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Volume 4 Number 1
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Volume 5 Number 1
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Volume 6 Number 1
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My view on our profession is patient based — what is best for the patient, so that he/she gets the right medication at the right time, right dose etc and that the medication is appropriate for the condition that the doctor is wishing to treat. Under the current arrangements, this basic necessity and duty of care, in my mind, has been neglected, resulting from overworked and over-stressed pharmacists and the technicians (who get almost as raw a deal as employed pharmacists do). This is a recipe for medical blunders and patient suffering as a result.
I have been following with some interest a series of postings on the web site ausphamlist.net.au about the 2010 salary scales for pharmacists proposed by Guild and Government. One, from a young pharmacist called John Kinsella here in Perth, caught my attention late last week. In this he argues quite vehemently that the proposed $26 per hour for a pharmacist with ten years experience is an insult, especially when compared to about $40 per hour for nurses working in the Health Direct program.Comments: 1
Over the years, one of the ambitions of pharmacists was to be able to 100% support a peak pharmacy body that represented all the factions and segments of the pharmacy profession.
Given the many and diverse perspectives that pharmacy can represent, the dream has become impossibly Utopian, as a “one size fits all” organisation has simply not materialised.
John Bronger, a past president of the Pharmaceutical Guild of Australia (PGA) recognised the problem during his reign and then commented that he could foresee a merger between the PGA and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) somewhere into the future.
Since that time the PGA has worked systematically to become the dominant organisation, eliminating influence from as many of the alternative organisations through some form of suppression, to the extent that the PGA executive have become affectionately known as the “bully boys”.
Robotic dispensing is definitely coming.
The robots will not go away.
They will change the face of pharmacy.
Label licking and manual pill counting in DAA’s should and will become a thing of the past, despite the current PBS insistence that medicines be only supplied in prescription sized packaging.
The weekend papers in Melbourne recently included more bad news for community pharmacy.
It is now possible to receive professional healthcare in Australian supermarkets.
It is even possible to have a prescription written.
Well, maybe not today but certainly before the end of August.
And actually, for the moment, there is only one supermarket involved – Costco.
Just once, I said, just once for a change I promised myself that when I write the next article for this prestigious rag, huh, publication, it will be in an upbeat manner.
With no whinging, no politics, no sarcasm and no despair. No sir. Next time I would write about the subject matter covering technology and the internet; good news will roll and rule.
The Rudd government is potentially on an intellectual property collision course that would make anything NASCAR could conjure up pale into insignificance.
In January 2003, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers vigoursly lobbied US negotiators for the Free Trade Agreement with Australia to mind its manners with regard to PBS pricing. The fear was that the Australian Government might bastardize PBS prices to a low level which would impinge on the ability of Drug Companies (presumably American) to invest in critical R&D and of course print money.
These discussions were conducted in an environment of concern on the part of the US that the combined party trick of Patent Law and the PBS might not be exactly to Uncle Sam’s liking.
They've always been around - those people promoting bizarre treatments for cancer and taking advantage of highly stressed patients, rapidly adding financial distress to their woes because they are now persuaded to purchase treatments at a very high cost, exacerbated because they do not work and completely lack evidence.
i2P writer, Loretta Marron, has been crusading on behalf of cancer patients (she is one), tracking down and exposing "shonky" practitioners and faulty treatments.
Some pharmacies (one would hope unwittingly) give credibility to some of these treatments, simply by having stock on the shelf. This continually devalues the credibility of all pharmacists.
Pharmacists can in fact be proactive in driving the "shonks" out of practice. Complaints can be made to health authorities without any patient involvement. Observations on practices that are not evidence-based and supported with a range of "expert" opinion are all that is required.
Source: nzherald.co.nz http://www.nzherald.co.nz
Turbulent times for Irish pharmacists have forced approximately 300 to withdraw from the government funded scheme. The trigger was a massive cut of approximately 34% of payments to Irish pharmacists. In a move reminiscent of Australian Pharmacy back in 1991, one wonders how the bureaucratic mind works, thinking that a cut of that size could be sustained in a private enterprise system.
Pseudoephedrine continues to attract more than its fair share of headlines and a solution to the problem is long overdue.
The following news item appears to be supportive to PGA efforts to get Project Stop up and running on a national basis, as well as expanding the list covered by the program to extend to other potential drugs that can be abused.
This exercise should validly attract a fee for service and would be a suitable program to centre other clinical pharmacy activities around.
It's time for government to get its collective head around the problem and to simply act.
Editor: Just every now and then you read something in the Pharmaceutical Press that really drives home how distorted the profession of pharmacy has become.
Since the very first edition of i2P I have been commenting on the problems associated with the location rules governing where pharmacies will set up, how far from each other they will be, and how a bureaucratically organised market place never quite keeps up with consumer expectation.
While i2P has been commenting on the various distortions in pharmacy since the year 2000, we do not necessarily enjoy the process.
It is highly frustrating to see the obvious and try to reverse the trend.
It's always a slow and laborious process, and we would much prefer supporting positive initiatives.
Over the same time we have seen the pharmacy labour market become disillusioned:
1. The opportunity for young pharmacists to go into business appears to be too daunting from a financial perspective. The location rules have artificially inflated the cost of a pharmacy through restricted PBS licencing.
2. Senior pharmacists have had no encouragement to stay on and become mentors because of the bad working conditions - long hours standing up, poor rest break conditions and sausage factory dispensing processes that prevent mentoring from taking place. Corporate memory of the profession resides with the seniors and that is often discounted.
In practice this means that the mistakes of the past continue to be repeated.
3. Pharmacists with clinical aspirations have become disillusioned because the PGA supports only the supply side of pharmacy. While core business in pharmacy is dispensing, the value-added component in the form of patient advice and support has always been the component that patients valued most.
It is this "goodwill" that brings patients out in political support of pharmacy - but even that activity has become distorted.
Goodwill is evaporating as pharmacy is being "found out" on many fronts.
Professional services have almost totally disappeared through the efforts of sausage factories and warehouse pharmacy models - both versions seeing professional services as not being profitable.
A profession is supposed to nurture its talent to ensure that the next generation of pharmacists is able to provide a better profession, to be shared by all participants.
The PGA has sold our profession short and for that, they cannot be forgiven.
Greed and power have corrupted the collective soul of the PGA.
Shannon Mullen, one voice for the future of pharmacy, put it more eloquently in a recent post to Auspharmlist.