin crowd?
There is a commonality among all pharmacists that despite all other differences that exist, there is still a binding force in just being a pharmacist. That binding force is simply defined as culture and what follows is a dictionary definition of culture:
cul·ture [kuhl-cher] noun, verb, cul·tured, cul·tur·ing. noun
1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3. a particular form or stage of civilisation, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5. the behaviours and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees had a fierce pride about always doing his best.
The Yankees were on the road for a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns.
The day was not only boiling hot, the Browns were last place in the league.
Despite this, DiMaggio made an off-hand comment that he was looking forward to playing that day
“In this heat!” said an amazed sportswriter. “How can you enjoy playing a doubleheader in stifling weather like this?”
Glancing toward the grandstand, DiMaggio said, “Maybe somebody out there has never seen me play before.”
Editor's Note: Chris Foster is an accountant with skills in social media marketing.
His approach to social media needs to be understood and adopted, particularly by those pharmacists who have ambitions to become clinical pharmacist practitioners and tap into a service stream of income not affected by government budgetary whims and vagaries. I am sure Chris would welcome any personal contact if you are unsure as to where to begin.
August 1, the universal official birth date for all horses.
In business, thoroughbreds are racing to embrace and deploy Big Data.
The concept Big Data has some of the characteristics and many of the outcomes and benefits of “just-in-time” production, effective supply chain management practices and on-line, real-time database interface.
Given static actual and forecasted sales figures and revenues, the allure of increased productivity and attendant increases in margins and decreases in operating costs is compelling.
On-going, immediate access to information provides management greater control, accords more flexibility in planning and better deployment of resources.
Competition is currently intense. That intensity is and will continue to increase with widespread and substantial investments in Big Data. It is providing a new and internal perspective on the concepts of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
Those with a view to the future will not resist this significant, rapidly-growing trend. Embrace it and be prepared to invest, regardless of where your business is in the supply chain.
I’ve been texting, I mean thinking about texting, as well as dialing, handwriting, and face-to-face talking in our hurry-up world.
These days we call the US Post Service [sic] snail mail. But in 1775, Ben Franklin’s innovation sped up letter travel between Philadelphia and San Francisco from forever to a few months.
In 1844, Samuel Morse accelerated message delivery exponentially. Transmitting words at the speed of light, the inventor’s telegraph made Abraham Lincoln our first online president, enabling the commander in chief to chat instantaneously with his generals on the front lines.
In 1862 the transcontinental railroad relegated the year-old Pony Express to mothballs by whisking letters from coast to coast at 30-some miles per hour in under ten days.
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 30, 2013 by Steve Hickey, PhD
(OMNS July 30, 2013) Naked mole-rats are highly resistant to cancer despite their living much longer than other small rodents.
While laboratory mice generally live less than three years and often die of cancer, mole-rats can live up to 30 years yet tumours are rare.
Researchers recently claimed that they had found an explanation.
It appears that naked mole-rats have a very strong tissue matrix based on a long-chain biomolecule called hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan).
Supplement users may recognise this molecule from its wide use in reversing arthritis along with other glycosaminoglycans such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
These supplements are used to regrow and reinforce damaged cartilage and other connective tissues. Similarly, hyaluronic acid helps mole-rats strengthen their tissues for tunnelling through soil and they have a particularly large version of the molecule.
An enzyme called hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic acid. This and related enzymes work slowly in mole-rats which allows hyaluronic acid to accumulate in their tissues.
What do you do if you are offered $23-26/hour to work as a pharmacist?
I have actually talked to a few pharmacists that they are in this situation who don’t see any future for themselves as pharmacists on these wages.
When you include the responsibility of the job as well as the considerable effort required to maintain registration (CPD done in your own time, Insurance, and Registration), you really have to wonder what you would do if you were a junior pharmacist offered such low wages.
I recently received a flyer from a local osteopath with an invitation to a one-off consultation for an osteopathic, orthopaedic and neurological examination.
I would receive a report of the findings - all for $20.00.
As I had always thought that osteopathy was a form of gentle massage for which there might be some evidence that it could help some musculo-skeletal conditions, I wondered what the consultation was about.
As the offer sounded too good to be true, I thought it warranted investigation.
Osteopathy has been around for nearly 150 years. With around 1,600 Australian osteopaths holding around 50,000 consultations weekly, does it work?
Last month my article covered the topic of stress. A condition often associated with stress is anxiety.
The national initiative to raise awareness of mental health issues, beyondblue, currently has a focus on anxiety.
There are some excellent resources on their website and I encourage all readers to take time to follow the link and investigate these resources www.beyondblue.org.au.
I have selected some of this information to include in this article.
When I was originally providing a wide range of consulting services to community pharmacies the first job to be performed was “The Survey” which formed the “heart” and direction for that particular consultancy.
One of the first metrics to be extracted was the sales mix and the data collected included PBS sales, private script sales, OTC sales and “other income” (in the form of commissions and rebates).
Once I had that minimum set of data I converted prescription sales to a percentage of total sales and that gave me my starting point for the assignment.
The last decade has been a difficult one for pharmacy in that it has lost its direction and can’t see how to re-invent itself or adjust its business model to one more professionally oriented.
One peculiar situation, not of its own making, is that pharmacy gets excluded from primary health care listings and activities, where the omissions are so blatant that you have to assume that it has been deliberate.
I personally believe that the medical profession has been the group most responsible for this and that their “collaborative” model representing primary care is one that excludes all health practitioners other than general practitioners.
That is never said out loud, of course.
What is said out loud is that primary care should be a collaborative model and that the modern form of delivery is the Medicare Local.
I’ve been thinking about the parlous state of community pharmacy, how it arrived to that point and what can be done about it.
That led me to think about the current political battle for hearts and minds , that will resolve in the coming September 2013 elections, and the money required to underwrite such a long campaign.
That brought me to political donations.
The following data is taken from the Australian Electoral Commission, which publishes the donations figures annually. It lists every donation over a "disclosure threshold" of $11,900 for 2011-12. It points out: "Many of these receipts are not donations and may represent, for example, subscription fees or proceeds of goods sold. Although not required by law, most political parties and associated entities mark each receipt as a 'donation' or an 'other receipt'."
Misinformation being spread by a coalition of groups purporting to represent consumers has been challenged by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The coalition, comprising the Consumer Health Forum, ACOSS and Choice, claims the pharmacy profession is trying to get the Government to back away from price disclosure which is providing cheaper medicines for consumers.
Australia’s pharmacists have been asked to voice their importance of penalty rates following media commentary this week suggesting that the business lobby is trying to cut penalty rates to pharmacists and other employees.
Sydney Addiction Seminar
Wednesday 21 August, 2013
Psychological techniques when people have substance use problems
"Refer them off for counseling!" - are commonly heard words where people have problems with alcohol and other drugs. What does “drug and alcohol counseling” actually mean? When is it useful? Is it ever inappropriate to refer for counseling? Can clinicians who ˜wear two hats”, like doctors, nurses, and case managers, effectively use these techniques? In this seminar Dr Andrew Baillie will take us through these questions, with some video illustrations of what works well, and what works less well.
Australia’s union of pharmacists, Professional Pharmacists Australia, today said it was concerned about the Pharmacy Guild’s failure to support pharmacists’ penalty rates – at least at their current rates.
President of Professional Pharmacists Australia, Dr Geoff March, said he was worried that penalty rates could be cut after the federal election with support of the Pharmacy Guild.
The National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) have recently discussed their desire to formalise and strengthen collaboration between the two organisations.
The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has today launched an interactive online induction course for the Australian Consumer Healthcare Industry.
The first-of-its-kind online resource is expected to become an industry standard, ensuring high levels of knowledge, compliance and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) promotion across the sector.
Key industry figures, analysts and commentators from Australia and abroad will join hundreds of delegates from the consumer healthcare industry on Thursday 14 November for a dynamic, robust discussion on the role of self care in a consumer-centred healthcare future at the 2013 Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference.
A few of the writers at i2P have been sharing ideas for developing paid professional services.
We have come to the view that a whole of profession culture change is required for pharmacists to fully realise their objectives in this area.
Individual pharmacists are well on the way to developing their own view of this brave new world.
We all sense that it is achievable but we also know that we may only get one shot at launching such a project and we worry that if we “stuff up” for ourselves we may impact the whole of the pharmacy profession adversely.
We also need unity of purpose among all pharmacists and perhaps this is the single issue that could eliminate tribal divisions and allow proper planning to occur.