s The Ascendancy of Warwick Plunkett | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for July 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

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

It started with “tablet” computers deployed on shelves inside the retailer Coles, specifically to provide information to consumers relating to pain management and the sale of strong analgesics.
This development was reported in i2P under the title Coles Pharmacy Expansion and the Arid PGA Landscape”
In that article we reported that qualified information was a missing link that had come out of Coles market research as the reason to why it had not succeeded in dominating the pain market.
Of course, Woolworths was working on the same problem at the same time and had come up with a better solution - real people with good information.

Comments: 5

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Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

Editor's Note: The understanding of a pharmacy's presentation through the research that goes into the design of fixtures and fittings that highlight displays, is a never-ending component of pharmacy marketing.
Over the past decade, Australian pharmacy shop presentations have fallen behind in standards of excellence.
It does not take rocket science - you just have to open your eyes.
Recently, our two major supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have entered into the field of drug and condition information provision - right into the heartland of Australian Pharmacy.

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The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

I attended the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Brisbane recently.
What an eye and ear opening event that was!
Young Mums, mature Mums, partners of all ages, grandparents and friends……...many asking about health issues and seeking reassurances that they were doing the right thing.

Comments: 1

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‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

It should be the scandal of the century.
It potentially affects the health of almost everyone.
Healthcare providers and consumers alike should be up in arms. But apart from coverage in a few credible news sources the problem of ‘Marketing Based Medicine,’ as psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry terms it, hasn’t as yet generated the kind of universal outrage one might expect.

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Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

Government funding is always scarce and restricted.
If you are ever going to be a recipient of government funds you will need to fortify any application with evidence.
From a government perspective, this minimises risk.
I must admit that while I see evidence of research projects being managed by the PGA, I rarely see community pharmacists individually and actively engaged in the type of research that would further their own aims and objectives (and survival).

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Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

Most of us leave a tremendous impact on pharmacies we work for (as proprietors, managers, contractors or employees)—in ways we’re not even aware of.
But organisational memories are often all too short, and without a central way to record that impact and capture the knowledge and individual contributions, they become lost to time.
It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral.

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Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see

Staff Writer

This article was first published in The Conversation and was written by Wendy Lipworth, University of Sydney and Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney
In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care.
i2P has republished the article as it supports our own independent and ongoing investigations on how drug companies are involved in marketing-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

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I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

Editor's Note: This is an early article by Mark Neuenschwander we have republished after the soul-searching surrounding a recent Australian dispensing error involving methotrexate.
Hmm. There’s more than one way you could take that, huh? Like Someday when I get around to it (I’m not sure) I may admit that I was wrong about something. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the concept of admitting wrong. So don’t get your hopes up. No juicy confessions this month except that I wish it were easier for me to admit when I have been wrong or made a mistake.
Brian Goldman, an ER physician from Toronto, is host of the award-winning White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio and slated to deliver the keynote at The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Anaheim this May. His TED lecture, entitled, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about it?” had already been viewed by 386,072 others before I watched it last week.

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Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

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

Most readers will be aware of recent publicity relating to dispensing errors and in particular to deaths caused by methotrexate being incorrectly packed in dose administration aids.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA), in its Communique of 13 June 2014, described a methotrexate packing error leading to the death of a patient and noted “extra vigilance is required to be exercised by pharmacists with these drugs”.
This same case was reported by A Current Affair (ACA) in its program on Friday 20 June

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Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, “Gosh, do I need a vacation.”
Of course you have – because all work and no play aren’t good for anyone.
A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks on a tropical island, or even a long weekend at the beach. 
A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities. 
A change of pace. 
It doesn’t matter where.
Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. 
But did you also know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off? 
Call it your personal stimulus package.

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Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

This article was first published in the Conversation. It caught our eye because "peer review" it is one of the standards for evidence-based medicines that has also been corrupted by global pharma.
The article is republished by i2P as part of its ongoing investigation into scientific fraud and was writtenby Andre Spicer, City University London and Thomas Roulet, University of Oxford
We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean?
How does it work?
Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists' work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already knew.
Most scientific journals, conferences and grant applications have some sort of peer review system. In most cases it is “double blind” peer review. This means evaluators do not know the author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the evaluators.
The intention behind this system is to ensure evaluation is not biased.
The more prestigious the journal, conference, or grant, the more demanding will be the review process, and the more likely the rejection. This prestige is why these papers tend to be more read and more cited.

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Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

While dining out with an elderly friend, I noticed that he kept his false tooth plate in his shirt pocket. He had recently had seven amalgam-filled teeth removed, because he believed that their toxins were making him sick; but his new plate was uncomfortable. He had been treated by an 'holistic dentist'. Claiming to offer a "safe and healthier alternative" to conventional dentistry, are they committed to our overall health and wellbeing or are they promoting unjustified fear, unnecessarily extracting teeth and wasting our money?

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Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

We are now entering a new financial year and it’s a great time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.
It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.
The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

Welcome to the new financial year in Australia.
For many in business the past year has been described as a challenging period.
Adjectives are a key feature of the English language.  In the business lexicon their use can be, and often is evocative and stimulate creative images.  But they can also contribute to inexact, emotional perceptions.
Throughout the financial pages of newspapers and business magazines adjectives abound.
References to “hot” money draw attention and comment.  The recent wave of funds from Chinese investors, keen to remove their wealth from the jurisdiction and control of government regulations is creating a potential property bubble in Australia.

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Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy culture is dormant.
Being comprised of values, unless each value is continually addressed, updated or deleted, entire organisations can stagnate (or entire professions such as the pharmacy profession).
Good values offer a strong sense of security, knowing that if you operate within the boundaries of your values, you will succeed in your endeavours.

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Evidence-based medicine is broken. Why we need data and technology to fix it

Staff Writer

The following article is reprinted from The Conversation and forms up part of our library collection on evidence-based medicines.
At i2P we also believe that the current model of evidence is so fractured it will never be able to be repaired.
All that can happen is that health professionals should independently test and verify through their own investigations what evidence exists to prescribe a medicine of any potency.
Health professionals that have patients (such as pharmacists) are ideally placed to observe and record the efficacy for medicines.
All else should confine their criticisms to their evidence of the actual evidence published.
If there are holes in it then share that evidence with the rest of the world.
Otherwise, do not be in such a hurry to criticise professions that have good experience and judgement to make a good choice on behalf of their patients, simply because good evidence has not caught up with reality.

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Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One

Staff Writer

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 25, 2014
Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One
by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS July 25, 2014) Niacin has been used for over 60 years in tens of thousands of patients with tremendously favorable therapeutic benefit (Carlson 2005).
In the first-person NY Times best seller, "8 Weeks to a Cure for Cholesterol," the author describes his journey from being a walking heart attack time bomb to a becoming a healthy individual.
He hails high-dose niacin as the one treatment that did more to correct his poor lipid profile than any other (Kowalski 2001).

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Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

Deep within all of us we have a core set of values and beliefs that create the standards of behaviour that we align with when we set a particular direction in life.
Directions may change many times over a lifetime, but with life experiences and maturity values may increase in number or gain greater depth.
All of this is embraced under one word – “culture”.
When a business is born it will only develop if it has a sound culture, and the values that comprise that culture are initially inherent in the business founder.
A sound business culture equates to a successful business and that success is often expressed in the term “goodwill” which can be eventually translated to a dollar value.

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

The brave new world of health and wellness is not the enemy of Pharmacy, it is its champion.
Australian futurist, Morris Miselowski, one of the world's leading business visionaries, will present the Opening Keynote address on Pharmacy's Future in the new Health and Wellness Landscape at 2.00pm on Wednesday July 30.
Morris believes the key to better health care could already be in your pocket, with doctors soon set to prescribe iPhone apps, instead of pills.
Technology will revolutionise the health industry - a paradigm shift from healthcare to personal wellness.
Health and wellness applications on smartphones are already big news, and are dramatically changing the way we manage our personal health and everyday wellness.

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Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: We have had a number of articles in this issue relating to pharmacy research.
The PGA has conducted a number of research initiatives over the years, including one recently reported in Pharmacy News that resulted from an analysis of the QCPP Patient Questionnaire.
Pharmacy Guild president, George Tambassis, appears to have authored the article following, and there also appears to be a disconnect between the survey report and its target audience illustrated by one of the respondent comments published.
I have asked Mark Coleman to follow through, elaborate and comment:

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The Ascendancy of Warwick Plunkett

Neil Johnston

articles by this author...

Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy

Prior to negotiations commencing for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA) the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia agreed that the two organisations would present a unified front in their dealings with government.

That did not happen and many details of the 5CPA were completed in secrecy and without the appropriate input by the PSA.

Explanations were later offered by the PGA, but they rang a little hollow and were certainly outside of the spirit of a unified front.

Certainly, on the surface it appears that the PGA did not honour an agreement and was prepared to discount their formal agreement to the extent that it seemed not to exist at all.

The news item reporting the rift between the two organisations follows and Mark Coleman has been asked to provide a commentary at the foot of this news item.

Source: Pharmacy News

Friday 14th May 2010

Guild disputes PSA claim

“PHARMACY Guild of Australia president Kos Sclavos is disputing claims the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) helped to shape the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Angered by an opinion piece by PSA president Warwick Plunkett, featured in yesterday’s Pharmacy eNews, claiming the Society had influenced the outcome for the Agreement, Mr Sclavos wrote to Guild members.

In the letter he described Mr Plunkett’s claims “false and misleading”. “In the Minister’s press release on budget night about the Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding with Medicines Australia, she said: ‘The government appreciates the role which the Pharmacy Guild and Medicines Australia have played in constructively negotiating reforms that will result in better services for consumers, certainty for community pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry, and a more sustainable PBS for the future’. “That says it all in terms of those who were involved in the negotiations,” he said. However speaking to Pharmacy eNews, Mr Plunkett said the PSA had gone directly to the Department of Health after negotiations with the Guild over the details of the Agreement broke down. “The end result is probably the most important, and at the end of the day we got a good result…it’s just a bit disappointing that they seek to try and suggest they were totally responsible, which I can assure you they weren’t. “When we couldn’t gain any traction with the Guild in negotiating the contents of the 24 December Agreement, we quickly put out our proposals directly to the government through the department and the items we were putting forward eventually became the main game. “I don’t think that’s very important anymore… we got a good result in the end and that was the result of their negotiation skills and savvy, as well as what the PSA has managed to put forward,” he said.”

Mark Coleman

I have been asked to comment on the sad state of affairs involving the PSA, PGA and the 5CPA.

Recent history has shown considerable antagonism between PSA and PGA objectives.
While the objectives of the organisations are sometimes very different, they are both relevant to the continued good health of the pharmacy profession.

I have often seen derogatory opinions expressed (mostly by PGA members) that the PSA is too academic and not management-oriented in its approach.

On the other hand, PSA often complains that it is not included in the design of professional services taken on by the PGA and has cause for concern in the lack of suitable outcomes.

On the PSA side the famous Charlie Benrimoj comment pertaining to “gorillas” to describe some PGA executives, the John Menadue address at last year’s PAC (that was regarded as a “stir” by the PGA) created explosive reaction.

The MoU between PSA and the RACGP also caused an over-reaction.

And now the spat over who provided the more positive influence in the 5CPA regarding the type of professional services best suited to pharmacy and the bucket of money set aside in addition to that established in December 2009.

Up until Warwick Plunkett came on the scene, the PSA had a policy of “hibernation” where activity or comment was held inside until any possibility of an argument dissipated.

The PGA has long taken advantage of that policy and used their money and the PSA passivity to drive an agenda that was very lopsided for Australian Pharmacy and Australian pharmacists.

The pharmacists of Australia (those that do not own pharmacies) have been appalled at PGA policies that detract from pharmacist development and growth, and a rift has occurred and professional divisions have occurred because of this.

You can’t divorce pharmacists from pharmacies because they provide the “core” business.
To promote one side to the exclusion of others simply does not make political or business sense.

The person who is more likely to make first contact with pharmacy patients will be a PSA member (who may also be a PGA member) and less often, a straight PGA member.

So there is no doubt in my mind that the claims made by the PSA in the above story ring true, and the PGA simply had another “knee-jerk”.

Secrecy provisions insisted on by Nicola Roxon was the main reason offered up as to why PSA was excluded from the process.

We can only ask why wasn’t the national PSA president included in the same secrecy contract?
No problems with integrity there.

The PSA claims that they contacted Nicola Roxon on a direct basis about the inadequacies of the PGA approach and funding contained in the 5CPA.
An alternative proposition was put forward and it gained an extra $300 million funding.

It is unlikely that the PSA would make false claims and then publicise them through all national media. Their statements ring true and they have gained traction.

The proposed program will integrate with other services and programs provided by community pharmacy such as Dose Administration Aids, Medicines Use Reviews and Home Medicines Reviews.
As Warwick Plunkett states:

“Overseas experience will undoubtedly be drawn upon, but the unique factors of the Australian pharmacy environment mean that no off - the-shelf program will suffice.
We have to make sure it fits the needs of Australian patients and pharmacists from the start, and that it works from the start – which means that pharmacists are encouraged to take it up from the start.”

This is genuine leadership being initiated by Warwick Plunkett and I salute him for it.

And the PSA leadership ability is what Kos Sclavos is reacting to with his temper tantrums.

With little effort he is being out-manoeuvred politically, and his claims to all of pharmacy leadership aspirations are being shown up as being rather lacklustre.

Why else would anyone send a letter to all PGA members and describe Warwick Plunkett’s claims as “false and misleading”?

Particularly given the rate and quantity of “spin” that comes out from the PGA castle.

”Methinks he dost protest too much.”

And maybe the profit aspirations that the PGA place on systems such as eRx, Mirixa etc may now have a few dents in them, causing further heartburn and maybe even a rethink by members as to the conflict of interest levels ins systems such as eRx.

It appears that much of the 5CPA funding was to be diverted towards eRx which is more a tool than a professional service.

With an MoU with the RACGP in place, the PSA would have every right to throw its weight behind Medisecure, the system that is independently funded (but endorsed by the RACGP) and automatically accepted by GP’s.
After all, PSA and RACGP are basically “sister” organisations.
Medisecure has no problem in conforming to standards and also receives the government 15c rebate. eRx is not standards-based.

Recent events illustrated that the PSA direct to government approach was the one best suited for the government funding of professional services.
The fact that these later inputs to the 5CPA became the main game, showed PGA leadership and negotiating tactics and inputs to be lacking.
Because PSA became “the main game” what does that say about the PGA?

All pharmacists should lend their support to Warwick Plunkett’s leadership – not to create divisions, but to ensure a level playing field to enable proper development of clinical pharmacy programs.

The blunting of the more corrosive of PGA policies is applauded.

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