s The failure of Gollmann-Bouw: Are their products what our market wants? | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/08/2010         Volume. 2 No. 7   
Information to Pharmacists

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News Flash

Newslflash updates for August 2010

Neil Johnston

Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Feature Contribution

From Intern to Practising Pharmacist - PSA's New Vision

Neil Johnston

Practical experience is hard to acquire once you have finished your academic studies.
It is a process we all have to experience at one stage of our career.
The transition from being a student to a practising pharmacist can be a difficult time and unless early career pharmacists equip themselves for the new challenges they face, they may not be maximising their career opportunities.
It is also the type of program that could earn incentive payments for the workplaces providing the experience in the community.

Comments: 1

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Pharmacist prescribing in NZ flags other issues

Neil Johnston

The Pharmacy Council recently promoted a discussion document to encourage feedback from the health care environment on the impending legislative changes that are intended to provide the opportunity for pharmacists to prescribe.
The proposed legislation will enable suitably qualified postgraduate educated and skilled clinical pharmacists to prescribe from the drug tariff for patients under their care.
These pharmacists will have to work as part of a primary health care team and it is expected they will become an integral part of that team.
All very exciting for our profession to witness that there is a recognition that pharmacists are capable of stepping up to the mark and are worthy of greater responsibilities.

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Is a pharmacist in your team selection?

Neil Johnston

Pharma-Goss for August 2010
When selecting a team to participate in a primary health care review of the diagnosis and management of hypertension patient one would hope that a pharmacist would be a natural selection.
But in the case of a paper published recently in Australian Family Physician (http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/201007/201007howes.pdf) a pharmacist did not rate a mention in the panel set up to identify the problems associated with diagnosing hypertension and maintaining a dose that suited the needs of the patient with maximum adherence.

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Guild’s eRx clarification camouflages the facts!! Why hide the truth?

Neil Johnston

The thought that first struck me after reading ‘the clarification’ about the eRx Script Exchange on the editorial page of the May Issue of the Pulse+IT magazine was - Why is this clarification so necessary?
On the surface it seemed like a reasonable statement to make.
It read: “Clarification - in the March 2010 edition of Pulse+IT it was reported that the electronic prescribing service operated by eRx Script Exchange had received 7.5 million scripts "sent to the eRx script hub by prescribers" as of the middle of January.  
Omitted from the article was reference to a workflow that allows pharmacists to send repeat prescriptions to the hub for later retrieval by any pharmacist connected to the eRx system.
The volume of transactions quoted in the March 2010 article included such scripts, in addition to scripts sent to the hub directly by prescribers.”

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Guild Takes Aim at Gillard & Abbott Over 5TH CPA

Neil Johnston

In The Australian Friday 23 July (Political creed: do no harm) Emma Connors reported that “sometime in the next four weeks both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are likely to sign a letter promising their support to a group of 5000 small business owners whose public standing allows them to extract an extraordinary pledge.”
She reported that the Guild had “asked the leaders of  both sides of politics to agree that the terms of the recently enacted Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement will be upheld, including the all-important promise to keep supermarkets out of pharmacy”.

Comments: 4

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The failure of Gollmann-Bouw: Are their products what our market wants?

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note - 15th November 2012:
When this article was first published in August 2010, Gollman-Bouw had entered into liquidation following a very turbulent period under the stewardship of Mark Bouw, managing director of the Australian enterprise.
Since that date the automated dispensing market has settled down and is now demonstrating steady and solid growth.
New people have entered into an agreement with German company Gollmann Systems and they have no relationship with any of the people associated with the former entity.
Many of the initial teething problems have been overcome and a better understanding of the Australian pharmacy market has emerged.
Gollmann Systems are globally competitive and contain innovations not seen in some of their competitors.
Any prospective purchaser should short-list this product when seeking a solution for their pharmacy.

Comments: 4

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Private Labels Finding Favour

Neil Johnston

Since the global financial crisis began to bite, Australians have shifted more of their weekly purchases into private label.
In respect of the $70 billion pa food market, private label currently accounts for 23%, with the prospect of moving to 30% within five years.

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Food as Medicine

Neil Johnston

Many foods have health giving and medicinal properties.
Indeed, i2P reports frequently in its Preventive Medicine section, regular discoveries where food can be used to support various health conditions.
For example, raw beetroot juice has recently been found to be effective in treating high blood pressure (it contains nitrates) and is as effective as some antihypertensive drugs. Cinnamon is another food that is useful for diabetics, where cinnamon appears to have effects similar to metformin i.e. it sensitises insulin.
Ayurvedic medicine, developed in India over centuries, encompasses the use of many delicious foods enhanced with herbs and spices.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system. The central philosophy is that illness is caused by an imbalance of the body's three vital energies, or 'doshas'. Ayurveda uses a range of treatments including yoga, massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
More information can be found at the Australian government site - HealthInsite. http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Ayurvedic_Medicine
For Ayurveda diet and health information that can get you started, try this site http://www.joyfulbelly.com

Comments: 2

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Hung Parliament Means Listen to the People

Neil Johnston

People involved in e-health are bitterly disappointed with the "hung parliament" result.
At least Labour had a vision with its national broadband roll-out, even if it wasn't properly articulated in regard to cost.
Some proponents argue that the cost matters little - it is the advantage given to Australians who want to be pioneers in e-health. Opportunities could be lost and they may be priceless.
i2P went looking for some informed comment on the subject and found some excellent commentary written by Paul Budde, a telecommunications analyst.
His commentary follows:

Comments: 1

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Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom

Neil Johnston

Researchers have collected venom from octopuses in Antarctica for the first time, significantly advancing our understanding of the properties of venom as a potential resource for drug-development.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian University of Technology and Science and the University of Hamburg, provides the first insight into the properties of Antarctic octopus venom.
It has also revealed the existence of four new species of octopus.

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Peruvian plant offers hope for sex lives of diabetic women

Neil Johnston

The effects of diabetes on organs such as the heart, eyes and kidneys are relatively well known, but women are now being warned of its potential to cause damage in another way – to sexual performance.
Victoria University’s Professor Lily Stojanovska and Dr Michael Mathai are conducting a study to assess the potential for improving sexual function in women with type 2 diabetes by taking a supplement from a plant traditionally used for this purpose in Peru.
The root of the plant Maca (Lepidium meyenii), which grows in the Peruvian Andes, has been used by locals for centuries, where it is reported to enhance fertility and to boost energy levels.

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Clinical Training for Health Profesionals

Neil Johnston

Some years ago an Australian hospital pharmacist pioneered wound management in Australian hospitals and went on to develop courses to train community pharmacists interested in setting up a specialty wound management clinic in their pharmacy setting.
This type of service initially established itself in a restricted number of pharmacy settings, but gradually faded away due to the pressure of PBS dispensing.
Now the opportunity is reappearing in WA at Curtin University with a purpose built facility established to train all health students (including pharmacy).
And here is the dilemma.
Many pharmacists would like to be involved in this type of activity but most community pharmacies are not physically designed to accommodate this service.
However, with the future development of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO's) under way, it may be possible for pharmacists to be part of the wound management team in that type of organisation.
Nicola Roxon is contributing $380,000 towards the project and is expected to be operational within three months.

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New hope for cerebral palsy prevention

Neil Johnston

University of Adelaide researchers are a step closer to finding a link between genetic susceptibility to cerebral palsy and a range of environmental risk factors during pregnancy, including infections and pre-term delivery.
During National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week (August 1-7), Professor Alastair MacLennan from the University's Robinson Institute says their research shows that pregnant women who are genetically susceptible to infections and other environmental hazards could trigger cerebral palsy in their unborn babies.

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UK Vending Machines Trialled

Neil Johnston

Prescription vending machines are being deployed in the UK Sainsbury pharmacy chain. This is being done in conjunction with the normal in-store pharmacy service,
and is being promoted as an additional service for those who would prefer it.
It is not an automated dispensing solution.

Comments: 2

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Research breakthrough on the question of life expectancy

Neil Johnston

Why do we grow old and what can we do to stop it? This is the question asked by many, but it appears that we are now closer to an answer thanks to new research published by Monash University researcher Dr Damian Dowling.
According to the research published in the August edition of the prestigious journal, The American Naturalist, a small set of genes in mitochondria (a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells), passed only from mothers to offspring, plays a more dynamic role in predicting life expectancies than ever previously anticipated.

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Liesel Wett - the new CEO for the PSA

Neil Johnston

In a shrewd management decision, the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has announced the appointment of Liesel Wett as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Wett, who is currently Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Australian General Practice Network, is expected to take up her appointment on 1 October 2010.
Given that the PSA will need to develop closer and stronger ties with GP organisations, this appointment may well prove to be critical for the future professional development of pharmacists.
Pharmacists will be enabled to get inside and understand GP thinking, guided by Liesel Wett.

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Inflammation in Fat Cells Causes Insulin Resistance

Neil Johnston

Inflammation-causing cells in fat tissue may explain the link between obesity and diabetes, a team of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers has shown.
The discovery, by Professor Len Harrison and Dr John Wentworth from the institute’s Autoimmunity and Transplantation division, opens the way for new anti-inflammatory treatments that prevent insulin resistance (where the body is unable to respond to and use the insulin it produces) and other complications associated with obesity.

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Cost Price Prescriptions - The Next Step?

Neil Johnston

The UK has started a new phase in private prescription discounting – no mark up on the drug and 50% off the dispensing fee.
“Millions could be saved every year if private prescription mark ups are abandoned, according to the Superdrug superintendent pharmacist.
Superdrug will dispense all private prescriptions with no mark up on the cost of the medicine, the company announced this week (3 August 2010).
It is also halving its minimum charge for dispensing medicines to £2.25.”

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The country can't face the technological future through copper wire

Neil Johnston

An opinion provided by the University of Sydney
By Professors Ben Eggleton and David Moss

Those who think our country can do without the national broadband network clearly do not fully understand the potential such a network offers to Australians. While other countries scramble to find ways to meet this exploding demand for global bandwidth, the opposition is wringing its hands and debating the need.
The network will do three things for Australia: it will pay for itself, it will stimulate the innovation economy and it will have multiple applications.

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Garlic may play vital role in treating hypertension

Neil Johnston

A University of Adelaide study shows that aged garlic extract may help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer hypertension.
Research trials by Dr Karin Ried and her colleagues from the University's Discipline of General Practice show that garlic could be used as an adjunct to conventional drugs for hypertension.
However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged garlic extract.

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Solar Diesel Power Station - World First in WA

Neil Johnston

The world's first solar-diesel power station has opened in Western Australia's Pilbara region at Marble Bar, known for its record high temperatures.
WA's Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore opened Horizon Power's Pippunyah Solar Diesel Power Station on Friday.
The new $34 million station is powered by the biggest sun-tracking solar panel farm in Australia.

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Complementary Medicines Surveyed

Neil Johnston

 Recently, a research report was published online in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine that highlighted Australian consumer attitudes towards complementary medicines and pharmacists selling complementary medicines.
An abstract is published below.
Consumers have indicated in earlier surveys that they wanted pharmacists to be the primary source of information for them and to keep a range of products that they could feel safe with.
The profession initially responded to those needs with the PGA setting up a College of Clinical Nutrition and many pharmacists (including this editor) completed the Advanced Diploma of Clinical Nutrition (Pharmacy).
Unfortunately, the college was closed and an alternative resource was never re-established.
People who did receive training in the use of nutritionals gained a new perspective in respect of practicing their profession and tended to work in the area of preventive medicine when an opportunity presented itself.
We have again asked Mark Coleman to comment on the survey and his report appears below the article abstract.

Comments: 12

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The failure of Gollmann-Bouw: Are their products what our market wants?

Chris Wright

articles by this author...

Chris has spent many years in the pharmaceutical industry and is semi-retired.
He has an interest in supply chain procedures, and work flows within community pharmacies, and he provides consultancies around those activities.

Editor's Note - 15th November 2012:
When this article was first published in August 2010, Gollman-Bouw had entered into liquidation following a very turbulent period under the stewardship of Mark Bouw, managing director of the Australian enterprise.
Since that date the automated dispensing market has settled down and is now demonstrating steady and solid growth.
New people have entered into an agreement with German company Gollmann Systems and they have no relationship with any of the people associated with the former entity.
Many of the initial teething problems have been overcome and a better understanding of the Australian pharmacy market has emerged.
Gollmann Systems are globally competitive and contain innovations not seen in some of their competitors.
Any prospective purchaser should short-list this product when seeking a solution for their pharmacy.

open this article full screen

Was it folly for one of the giants of automaton, MTS Medication Technologies to enter the fray in Australia with a product such as the Easy-Med machine?
Whilst many pharmacists remain either suspicious or ambivalent about automation in general, the automation of DAA’s is attracting scrutiny because of rising volume.
Some 350,000 DAA packs are currently filled weekly, rising to up to one million in about 5 years.
The Easy-Med machine is a ripper, but for the price it doesn’t have enough bells & whistles to impress in the longer term, when DAA standards will rise.
I accept that it is a far better proposition to the much-maligned sachet machines, but that doesn’t mean much. After all, sachet machines get a bit of traction simply because of the absence of a better solution. At last count there were less than 20 sachet machines in Australia and about 40 in New Zealand. This imbalance is due in part to the Monty Pythonesque attitude of the NSW PGA who insist it must be “proved” that medicines supplied in an automated DAA are the original medicines dispensed.

Potential “show-stoppers” for the Easy-Med machine was always going to be its size and price when pharmacies account for the vast majority of this particular target market.

As for size, it is always going to be difficult to sell an automated solution into a pharmacy when the professional service area has to be redesigned. I’d venture the comment that it is far more palatable to spend money to accommodate a pack dispensing solution rather than a DAA solution, simply because of the dynamics of the business.

Did it escape Gollmann-Bouw that the size of the Easy-Med machine meant an additional investment was likely to be mandatory in most pharmacies?

It’s a bit like every student should have a computer………just pity the installation costs were ignored, thus doubling the cost of the plan.

However, being an almost pathological devotee of automation in pharmacy I’d like to see the Easy-Med machine represented here. The question is who will step into the breach?

Certainly it might be said that the Americans and Germans view Australia as a bit of a technological backwater and their respective forays into our backyard have had an element of an Irish social club playing darts after an exhaustive tasting of Guinness about it in the past.

That said, to be successful MTS will need to address the manner in which their product is represented here.

To source the price of the Easy-Med machine was a challenge.

I called Gollmann-Bouw to ask this very question and while waiting for an obviously very busy sales department to answer the phone I conjured up visions of a Telsta call-centre type environment busily taking orders.

Anyway, for those amongst you who enjoy “Yes, Minister”.

Sales Person (SP). “Hello, can I help you”?

Chris Wright (CW) “Yes, thank you. I’m inquiring as to the price of the Easy-Med

machine”.

SP. “How many scripts do you do?”

CW. “Is script volume relevant to the price of the machine?”

SP. “No”.

CW. “In that case I just need to know the price.”

SP. “But I need to know how many scripts you do”.

CW. “I don’t do any”.

SP. “Are you a pharmacist?”

CW. “No, I’m not”.

SP. “So why do you want to know the price?”

CW. “I act for a group interested in automation”.

SP. “Who are they!” (Sounding very much like Margaret Thatcher.)

CW. “A group who won’t be buying the machine until they find out the price.”

And it went on…..such a strange marketing tactic.

However, the point is; Gollmann-Bouw (like many automated providers) rightly or wrongly was clearly fixated on advising a “transaction” price as a sales strategy.

In my view, wrong, wrong, wrong…….

Also, did it escape Gollmann that despite the fact the G-Series is a brilliant machine it denies the pharmacist valuable time.

As fellow i2p writer Garry Boyd commented in i2p in May 2009.

A video of the very impressive Gollmann G-Series machine shows the pharmacist leaving the patient to walk to the delivery point to retrieve the patient’s medicine. This takes about 8 seconds, yet the Gollmann G-Series exhorts a retrieval time of 8 to 15 seconds.

At 500 prescriptions a day, the pharmacist is spending an hour a day walking to the retrieval point and back to the patient!

Isn’t this ridiculous waste of time exactly what pharmacists are trying to avoid?

Brilliant machines do not necessarily deliver brilliant solutions.

Whilst this is not uncommon it is the myriad of tiny little issues that end up blowing such assumptions out of the water.

It may come as a surprise to some, but pharmacists are actually pretty cluey people.

I don’t know of any that aren’t capable of establishing a business case to introduce an automated solution to their business………..providing they know the price.

Chris Wright.
August 2010.

 

 

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Submitted by D Jackman on Sat, 05/01/2013 - 07:38.

Pertaining to the commments about the 8 seconds of time away from the customer...
I worked for Gollmann and now for Rowa as International Commissioning Engineer thus making me the only person truly qualified to comment on the two complete automation solutions available to the Australian market. my question to you CW is did you ever ask if it it possible to deliver the packages direct to the point of dispense.

Submitted by Peter P Rod on Wed, 04/08/2010 - 13:04.

I would have expected the Guild to have examined all these issues before giving the Gollmann-Bouw product its seal of approval. It seems to me that had the Guild been more circumspect and less focused on its own commercial self interest it may well have decided that no matter how brilliant the machine it would not find market acceptance in Australia. Have I missed something Charles?

Submitted by Rollo on Wed, 04/08/2010 - 06:47.

You say "Some 350,000 DAA packs are currently filled weekly, rising to up to one million in about 5 years."
Please advise source of this figure?

Submitted by Chris Wright on Fri, 06/08/2010 - 16:19.

The current 350,000 is an assessment based on a range of disparate information, some of which is from industry bodies.
In my experience I conclude that approximately 1,000 pharmacies provide somewhere between 200 and 400 DAA's per week to the RCF market, of which there is in excess of 160,000 beds.
Adding to this is the indigenous population (supplied under s100 conditions), shipping, pastoral, mining and those confined at her Majesty's pleasure. And not forgetting of course patients living in their own homes with the aid of "assisted care".
The assisted care market will no doubt rise dramatically due to the expected lack of RCF beds in the future and the fact baby-boomers are approaching an age consistent with medical dependency.
Therefore, the figure of a million per week seems reasonably accurate, albeit having been arrived at empirically.
Good question, Rollo.

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