s A new era for American pharmacies has begun | 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

Comments: 1

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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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A new era for American pharmacies has begun

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

articles by this author...

Architect, landscape architect and painter Fiona has lived for several years in the United States where she worked on the East Coast. Married with two small daughters she travels all around the globe researching innovative concepts in retail pharmacy. She graduated with honors in Architecture, Faculty of Architecture "La Sapienza", University of Rome. Currently she is one of the owners of Sartoretto Verna Pharmacy design worldwide (http://www.sartorettoverna.com/) that has its headquarters in Rome, where she lives. Other offices and showrooms are located in Turin, North of Italy. Fiona is part of the new generation of Italian architects and landscape architects who bring new ideas and innovative technologies together as an integrated whole.
"Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together". John Ruskin

The birth of the first drugstore in 1929 in the USA represented a big revolution for that time: an innovative store design, a new concept of retail store, fair pricing and a wide exposition of products. 84 years have passed by and nothing has changed in the today’s American pharmacies, with the exception of the most important factor: the customers!In fact, while the new technologies, the computers and the smart phones have created far more attentive, curious, and informed customers, the drugstores and the American pharmacies remained the same: big, wide exposition of products in low gondola shelving without any customer service or help during the buy.

Today’s customers are different than yesterday’s ones and they want to experience a different kind of pharmacy: the model that SV proposes is a Pharmacy as a focal community point.
It is a pharmacy attentive to the customers, a place where to feel like home but, at the same time, that surprises you.
The consumer demands trust.
Trust in everything is the Pharmacy experience: this includes products, services and pieces of advice.

Before the opening of the first American pharmacy chain, the pharmacies did not have wide hallways and bright lighting, no self service nor store brands, however someone started to think about the group considering the possibilities of satisfying the people with a good customer care, treating every customer as a guest. Hence, some innovations have happened; but one century has passed and still nothing has changed. Something has stopped and the pharmacies look like older than one century ago.

Nowadays, everything is the same and anonymous, the customer is not a guest anymore and nobody answers to his many questions. The Pharmacy shops are all the same: boxes with tons of products inside. Furthermore, in this way is difficult to show the product brands properly and we know that the customers make up the 80% of their purchase decisions in the store right away.

SV introduces the innovation of thinking out of the box, out of today picture of the American pharmacies: we are right now the alternative!

We believe in working and in the pleasure of creating places where people feel good, and want to stay more and come back. We think as your customers think, and we design what they’ll like to experience. The right Pharmacy design drives the customers through the store, provides all the information requested with entertainment and then sells the products.Coming inside one of the Pharmacy we designed should be a memorable experience so your client-guest will become a store-loyal buyer.

The project

The Sartoretto Verna scope in New York is to create a pharmacy conceived as a community focal point. The opinion of the owner, Mr. Sergey Semenov, is that customers are the most precious resource. The SOS Pharmacy is imagined for the customer and is at customers service, and it has to be unique. It is necessary to go beyond the typical anonymous arrangement of the American pharmacies, which is similar to the supermarkets arrangement. We have looked for a strong personalization of the point of sale. People are the centre of this project, not the products

Problems and original solutions

After the hurricane Sandy, which hit the city in February, the choice fell on rain- and snow-resistant materials as aluminium and glass. Furthermore, almost all the displays are suspended in order to facilitate the cleaning operations.
The next step was to transform the building, which used to be a restaurant, without eradicating it from the neighbourhood. The external walls made of the classic bricks of New York have been kept, however the openings have been redesigned. After an evaluation of what the passer-by should have seen from the street in this particular typology of premise, the shop windows similar to monitors have been designed in order to create a theatrical effect which frames the interiors but does not disclose completely the displaying. Bright multilevel ceilings capture the attention of the public. The outdoor sign dominates the street corner, both the exterior and the logo have been designed by the Sartoretto Verna in order to integrate and uniform the entire view of the Pharmacy.

The SOS Pharmacy does not remain unseen: it captures the passers-by and induces them to go inside. Even from the outside, in fact, make your own customers feel welcome and give a positive first impression thanks to an inviting atmosphere and a focused communication result important.


The interiors have been designed to fascinate the customers and convince them to stay.

At the entrance, a waxing moon lit just beneath the starry sky on the ceiling will leave the public mesmerized. No more shelves full of products nor narrow hallways, but sinuous display elements, curved and captivating pathways. The customers are immersed in a welcoming place, with green and yellow subtle nuances which evoke the nature, they can pause in comfortable waiting zones, surprisingly have at their disposal advice zones created only for them. In the whole sale zone there is not a point from which you can see the entire premise, every corner will be a pleasant exciting discovery. There is a maximized usability of the areas thanks to a dynamic products categorization, each display has its own backlit visual for the communication with the brand name or the merchandizing sector. Moreover, the SOS Pharmacy is different from other American pharmacies due to the presence of various informative displays and special areas devoted to receive promotional events. An informed customer is a confident customer, ready to buy.

The prescription area has got lights and bright colours in order to capture the attention. The simple and often narrow lodge of the classic American pharmacies, where the prescriptions are quickly delivered,
has disappeared. 

In its place appeared a big green varnished counter with two stations. Behind it there are other display elements, and on both sides, besides the doors, there are two display panels which have great impact. They were conceived in order to best use both the space and the warmer and more profitable areas of the Pharmacy.

In this way, the pharmacist does not seem entrenched in the station anymore, but is ready to listen, answer, give advice, and supply an incomparable one-to-one service.

In the heart of Brooklyn, Sartoretto Verna has created a pharmacy which has the capabilities and the strength of the large scale drugstores and the spirit of the real neighbourhood pharmacy. It has been launched less than a month ago but the results in terms of profits are already very significant.


The wide entrance with raised ground floor leads into an open environment where the white of ceiling, wall and floors dominates. The big shop window, even if raised up, captures by means of the bright cubic displays and by letting glimpse the entire pharmacy with its curves coloured using the same nuances of the logo. RalSystem 2 modules with different colour tympana make a varied merchandizing offering stand out. Plexiglass gondola trundle-shelves have the upper part lit up and have the chance to change the name of the brand or of the merchandizing sector every time it is necessary, as well as the fixed Ral2 gondola shelves which delineate the space.

At the bottom, of the room there is the Prescription area with a sole big Oliver counter put near the space wall. The advice and Pick-up / Drop off counter has two stations, top in Corian with led-lit border and green varnishing coating.

This pharmacy aims for becoming a focal point for the ones who love natural products; that is the reason why the natural medicine sector has been extended and enriched with the Linea Classic displays



the layout follows the evolution of contemporary design. The furnishings with lights display a clear communication. Communication becomes very important and it is easy to replace following the promo and the seasons. Moreover, the products are divided between islands of different colours or characterization so as to make the customers able to reach them very easily, counters and semi-top helps temporary promotions or customer help. The customers want to touch the products before buying them, so the furnishings are open for the self service. And we all know that the more the customers see, the more they buy.


A place where prevention helps to live better. Through consultation rooms and a direct contact with pharmacists and specialized employees you will always obtain the best pieces of advice. A place where to feel good and where private spaces make you feel better if you are sick.


because the new customers want to be able to ask, be able to buy a product by their own or to be assisted at the best. Because we believe in courtesy and kindness and in giving to each person the right advice or a simple smile. Because a customer deserves to be treated as a guest in the Pharmacy exactly like in the past times.

Hence, this is the new American pharmacy where what counts is the customer not the product, a pharmacy with a soul.

The pharmacist opinion

On the website Mr. Sergey Semenov appreciates the result: “We have become your neighbourhood pharmacy, on which you can count on in every moment. We want to guarantee a high-quality service. There are so many pharmacies you can choose, but there is only one SOS Pharmacy”.

The customers opinion

A. B. on the website: “It is one of the nicest pharmacies I have ever seen. Their products displaying is absolutely incredible and the staff is really helpful”: J. D. “Simply the best”.

P. K. on Google+: “It is the prettiest pharmacy I have ever seen. The interior design looks like a fairytale setting. Very smart and stylish. I was really mesmerized. It is my new favourite shop.”



SOS Pharmacy
1201 Avenue Z, Brooklyn, NY, US

Technical data

Total area: 230 Sq. Mt.

Sales area: 162 Sq. Mt.
Sales area/Total area Ratio: 70%
Display area: 72 Lm.



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