s Disgraceful – discuss | 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.

read more
open full screen

Recent Comments

Click here to read...

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

Comments: 1

read more
open full screen

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

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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

read more
open full screen

‘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.

read more
open full screen

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).

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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?

read more
open full screen

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

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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).

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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.

read more
open full screen

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:

read more
open full screen

Disgraceful – discuss

Pat Gallagher

articles by this author...

Patrick Gallagher is well known in Information Technology circles. He has a vital interest in e-health, particularly in the area of shared records and e-prescriptions, also supply chain issues. He maintains a very clear vision of what ought to be, but he and many others in the IT field, are frustrated by government agencies full of experts who have never actually worked in a professional health setting. So we see ongoing wastage, astronomical spends and "top down" systems that are never going to work. Patrick needs to be listened to.

Disgraceful – discuss
The newspapers have been chock-a-block the past few days with dire tales but true about the black hole we are about to enter with the insane policy to re-regulate the ‘workplace’ to suit the union paymaster cliques.
While I never voted for Keating I did admire him a little bit this morning when I read a quote of his from the bad old days.
He said to some union goose: “you are carrying the jobs of (100,000) dead men around your shoulders”.
Giving a dead hand to this union unfettered power play will ensure that the nation will soon look like NSW; where the government is actually the plaything of a few loosely combined public ‘service’ union mugs.
Depending on how large your pharmacy is, in terms of overall staffing, you will soon be touched by the coming dead hand of the new/old order.

open this article full screen


Why I am on this bent on politics in a paper centred on IT? Simple. Today’s newspapers also report that COAG is meeting in Darwin today to discuss, amongst other things, e-health. As and as an aside I am beginning to wonder if the ‘e’ stands for eternal rather than electronic.

Yesterday a daily newspaper reported that we need to spend $1 billion to $2 billion to implement a universal EHR system. This is nine years after the original announcement was made and three after NeHTA’s took the reins to deliver electronic health records for all.

Now it seems we are starting, yet again, down a yellow brick road to another dreamtime event. For heaven’s sake, this is blood boiling stuff.

There are over 200 people working for NeHTA and they have already chewed though hundreds of millions of dollars and delivered what? I believe in the theory of a transition authority but I despair at the results.


Then there was an article on the weekend making the (not) surprising observation that inventions and technologies, that raise productivity, are good for the community, work for the common good and are just plain sensible, often take a long time to become accepted.

Take faxes, bar codes, mobile phones, even desk top PCs, they all had a slow flat update trend and boom, overnight almost everyone had one.

Whereas with all the bits and bobs of e-health we are taking an eternal age to be still flat-lining to nowhere. Why is that?


Want to know what I think? Well if you have read this far, just keep going.

The first factor is the dead hand of regulation and the top down belief that ‘they’ know better than the workplace "proles" as to what is good of them; like the United Handbraking Union.

Secondly, like most union leaders, straight from university to a quasi political job, these imposters have never actually done the work they are supposedly going to improve.

Thirdly, they all love a big bang. Not for them the one step at a time, boring bit. No "sirree" (or should that be no "personree"). Their only way is the big way. Which means, as is displayed every living day, the big way is usually - no way. Nothing gets done.


Let’s take the 200+ souls beavering away in the transition authority’s employ to make e-health happen. Then let’s look at the tasks as a three dimensional model: a) policy and strategy, b) enablement and c) implementation. Or a) intellect and power, b) skills and knowledge and b) common sense and the sweat

Level 1: As far as we can see all 300 are engaged fully at Level 1, doing the top down ‘work’. What do we see for all this effort? Well, not much, because among many other barriers all their minutes and other progress records are marked ‘commercial-in-confidence’. Because the authority is a Pty Ltd company.

Shameful and confusing therefore that they all have an email address that includes ‘@gov.au’. This ‘@ government’ indicates that they are public servants. As a member of the public I want to be served and I want to know.

Not funny is it?

In fact it is just as disingenuous, as is and was, the union campaign based on ‘your rights at work’. When actually it was really about ‘our power over your work situation”.


Level 2: the enablement level is really all about technology. Choosing the right technology that works, integrating the technologies into a seamless and interoperable platform and putting it in place in a measured and planned manner, so as to introduce change gradually and effectively.

This is so important yet so simple that hardly anyone understands (it) that it is complex only by the nature of trying to do ‘it’ in one big bang.

Whereas if ‘it’ is broken down and introduced ‘one step at a time’, then it becomes many simple milestones that eventually will arrive at, and will deliver the desired change based benefits.

But oh no. That is not what is happening. What is happening is of course not much, if not nothing at all, based on an impossible big bang approach.

Jeepers my mind just wandered off to the proposed NBN; the national broadband network. I digress I know, but this is the same disaster waiting to happen, as ‘e-health’. Can only end in tears.

Anyway, back to the subject of disgraceful conduct.

Then we have level 3: which in my opinion is where the answer lies. There is no time or space in these pages to set the scene, debate the facts and then conclude all points of view to a logical and balanced outcome.

On the other hand there is precious little balance in the Level 1 world so why change the playing field just for this observation.

My point is that we should re-visit the working lives of the 300 souls beavering away at Level 1. They should be re-directed to work in a completely upside-down model.

For example, to make e-scripts ‘work’ these people should be seconded to work alongside GPs and Pharmacists as they endeavour to learn the facts on which they then produce their matching Level I plans.

To make EHR work is to realise that a patient health record is made up by capturing data at the source by the many and very different specialist source workforce. They is no one, big bang, one size fits all answer to the workplace scenarios.

Let’s embed the 300 alongside all these specialist workers, in hospital admissions, in pharmacy, in pathology, in the wards, in records, everywhere; so that a heavy dose of reality shapes their Level 1 policy work with a heavy influence of effectiveness and convenience ahead of any vapourish big bang dreams.


Frankly we are living through a disgraceful farce.

The department has outsourced e-health transition to a body pretending be a private company!

This private company pretends that all of its 300 people have more than enough experience and knowledge to devise and make work, say, a e-prescription system without ever working in a surgery, pharmacy or a dispensary.

Meanwhile lurking in the darkest shadows of the Yes Minister underworld is the re-run of the Australia card stuff-up.

What is disgraceful about this, is that the last campaign to introduce a universal card, was destroyed by a not dissimilar effort to push the half truths and untruths we heard about ‘working families’ and ‘your rights at work’. Same self-serving nonsense.

The current message is that discussion among the involved agencies are under way (code for it has now been over four years), to solve the individual identification system that is mandatory for e-anything to work.

Or, how to re-engineer and fashion the Medicare number system, that is in place and threatens no one, with a personal-linked number.

The tip, tip toeing around this issue is nauseous. All these people at Level 1 are engaged in various turf wars around their ideology and their prejudices using the blind path issues of security and privacy to waffle endlessly and deliver vapour.

I bet if you ran a one-week survey of every patient who picks up a script, as to whether or not they would be afraid of, or would object to, a individual ID system; the overwhelming response would be “NO”.

We aren’t afraid. We do not object. We, however, have never been asked because we are actually at Level 4. We are merely the patients and taxpayers. What we know, what we think and what do we want – is treated as very rhetorical question at Level 1.

Oldie but a "goodie" and it is not so far from the truth – “it would all work much better if we didn’t have to consider the patients”



Don’t discuss.

Think about getting angry.

The strong belief I have is that the whole e-health fiasco will remain largely flawed until one huge factor is recognised, acted on and made to happen successfully.

That is to conduct a huge publicity campaign to tell all of us what ‘it’ is exactly that will be better when and if e-health is implemented.

When it will happen, regardless of whether it is five, ten or fifty years.

And most importantly to tell us that is ‘it’ going to cost $1 billion or $2 billion (‘coz then we will all, as the taxpayer, know it will actually cost three times that).

Once we know how much of our money they are going to spend, then we can all asked the sixty dollar question as to whether we do, or do not, accept a personal identifying system - as the key to obtaining these (I think wonderful) healthcare and health service delivery benefits.

This campaign to let us into the secret should be the antithesis of the phoney ‘your rights’ baloney; rather it must be like the Decimal Currency Conversion campaign, it should treat us all to information in an open and honest manner, so we can decide to accept or reject e-health as a national and common benefit.

Otherwise we will continue to discuss the present disgraceful situation for a long, long time.


Return to home

Submitted by Anon on Mon, 06/07/2009 - 16:41.

There is no demonstrable willingness at the highest levels to open the minds to a new way of thinking. Until that occurs nothing much of significance will be possible.

Submitted by Ian Colclough on Mon, 06/07/2009 - 16:32.

Of the many thoughtful points Pat Gallagher makes, one, in particular, is an absolute standout - the three dimensional model of what is so badly needed yet so rarely seen - namely, intellect, skills, and nous. These three elements together are fundamental to everything else and without them there will be no successful enablement.

Submitted by Neil Johnston on Sat, 04/07/2009 - 11:52.

I join in your exasperation and despair at the general state of Australian Health Information Technology.
The amount of money wasted over the past 10 years would have been sufficient for those small to medium innovators (actually working at the coalface within their health specialty) to have built up a world class IT infrastructure, that could be globally exported.

As we both know some of these innovators, it is indeed frustrating to see the rest of the world overtake the Australian efforts, simply because Oz initiatives remains unsupported.
Worse still, we see overseas systems imported for use in Australia that systematically destroy our local talent base.
The wastage of government funds is one issue that needs to be addressed because it is a national disgrace.
More importantly is the type and style of management, who is represented and how many "coalface people" are given a voice.
This is the more urgent issue, because it is apparent that the current mob of so-called administrators haven't the faintest idea of where they are going.
Keep up the good work.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

Click here to

If any difficulty is found in subscribing, please use the "Contact Us" panel found in the navigation bar with the message "subscribe" and your email address.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Email Format


  • Copyright (C) 2000-2020 Computachem Services, All Rights Reserved.

Website by Ablecode