s New Legislation – too little, too late? | 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

New Legislation – too little, too late?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

articles by this author...

From a Skeptics Perspective: Loretta Marron, a science graduate with a business background, was Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2007 and in 2011. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Friends of Science in Medicine and that organisation won Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2012. On Australia Day 2014 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM ) for "service to community health"  Loretta edits the websites www.healthinformation.com.au & www.scienceinmedicine.org.au

Estimated at over $3 billion, alternative health is now a top ten growth industry in Australia.  Located in our communities, and even in some of our pharmacies, many alternative practitioners are now using unproven medical devices as part of patient consultations.  However, when these devices are tested, many are failing to provide the benefits claimed.

Are these alternative practitioners willing accomplices or unfortunate victims of aggressive marketeers?  And do the pharmacy owners who hire them really care?

To encourage investments that may exceed $30,000, marketeers provide detailed financing plans to practitioners that explain how to quickly amortize costs, secure future profits and to grow their business, with suggestions of projected annual incomes of over $100,000.

Capitalizing on patient trust and our unquestioning acceptance of technology, particularly when located in pharmacies, these pseudo hi-tech devices take pride of place in hundreds of natural therapy clinics.

Health World Pty Ltd , for example, is a market leader and one of the most trusted suppliers of Natural Medicines” with complementary medicine (CM) brands that includes Inner Health and Ethical NutrientsMetagenics is their ‘practitioner only’ products division and it also sells and trains practitioners in their own range of medical devices.  

Google ‘Hemaview’ and you will get over 20,000 hits. 

Consisting of a microscope, monitor and software, this $8,000+ device is used by hundreds of alternative practitioners and in some pharmacies
Used to magnify blood cells, Metagenics claim it can diagnose everything from nutritional deficiencies to organ dysfunctions. 
The system also generates lists of CM’s that are recommended for patients to purchase. 

According to clinical haematologist, Professor Hatem Salem:

“The equipment has no scientific validity whatsoever and the notion that one can diagnose all sorts of ailments by examining a drop of blood on a video screen is both ridiculous and plain stupid”. 

At around 50,000 Google hits, Metagenics also sell Urinary Indican Test and ZincTally tests that they claim can identify nutritional deficiencies and which also lead to the recommendation of more CM’s. Metagenics claim that their Urinary Indican test can diagnose ‘Leaky Gut’.  However, according to medical experts:

            The whole notion of ‘leaky gut’ etc is without sound scientific basis”. 

The Zinc Tally is meant to provide a “quick and reliable clinical test” in “assessing the status of zinc”However, Zinc deficiency “is difficult to measure adequately using laboratory tests”.

Senior pathologists and medical experts have commented in private letters to me that the health conditions referred to are:

            “grossly distorted/misused by naturopaths & others”the benefits of these tests are hugely overstated and there is little evidence that specific diagnosis can be made” and that they are “used to get money out of individuals who are naive and believe in alternative therapy”.

After years of campaigning, the days of unproven ‘in vitro’ devices may soon be over. 
New legislation was introduced on 1 July 2010 that now requires these devices to have Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval. 
If they are already supplied here, sponsors have 4 years to comply with this legislation.

There are, however, many questionable diagnostic devices that remain outside the scope of this legislation and marketeers will undoubtedly continue to promote them to naive practitioners.

There are, for example, ranges of electricity generating devices.  Sometimes called bioimpedance (BIA), biofeedback or TENS, these types of devices have been used since the mid 19th century and have continuously been promoted for a wide range of health conditions including pain relief

Metagenics versions of these are the BIA and Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) devices, and these are also used to recommend CM’s. 
In advanced courses practitioners learn how to use them to diagnose “immune, energy and digestive complaints” and to identify fat shrinkage, hydration and cellular health. 

According to obesity expert, Professor Lesley Campbell, any claim that they can monitor hydration,

            “toxicity, inflammation, malnutrition and poor cellular function is unscientific, unfounded” and “mumbo jumbo”. 

To “clarify what constitutes unprofessional conduct” for medical goods used by their members, in 2006 the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) introduced a Code of Conduct (3.12) that states:

            “medical devices used by the practitioner must be in accordance with therapeutic goods law”.

This code does not apply to the majority of practitioners who are members of other societies or who have no affiliations.

The Sponsors of many nonsense ‘in vitro’ devices still have many years before they need to apply for a TGA listing, which may require them to provide evidence to support their claims, so they, and the practitioners who promote these devices, will undoubtedly use this period to continue to target vulnerable patients.

While improvements in legislation and professional conduct codes may eventually protect consumers from the considerable waste of money they pay as a result of these disproven diagnostics, if alternative therapists, and the pharmacy owners who hire them, really care about our well-being, perhaps they should use only TGA approved products that genuinely provide the benefits claimed.  

Return to home

Submitted by Carrie Merchant on Fri, 12/08/2011 - 15:51.

This article demonstrates pure ignorance and is very misleading. Metagenics is entirely TGA complaint and scientifically validated. The author of this article should get her blood looked at, she may be surprised at what she finds!

Submitted by Christian O'Grady on Thu, 10/03/2011 - 20:23.

"According to medical experts:

“The whole notion of ‘leaky gut’ etc is without sound scientific basis”.

Medical experts hey?

Quick search on pub med.. Too 2 minutes.

So apparently GI mucosal hyperpermiability is not a medical condiiton.

10 years time wait and see what is said..

Submitted by Mary Hammond on Sat, 04/09/2010 - 22:10.

I am, like yourself, a cancer survivor and scientist with a PHD in research of aging and degenerative illnesses. As such, my respected peers, regard science as a researcg tool, not a health solution. Unless you can come up with some answers for your biased claims concerning alternative medicine versus mainstream treatments for wellness, it may be interpreted by our fraternity that your claims are subjective and thus raise the question of bias, the latter intention being a question of possible prejudice and intent for malipulation of natural justice

Submitted by Peter Kennedy on Mon, 13/09/2010 - 14:11.

The only reason that a treatment is "alternative" is that it is not proven. If and when any "alternative" treatment is ever proven, it becomes a "mainstream" treatment because rational practitioners begin using it. (And conversely sometimes if and when a "mainstream" treatment is DISproven, some irrational practitioners then take it up and it becomes an "alternative" treatment. ) There is no question of "bias", "prejudice" or "manipulation of natural justice". Loretta is proposing that all substances and treatments for which a therapeutic benefit is claimed should be subject to the same approach on a level playing field, instead of the current legal and professional situation which is outrageously loaded in favour of so-called "alternative" treatments. Of course treatments which have not been proven to work are no real alternative at all.

Submitted by Chris Wright on Wed, 04/08/2010 - 14:36.

Whilst I agree with your views on these somewhat shonky 'alternative' treatments I'm at a loss to understand your failure to recognise acupuncture, given that it is an approved TGA treatment and is bulk-billed under Medicare.

After all, you correctly state;

“medical devices used by the practitioner must be in accordance with therapeutic goods law”.

Submitted by Peter Kennedy on Tue, 10/08/2010 - 12:27.

Chris, where did you get the idea that acupuncture is an approved TGA treatment? The fact that a medical device is included on the ARTG does not mean that the TGA approves its use as a treatment for any disease. Nor that there is any evidence of its efficacy.

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) 2000-2021 Computachem Services, All Rights Reserved.

Website by Ablecode