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Publication Date 01/04/2013         Volume. 5 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the April 2013 homepage edition of i2P – Information to Pharmacists.
We have featured two writers this month – Gerald Quigley for his article “Where is the Evidence” which is a rebuttal of some (not all) of Dr Ken Harvey's comments published in “The Conversation”, a blog that is open to academics attached to shareholder universities.
The second feature is an article written by Neil Retallick after visiting the APP Conference and titled “APP Conference paints a positive outlook for community pharmacy”.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for April 2013

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Feature Contribution

Where’s the Evidence?

Gerald Quigley

A recent article in The Conversation needs some comment. The Conversation is a daily online newsletter and can be very informative, but occasionally, old chestnuts are dragged out from the health sector.
Daily articles can be read at www.theconversation.edu.au
There is a recent article from Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University, Ken Harvey, published on March 21st, labeled “pharmacists should drop products that aren’t backed by evidence”.

Comments: 1

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APP Conference paints a positive outlook for community pharmacy

Neil Retallick

There was a record attendance at the recent Guild Conference on the Gold Coast.
Over four days these attendees listened a broad array of presentations with every stakeholder group in the pharmacy industry well represented with the exception of the Federal Government.
In contrast to last year, the collective view was an up-beat one for the future of community pharmacy in Australia.
This is not to say that challenges were not identified, quantified and evaluated but the prognosis was good.
Not only will the industry survive but it will prosper again, if not in the same way.

Comments: 1

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Why I joined APESMA/Professional Pharmacists Australia

Joseph Conway

Before 2011, I didn’t really take much notice of what was going on in Pharmacy.
I used to read journals pretty much so I would get enough points for APHRA CPD registration requirements and PSA membership was enough to accomplish this.
I, like many others, saw the Pharmacy Guild as the ultimate representatives of pharmacy and was happy when the 5CPA was signed, even if it seemed a bit rushed?

Comments: 3

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Community Pharmacy- the Next Industry to Take a Fall?

Neil Johnston

So many businesses have disappeared, contracted in size or modified to a dramatically different (but workable presentation).
As an example, we are currently seeing newspapers evolving into multiple new formats and the graphic representations below illustrate other familiar businesses.
Pharmacy is just as vulnerable.
You would have to be blind to not realise that there are many vested groups working towards the control of an alternative pharmacy model (as illustrated by the Coles notepad addition to their analgesics section).
Coles hit the nail on the head.
Selling drugs without good information does not work.
This leads to the thought that clinical services is definitely the future, because you can create your own brand in that world.

Comments: 1

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Renewing Your Professional Practice

Sartoretto Verna

Editor's Note: The climate of Australian community pharmacy is in transition from being a product-oriented supply service to that of an information-led clinical service environment.
At the moment there is a "gap" in the pharmacy marketplace for professional services.
Consumers are crying out for clinical conversations with pharmacists.
Pharmacists do seem to have lost their way and appear unable or unwilling to to fill this patient need.
What an opportunity for those who want to renew!

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I’ve been thinking about cavalier pilots, intrepid teens, arrogant adults, and overconfident caregivers.

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about cavalier pilots, intrepid teens, arrogant adults, and overconfident caregivers.
If I remember correctly, I was driving home from the airport while listening to an NPR clip about two airline pilots overflying their destination by 150 miles.
The commentator said they “lost situational awareness” while using laptop computers for personal activities.
I’m sure these pilots were not dumb, but what they did was stupid.

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Follow John Maxwell's lead

Harvey Mackay

Follow the leader.
It's more than just a child's game.
It's a fundamental skill in business.

John Maxwell is one of the most respected experts on the field of leadership.
He's written more than 70 books, most of them focused on leadership.
Many have graced the New York Times bestseller list.
You may have heard John preach on the Hour of Power broadcasts from the Crystal Cathedral.
John's clients range from a National Football League team to West Point and a Fortune 500 company.
More than 100,000 people listen to him every month and are members of the Maximum Impact Club.
He's the source of countless quotes that inspire the lives of millions of people daily.

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What Does it Mean To Be Innovative?

Chris Foster

In my last article I wrote that innovation is the key to success in challenging times.
This is particularly so in an industry that is currently experiencing major structural change, such as what is happening now in community pharmacy.
In these difficult times there is ever increasing pressure to discount to maintain or grow market share. And that may be an acceptable strategy where your market is growing.
However, I am a firm believer in the wise advice offered by Reed K. Holden, co-author of Pricing With Confidence.
His opinion is that pursuing a discounting strategy to pursue growth in a stagnant or declining market is fundamentally flawed - innovation is the key to growth (or market share preservation).
In fact, discounting is the easiest competitive strategy to copy.
The only winner in a price war is the one with the lowest input costs and/or the deepest pockets.

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Everything's negotiable - and here's how to do it

Harvey Mackay

During the Civil War, President Lincoln was urged by a friend to give up Forts Sumter and Pickens and all government property in the Southern states.
In reply, Lincoln said, "Do you remember the fable of the lion and the woodsman's daughter?"

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Niacin is the Safest and Most Effective Way to Control Cholesterol (But You'd Never Know it from the Media)

Staff Writer

Re-published from Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, March 21, 2013

(OMNS Mar 21, 2013) The health benefits of niacin are again being challenged.
Why?
The simple answer is to follow the money.
Cholesterol-controlling drugs are cash cows for the trillion-dollar-per-year pharmaceutical industry.
Niacin is cheap, non-prescription and safe. Drugs are much more dangerous and considerably less effective.
Niacin is not being attacked because it doesn't work.
Niacin is being attacked because it does work.

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APESMA Welcomes HMR Deal But More Detail Needed

Geoff March PhD B.Pharm

APESMA has cautiously welcomed an announcement today by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek that the HMR program would continue apparently with little change in the fee paid to the hundreds of pharmacists who provide the important program to Australian patients.
President of APESMA’s Pharmacy Division, Dr Geoff March, said more detail was required to assess the announcement but he welcomed the news that the HMR program would apparently include “virtually no change to the current fees for HMR or other vital medication management services under the Fifth Agreement.”

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Homeopathy - where to from here?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

It was our annual “girls get-together” and as we laughed and chatted over lunch, my good friend suddenly announced that she had become very 'modern' she was now going to a GP who prescribed homeopathic remedies.
I was aghast that a medically trained doctor was promoting placebos and told her so. 
A lively discussion followed.
Should I have kept silent?

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Marketing Focus: Personality Profiling

Barry Urquhart

Greetings.
Forget calls for monetary policy reform and interest rate reductions.
Neither will resolve the economic travails confronting Australia, and the world at this time. To many business owners and managers, Australia’s competitiveness is disadvantaged primarily because of the relatively higher interest rates and associated inflated value of the Australian dollar.
Be assured, any moves by the Australian Federal Government and/or the Reserve Bank of Australia to lower either or both will be met by similar actions by national governments around the world.
It will be a race to the bottom.
That is one event that will be hard to win.
The chorus line of calls for lower interest rates by numerous trade and professional associations’ spokespeople is well-intentioned, but largely misguided.
They will be more effective and on target with demands for governments to lower expenditure and deficits.
That will take strength.

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Things I've Been Reading

Steve Jenkin

Editor's Note: This month Steve shares his reading list (in part) and displays a great diversity of interests.
His focus is on climate change, climate change denial then swings across to medical failings, the world healthcare crisis- and wonders who is looking after patient and where is the accountability?
If you take the time to follow Steve's links you will find a wealth of detail, understanding and background to many topical Australian issues.

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Clamping Down on Nutritional Information In Europe, You'd Better Watch What You Say about Supplements

Staff Writer

Commentary by Gert Schuitemaker, PhD (Netherlands) and Andrew W. Saul (USA)

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, April 6, 2013

(OMNS Apr 6, 2013) The government of the Netherlands, one of 27 European Union countries, continues to clamp down on alternative medicine. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA, http://www.vwa.nl/english) has the tools in place to restrict communication of information about the beneficial effects of food and nutrients to promote health and effectively curb disease. And, most importantly, this bureaucracy makes all decisions as to how strict the rules are applied.
Netherlands law is backed up and strictly enforced by new EU rules based on very rigid codes regarding health claims for foods and dietary supplements. The power is held by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). These regulations are now in force in every European Union country.

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Virtual Retail Spaces - Transitioning to Elastic Environments

Neil Johnston

A quality product photograph, display space in a busy public space (or your own pharmacy), plus some QR bar codes, and you have an instant mini-retail operation.
Add to the mix some customers with smartphones and your low-overhead business is now a reality.
These types of stores allow for almost any environment to be easily transformed into retail space, with very low start-up costs and space requirements.
By utilizing simple technology, transitional urban spaces such as subways and train platforms, can be re-purposed for entirely new uses.

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Health Insurance to Find Itself Back in the Pharmacy Service Mix

Neil Johnston

Some pharmacists may well remember the days of health insurers being promoted through “bricks and mortar” pharmacy, as agents.
It was good business for pharmacies that recognised health insurance as an integral part of the professional services mix.
Private health cover created an opportunity for Pharmacists to talk with a customer about their health, what their needs were and what cover would best suit them.
It also facilitated conversation about customer health and medical conditions, a point from which to leverage other professional services on offer.
Many pharmacies held agencies with the likes of HCF, MBF and Medibank and even many of the smaller insurers.

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Antibiotic Resistance - Have all reasons been explored?

Peter Sayers

The rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms and their threat to human health has been reported on frequently in the medical press.
Pressure is being applied to the medical profession to reduce prescribing these substances and utilise other forms of treatment.
I decided to research the problem and very quickly found another reason for antibiotic resistance.
To say I was horrified is an understatement.
Antibiotics are regularly used in fruit orchards (mainly for apples and pears) and for some vine fruits e.g. kiwifruit.

Comments: 1

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Over The Horizon - Financial & Market Planning

Neil Johnston

I started writing this article a few weeks ago, the stimulus being an article by Stephen Duckett, published in The Conversation.
To me, this seemed to be the signal to attack pharmacy remuneration derived from the PBS.
Another idea was also forming up in my mind simultaneously, and that was is it now time to reduce dependency on the PBS and privatise a larger segment of prescription and health services.
Following on almost immediately another paper from the Grattan Institute titled Budget Pressures on Australian Governments and if they are correct in their analysis for future budgets, Australia is set to post annual deficits of around 4%  of GDP within a decade.
This paper also highlights health costs as rising to 2% of GDP.

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A Pharmacy Smokescreen?

Gerald Quigley

A series of Victorian State Government radio ads currently on air, are advising Victorians to be aware of “controlled burnoffs” in regional areas.
Smoke from these adventures often finds its way into suburban Melbourne, causing consternation amongst the residents.
Fire reports are made, triple zero called, resources wasted.
The ads suggest that if you normally have breathing difficulties, then stay indoors.
If those breathing difficulties don’t resolve, then seek you doctor’s advice, or call “Nurses Online” for their help.
Who has sold us out here?
Why isn’t the local well-informed, always available, pharmacist the source of reassuring information?

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Pharmacy Division of APESMA Becomes Professional Pharmacists Australia

Geoff March PhD B.Pharm

Australian pharmacists will have a stronger union than ever before due to brand new services, a significant injection of resources and a new name for the Pharmacy Division of APESMA.
Now to be known as Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA), the new union will offer CPD, strong, independent advocacy for employee pharmacists and a team of specialised legal experts to help resolve individual workplace problems.

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ASMI News Releases

Bob Bowden

Michelle Sollitt-Davis is the new PR manager for ASMI working under the direction of Bob Bowden.
She has released two news items just before we go to press. 

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APP Conference paints a positive outlook for community pharmacy

Neil Retallick

There was a record attendance at the recent Guild Conference on the Gold Coast.
Over four days these attendees listened a broad array of presentations with every stakeholder group in the pharmacy industry well represented with the exception of the Federal Government.
In contrast to last year, the collective view was an up-beat one for the future of community pharmacy in Australia.
This is not to say that challenges were not identified, quantified and evaluated but the prognosis was good.
Not only will the industry survive but it will prosper again, if not in the same way.

Comments: 1

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SHPA Media Releases

Staff Writer

About SHPA and JPPR

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) is the national professional organisation for over 3,000 pharmacists, pharmacists in training, pharmacy technicians and associates working across Australia’s health system. SHPA is the only professional pharmacy organisation with a core base of members practising in public and private hospitals and other health service facilities.

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Forget about plaque when diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease

Staff Researcher

An Australian study has shown that plaque, long considered to be the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, is one of the last events to occur in the Alzheimer’s brain.
This finding will impact the current debate about how best to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
PhD student Amanda Wright and Dr Bryce Vissel from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research studied a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease in order to identify early versus late disease mechanisms and markers.

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Social media decreases loneliness for older adults

Staff Researcher

Social media can be an effective tool for decreasing loneliness for older Australians according to new research conducted at the University of Sydney.
Social isolation can pose a significant problem for older adults especially for those who are house-bound, says Professor Robert Steele who led the Connecting Older Adults research project.

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Cognitive decline ‘reversed’ in one in four people

Staff Researcher

One in four elderly people with mild cognitive impairment – a precursor to dementia – naturally ‘reverts’ to normal cognition, research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) shows.
The findings challenge a popular belief that older people with mild cognitive problems always have a downhill course. The study, published in PLOS One, shows that some, in fact, get better.

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New ASMI complementary medicines post to tackle growth hurdles

Bob Bowden

Michelle Sollitt-Davis is the new PR manager for ASMI working under the direction of Bob Bowden.
She has released two news items this week

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Australian nurses return to Gallipoli

Staff Writer

Australian nurses are returning to Gallipoli for the 98th anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops, to care for Australian war veterans at the dawn.
University of Queensland School of Nursing and Midwifery Associate Professor Christine Neville is one of the nurses travelling to the historic World War I battlefield, following the footsteps of her ancestors.

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Nothing shameful about sexting

Staff Researcher

The legal penalties associated with sexting are too harsh, and adult reactions can increase young people’s sense of shame and stigma, according to a UNSW-led report on the practice of sending nude or semi-nude photos via text.
Young People and Sexting in Australia: ethics, representation and the law
,
 aims to inform Australian legal, educational, and policy responses to sexting. The research has been led by Dr Kath Albury from UNSW’s Journalism and Media Research Centre (JMRC) and Dr Kate Crawford from US Microsoft Research New England and JMRC.

Comments: 1

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Pharmedia - Clinical Services Development

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note: i2P has been watching for any new developments out of community pharmacy, taking the developing concept of clinical services to new levels.
Out of the APP Conference I noted one news report outlining some of the conditions that need to be in place to allow clinical services to flourish.
Mark Coleman has been asked to comment on the media item that follows.

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health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

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