s Marketing Focus: Here's looking at you, kid! | 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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Marketing Focus: Here's looking at you, kid!

Barry Urquhart

articles by this author...

Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, Perth. Barry is an internationally recognised conference keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic planning workshops and marketing business coach.
Contact Barry: TEL:61 8 9257 1777 - EMAIL: urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au -
WEB: www.marketingfocus.net.au


"Wealth....Innovation. Creativity. Originality. Dynamism. Growth. Capital. Technology."

Silicon Valley is both a name and locality known throughout the world and is synonymous with each of the above listed attributes. It means and is perceived to be many things to many people.
Since the 1960's Silicon Valley has been the birthplace of many scenario changes, iconic products, services, concepts and business entities. In itself it is a magnet which attracts some of the world's brightest, most enterprising, free thinking and driven entrepreneurs.
The Federal and State governments, in Washington DC and California, have welcomed, encouraged and supported investment in countless large and small, established and start-up businesses to enable them to blossom and to create wealth, employment, education and opportunities.
Financial injections and tax relief/incentives have been provided in abundance.
Everyone, it seems, is a winner.

In Australia, we have our own Silicon Valley equivalent. It is a 1.6 square kilometre region in West Perth, Western Australia. This is the home of countless "greenfield" and start-up companies whose collective market capitalisations have been estimated to have grown from some $1 billion to exceeding $5 billion in the past three years, notwithstanding the Global Financial Crisis and its widespread cascading adverse financial consequences.

The West Perth postcode, 6005, is the address for small-cap mining companies and related service providers. Each is encountering impediments in their respective pursuits for growth and wealth creation. 

The Australian Labor Federal government has been active in endeavouring to introduce the suppressing Mining Rent Resource Tax, Carbon Tax, and to reintroduce of union-oriented workforce relations, legislation and regulations. Wayne Swan, arguably Australia's first-ever financially illiterate treasurer (some will contend the holder of that mantle is John Kerin, the short-term failed treasurer for the Whitlam Labor Federal government, 1972-75) has introduced to the business mindset the notion that super profits are those that exceed 6 or 7% per annum.

Sadly, the Australian Silicon Valley equivalent is destined to remain a micro-chip unless and until there is a significant universal change of attitudes in the corridors of power in Canberra and in all State government chambers.

Let me declare my confidence for the future of individual mining and exploration companies. We have been fortunate to facilitate and contribute to a number of strategic development and strategic planning workshops within the sector. Without exception, opportunities have been identified and are being realised. The regrettable thing is that such strategies, tactics and achievements have had to be accomplished within a considerable set of government imposed constraints, filters and market limitations. 

Barry Urquhart

Marketing Focus


Very confronting!

The phrase "service sucks" will be offensive to some and endorsed by many Australian, New Zealand and British consumers and corporate clients.

Recent statistics released by the regulatory authority which oversees the Australian telecommunications industry reveal that formal complaints against telecommunications companies are at record high levels. However, the numbers do not reflect or provide an accurate insight on the reality. Less than 5% of Australian consumers ever lodge formal (written or verbal) complaints. 

Little wonder then that Perth-based entrepreneur Hamish McSporran has established the Facebook and Twitter pages "Perth Service Sucks". Friends of both pages share their poor service experiences.

Sadly, but reflecting reality, the number of friends to both stations exceed those of the Facebook page established by Marketing Focus: "Customer Service Bouquets". Our intent was to provide a channel for people to share good and great service experiences. To some the low numbers will suggest failure. We believe they reflect the facts and the site is therefore successful.

The prevailing global, national and local marketplaces are hosts of rampant price discounting, commoditised product and value offerings, reduced in-store inventories and lower staff members.

Customer service, for those leaders who truly are customer-driven, perceptive, sensitive and responsive, is the cornerstone for creating, maintaining and developing non-price competitive advantage, enhanced sales performance and customer/client loyalty.

In the stark transparency of a price-sensitive, intensively competitive marketplace it is becoming more and more apparent that an overwhelming percentage of the current training in customer service, though well-,intentioned, is totally inadequate. 

Too many trainers and Human Resource Managers rely on books, processes, procedure manuals and conditioned rote-learned methods to impart the mechanisms of interpersonal relations and thus a delivery of standard, bland styles of customer service.

Neither they nor the trainees address and learn why service is all-important, why consumers act the way they do or expect what is not being delivered.

The most exciting aspect of the reactions to the conference keynote address and the customised interactive workshop, titled, "Service That Sells, Transforming the Customer Experience" is participants' awakening about the scope for individualising service standards and optimising personal, group and entity-wide performance standards.

Perhaps Hamish is right. Perth service sucks. But that need not be the case for yours.


"Here's looking at you, kid"

Opportunity is staring you in the face.  Are you looking?  More importantly, are you comprehending and identifying the boundless scope for development right now?  Look no further than your main competitor.  It is he, she or they who provide insights on how best to formulate and implement new initiatives into uncontested and attractive areas.

It is not too harsh to declare that many competitive entities are burdened by inertia, price discounting, cost cutting moves - including inventory and staff reductions, offers of give-a-ways and the repetition of boring, predictable campaigns.  The widespread distressed state of business is often caused or exacerbated by the actions of business owners and executives.  Sadly, staff-members are quick to identify and copy inappropriate behavioural and strategy traits.

Since 1988, Australia's Woolworths supermarket network has progressively developed from being in supermarkets, to retailing, to supply chain management and now they are leading the charge to relationship marketing.

The current philosophy will enable the group of companies to capitalise on the customer relationships which have been established and to cross-promote and sell-in to the other non-competitive service and product providers.

Coles is currently winning the supermarket battle. Sadly, it still lags in its evolutionary development and will continue to be profit constrained.

Many book retailers can and should reject the proposition that book shops will soon be replaced by on-line book sellers.

For those astute book retailers who have looked the competitive forces in the face, it is evident that the real threat is from those bookshops which have an appealing, informative and functional on-line presence with an easy-to-navigate website. 

The attributes of "local" presence and "personal" customer service are strong and sustainable competitive advantages.


Now is the time to embrace the philosophy of being a contrarian.  That is, doing what the others aren't.  It involves risks, which cannot be eliminated but can be managed.  It will require confidence in one's own ability and capacity and the need to invest in those qualities.

In short, it's time to "dare to be different". 

Conformity within a product range or industry sector leads to non-differentiated commoditisation and overall mediocrity.  It can be safe and non-threatening, but hardly inspiring or profitable. 

Entrepreneurs, game changing business leaders and elite sportspeople live on the edge.  It is exhilarating, adrenalin pumping and, yes, often exhausting.  The rewards are immense and the demands for optimal performance-exacting.  In each instance, consistently high performers study closely and know intimately the practices, policies, styles and preparation regimes of those whom they want and need to beat if they are to fulfil their own dreams, ideals and goals.

They then diligently formulate, document and implement their own, differentiated strategies. 


Sporting coaches of old and business coaches or mentors have long espoused their beliefs in the "one percents".  That is, the little things that "champions", cum winners, do constantly to gain and maintain an advantage. 

The contemporary global community in which we all live and operate from seldom recognises and rewards 1% variance.  For example, mining company chairpersons and chief executives tend to be well versed and qualified in finance and geology.  With the current price levels for iron ore, uranium and energy (in its various forms) those skill sets have contributed marginally to the record profits being enjoyed by the many operating mines and the operators of those raw commodities holdings.

Interesting to most and disturbing to some, the Chinese who represent the largest market for Australian ores and energy, are seeking more and more investments in Australia resource entities.  The buying criteria are not solely gross profit sums and Price: Equity ratios. The Chinese government and investors are seeking continuity of supply and security of supply.

Therefore, astute mining industry leaders and aspiring leaders will, should and indeed, must look their competitors and peers in the face and then determine largely unrecognised avenues for advantage and exploitation.

For example, how would Lindsay Fox of Linfox Logistics and Paul Little from Toll Holdings - two of Australia's and the world's leading authorities on supply chain management - operate and develop Australian mining companies?

Neither would, I am sure, be constrained by any suggestion of a series of "one percenters". In looking competitors in the face, one should also determine what business are they or should they be in. The appropriate answer may not be obvious.

Perhaps, we all need to dispel the seemingly underlying beliefs in and adherence to the "traditional", the "established" and the proven ways of doing business and being in business, if one wishes to stay in business. 

A good start to identifying which is the best avenue for enhancement is to look in the mirror and to recite the words: - 

"Here's looking at you, kid."


Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, Perth is a former lecturer in Management and Marketing at the Curtin University of Technology. 

He is an internationally recognised facilitator of interactive strategic planning workshops and conference keynote speaking.

Tel:               041 983 5555

Email:           Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au

Website:       www.marketingfocus.net.au

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