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Publication Date 01/05/2014         Volume. 6 No. 4   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the May 2014 homepage edition for i2P.
Well this might be the month where we see a tipping-point with pharmacists, normally being very mild-mannered, becoming enraged by the Abbott government as they try to hide behind a very disengaged Commission of Audit.
While delivering a list of items to cut in cost they have not coupled these cuts with any social engagement or serious proposals to re-organise pharmacy to be the actual cost-cutting mechanism for health.
We are all aware that pharmacists retrained to deliver clinical services, properly funded and encouraged, would solve many of the problems in health.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Items for May 2014

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

Amateur Hour with the Commission of Audit

Neil Johnston

i2P doesn't normally venture into party politics, but it is almost impossible not to offer comment on the clumsy and amateurish politics of Tony Abbott and his approach to health.
Admittedly, the ideas being floated by his Commission of Audit are based only on cost saving and don't have to be taken up by the Abbott government, but you can't help feeling that the Commission of Audit got the germ for its recommendations direct from the horse's mouth.
And in no way are they balanced with the values of a social contract that has been building since Federation.

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Al Huwail Pharmacy, Fahad al Salem, Kuwait Building, Kuwait City

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

The Project

The Al Huwail Pharmacy is located in a skyscraper in the financial district of Kuwait City.
The project was rather complex due to the space being spread over three floors and the additional prerequisites of Dr. Mohamad Elchammaa who also distributes electro-medical equipment as part of his product base.
Sartoretto Verna’s mission was to create a showroom inside the pharmacy.
The challenge was to come up with the revolutionary concept that could exhibit products associated with ill-health and hospitals in a positive light.

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Crisis Times Upon Us - Look at the Aldi Business Model

Neil Johnston

Ever since i2P began publishing it has been warning about the problems of pharmacy.
In particular, the PGA misinterpretation of its role and its damage to the entire fabric of pharmacy.
Also, the encroachment of government in the practice of pharmacy and the negative impacts of managed care through a centralised PBS.
Pharmacy is now very close to the end of a long survival dance, never once looking at an alternative strategy to break down the dominance of the PBS.

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Bullying?

Gerald Quigley

The Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) appeared on the scene a few years ago, suggesting that only scientifically proven modalities are given any credence at all in the overall health scene in Australia.
Interestingly, the “sting” seems to have gone out of their tail as far as support within the medical profession is concerned.
So quite predictably, what happens next?……they appeal to pharmacists to support their cause.

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A broader public debate is needed about how to build a sustainable healthcare system

Marie Kelly-Davies

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that consensus is lacking about how to build a sustainable healthcare system because alternatives have not been consideredin a systematic and transparent way.
“We all acknowledge that health costs are blowing out and that we need a more sustainable healthcare system,” said Dr Deon Schoombie, ASMI Executive Director.
However,we have not had a public debate about alternative approaches to creating this system. “

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What Next? Hospitals That are in to Palm Reading

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about New Orleans, positive-patient identification, and whether or not I should have my palm read.
Stumbling onto “South Carolina’s Homepage,” The State, I read about some hospitals that are into reading palms, which prompted me to rush over to wikihow.com to brush up on the subject.
The brief preamble of How to Read Palms says, “The objective is to evaluate a person's character or future by studying the palm of their hand,” followed by nuts and bolts:
Step One: Choose a hand.

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Get Connected - Communication Disconnect

Barry Urquhart

Productivity, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Relevance.  Each is a meritorious outcome, but which is best?  It’s a personal choice.
In an increasingly complex, time-poor, dynamic and changing business environment, measuring, monitoring, refining and developing one’s own key performance indicators is challenging and somewhat subjective.
As a business strategist and consumer behaviour analyst I have a particular passion for WHY.  The concepts and applications of WHAT, HOW, WHEN and WHERE are, in reality, manifestations and the consequences of WHY.
Given challenging national and sectional economies, heightened competitive actions, rampant price and fee discounting and significant structural changes, many business owners, managers and employees busy themselves doing things.
Which raises the question: Why?  In many instances little impact is achieved, additional sales and revenue are isolated and little or no competitive advantage is evidenced.

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PSA Shows Signs of Positive Movement

Staff Writer

While all pharmacists wait for leadership organisations to “lead” there has been one positive sign that has emerged from the recent PSA Branch Committee Elections.
A record number of Pharmaceutical Society of Australia members voted in the Branch Committee elections which were declared recently.
National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the turn out reflected a growing desire by PSA members to have a greater say in the organisation and how it addressed the challenges facing the pharmacy profession.

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DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE AUDIT COMMISSION, SUPERMARKETS ARE ALREADY HERE

Professional Pharmacists Australia Spokesperson

Professional Pharmacists Australia has responded to the specific recommendation of the National Commission of Audit that ownership and location rules should be deregulated by pointing out that as a result of discount pharmacy chains, supermarkets are effectively already in pharmacy.
Professional Pharmacists Australia president Dr Geoff March said, “The outrage of the Guild regarding supermarkets entering pharmacy completely ignores the fact that, to quote the recent KordaMentha report into pharmacy, thanks to Chemist Warehouse there are now ‘supermarkets within pharmacies’,” Dr March said.

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The pitfalls of weaving a “tangled web”

Harvey Mackay

I was fortunate to attend the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Arlington, TX, earlier this month. 
It’s my absolute favorite sporting event, in part because of the intense competition and will to succeed demonstrated by the players.
In doing my research before the game – and I study the teams and coaches intently – I came across a blog from Jim Tunney, the “Dean of NFL Refs,” who spent 31 years officiating pro football. 
In that time, he’s seen it all. 
His insights are spot on.His topic was “flopping,” defined as “an intentional fall by a player with little or no contact by an opposing player in order to draw a personal foul call by a game official.”
For the record, I hate flopping.  It sets a bad example.  Unfortunately flopping has filtered through all levels of basketball. 

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Vaccine Ingredient List - Hidden in Plain Sight

Judy Wilyman

It has been brought to my attention that many doctors are unaware of the ingredients of vaccines.
I will provide here a link to the ingredients of vaccines that is presented by the Australian government. However, this list is not available to parents on the government's Immunise Australia Program (IAP) website.
This list is provided under the heading "Components of Vaccines" in Appendix 3 of the Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th Ed).

Comments: 2

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HPV Vaccine is not Evidence-Based

Judy Wilyman

HPV vaccines are being promoted to the public by doctors who are educated about their safety and efficacy by the pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccines. Doctors have been educated about the link between HPV infection and cervical cancer with slides and lecture notes that were prepared by the pharmaceutical companies.
These slides have not provided complete information to doctors about the cause of cervical cancer and as yet HPV vaccines have not been proven to prevent cervical cancer.
They have also not been proven to be safe.
Here is a Letter to the Editor of the Infectious Agents and Cancer Journal by Tomljenovic et al 2013 that
presents this information http://www.infectagentscancer.com/content/pdf/1750-9378-8-6.pdf

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Annus horribilis for homeopathy?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

It's now official: according to Australia's peak medical research body, homeopathy works no better than placebo.
Three years on and $140,000 after their first report, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has re-confirmed that "evidence from research in humans does not show that homeopathy is effective". This has been reported in the UK, US, Brazil, India and Pakistan, so it’s big news.
Where did this all start?

Comments: 1

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Taking care of the well-being of pharmacists – are you willing to contribute?

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Pharmacists caring for pharmacists

Calls to the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) have more than doubled in the last 12 months – over 100 calls were received by the service between 1 July 2013 and 28 February 2014. This is not unexpected given the pressure the profession is under at present. Calls cover a wide range of issues from serious health issues through to moral support in a difficult situation. The basis of the service is pharmacists supporting pharmacists by provision of a listening ear. All these calls were taken by unpaid volunteers who commit not only to participating in a roster to take calls but also to regular training sessions six times a year to maintain their skills. The service would not exist without these volunteers who number at about 20 pharmacists from a variety of backgrounds. In addition there is a committee of management who also generously contribute their time to oversee governance of the service.

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Changing the Medical Paradigm

Peter Sayers

We know that global pharma’s are seeking ways and means to convert the Australian health system to a US version, or some suitable hybrid that would privatize the profits of the health system and simultaneously socialize the costs (losses) contained within that same system.
This is what the US already has – the most expensive health system in the world with the worst health outcomes.
The Australian system has conversely, been a great benefit to its citizens because the Australian government has had the resources to stand up to global pharma and keep it in check – until the next systematic onslaught.

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What a Good Idea!

Neil Johnston

London and New York are leading the world in redesigning their public telephone boxes by turning a lemon into an orange, and creating free Wi-Fi centres.
The idea will eventually transfer to Australia and because it could double as a permanent promotion for the National Broadband Network (NBN), herein lies an opportunity for entrepreneurial pharmacists.
Why not offer face-to-face informational seminars or consultations for a fee?
We are currently seeing Priceline take the first steps in offering Skype GP consultations in-store, copying an idea developed by Lloyds Pharmacy in the UK (and publishe in i2P about 18 months ago).
The above idea just takes it further and customises it to pharmacy.

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Is This The Ultimate in Food Replacement?

Staff Writer

A product with the name of Soylent may soon appear in health food stores, supermarkets and pharmacies within Australia.
It's more a functional food composite made from food components.
It contains all nutrients essential to sustain good health and is lower in cost than actual food.
While not a glamorous item it does have promise for people who want to spend time space travelling, or aid agencies who need to extend their budget.
It also has the potential to take pressure off the environment through the elimination of farms - both agricultural broad acre and animal farms.
Climate change may eventually force the use of food replacements such as Soylent as entire foods disappear because of hostile changes in climate.
Soylent is an interesting concept, and it was originally reported in The New Yorker.

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Medicare Locals Declared Lacking

Mark Coleman

Medicare Locals were born with high ideals and basically were designed to improve quality of health and reduce the “wearing” of patient shoe leather, incurred through having to visit a range of health professionals in different locations.
They were also created in the belief that a service of this type did not necessarily have to be led by a doctor and that health conditions are best treated by the health professionals most suited-not necessarily a doctor.
Also, the boards of these organisations were to be made up from a range of different health practitioners and not be dominated by doctors.

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eHealth on the move again

Neil Johnston

Portability, versatility and increasing computer performance of tablets are bringing completely new experiences, changing how we enjoy entertainment, shop, gather information, communicate and blend our digital and real worlds.
Their use in health systems in the US is being taken up by the patients themselves who want to control as much of their treatments as they can, as a means of containing their health bills.
Thus mHealth (mobile health) was born which shows the promise of flexibility and versatility and lower development costs because patients bear most of the up-front costs
As this article was being written the Australian government budget was being delivered which contained (among other “nasties”) a $7 co-payment for all doctor visits for all patients. This would be unsustainable for the majority patients (seniors) given also that the value of pensions will also erode over time.
The current model simply has to be re-invented and made more cost effective.

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Changing Up To a Pharmacy Clinical Service

Peter Sayers

With the advent of co-payments becoming a reality in medical practices, there will be an impact on doctor visits and how patients will source their future services.
Those pharmacists, who have been working in a clinical service space to deliver primary health care services, may now find that patients may select a pharmacy provider as an alternative.
This is an opportunity that should not be let go.
While there has been some momentum in pharmacy in regard to marketing a range of clinical services, the field is wide open for clinical pharmacists, particularly those that do not own pharmacies, to put together a package that would be attractive to an established pharmacy business, and create strong business alliances.
It is obvious that pharmacy leadership organisations to not have the right policies in place to lead their members, so these members will break from the party line of the past and formulate their own direction.
They must do this or perish in an obsolete business model.

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Depression is detectable in the blood

Staff Writer

 Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have demonstrated the possibility of using a blood test to detect depression.
While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, a recent study clearly indicates that, in principle, depression can in fact be diagnosed in this way and this could become reality in the not too distant future.
Serotonin transporter (SERT) is a protein in the cell membrane that facilitates the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin (popularly known as the "happiness hormone") into the cell. In the brain, serotonin transporter regulates neural depression networks.
Depressive conditions can frequently be caused by a lack of serotonin.
As a result, the serotonin transporter is also the point of action for the major antidepressant drugs.

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National Volunteer Week 2014 – say thanks to the Pharmacists’ Support Service and give a tax deductible donation now.

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

National Volunteer Week, which runs from 12th to 18th May, is an ideal time to acknowledge the work of the pharmacists who support their colleagues as volunteers with the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS). About 20 pharmacists professionally trained for this role work behind the scenes to provide telephone support service to Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students who call to discuss issues causing stress in their lives.
Although this news item is published after the promoted period, donations can be made at any time.

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The Commission of Audit - A Real Can of Worms

Neil Johnston

Pharmedia is a regular monthly column whereby media reports published by other media groups are analysed and examined by i2P writers.

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health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

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