s Pharmacists losing their mojo | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2009         Volume. 1 No. 2   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July edition of i2P, and of course, the first week of the new financial year.

Note that we are developing a new range of categories for you to follow e.g. health politics, hospital news, an expanded IT offer and we will be developing the category of anti-ageing medicine

Also, out of interest, could I refer you to the e-publications category located immediately below our columnists. If you click on the link contained there, you will find a range of e-publications that are recommended reading.

The first publication noted is the Pharmacist Activist written by Dr Daniel A. Hussar of the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is a pharmacy advocate.

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Recent Comments

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I’ve seen the future…….and I’m not happy, Jan!

Chris Wright

The ubiquitous Mrs Wright, in her quest to unearth a new erotic shopping experience, ushered this writer to a new Coles store located at the all very nice and leafy suburb of Ivanhoe in Melbourne recently.
This is contemporary retailing at its best, no doubt influenced by the gurus at Westfarmers and the rapidly changing retail climate in Australia, which of course involves the future of Pharmacy in some way….but more about Pharmacy later.

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Pharmacists losing their mojo

Neil Retallick

I read some market research recently that ought to concern community pharmacists across the country, as well as the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Groups of average Australians were brought together for a series of focus groups to discuss the community pharmacy landscape as they see it.
Some of the feedback was disconcerting.

Comments: 3

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Has the horse bolted?

Ken Stafford

Some twenty years ago uneasy tremors were running through hospital pharmacy here in Perth. Hospital management had suggested to one of my fellow Chief Pharmacists that the hospital needed a total parenteral and intravenous additive service (IVAS) .
When it was pointed out that this would be very labour intensive and the pharmacy did not have sufficient staff to provide it, the comment was that “nurses would be happy to run such a service”.

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Independent Pharmacist Practitioners

James Ellerson

In the region where I practice, GP’s are reluctant to comply with a patient request for a Home Medication Review.
The stock standard phrase is “I can do that for you” and so in frustration a patient will turn to me, in a professional, or quite commonly in a social setting, and asks if it is possible for me to perform a review without the doctor’s involvement.

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Disgraceful – discuss

Pat Gallagher

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

Comments: 3

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UK Dispensing Errors Under Review

Staff Writer

The recent furore in the UK over pharmacist Elizabeth Lee receiving a conviction for a criminal offence and subsequently a suspended jail sentence, has really lit a fire under the imbalances that exist when a pharmacy dispensing error is made.
The dispensing pharmacist or the supervising pharmacist under current UK legislation, has been made to bear the brunt of legal responsibility, with pharmacy owners escaping with little pain.
According to an article in PJ Online "In many cases, all that the employer needs to establish is that he had standard operating procedures in place and that the employee or locum had simply not complied with them. In these cases, the employer can walk away leaving the employee or locum to face the, often damaging, consequences".
There is now a rush in the UK to have current legislation amended to reflect a more proportionate responsibility for all parties involved.

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A New Ministery - Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health

Staff Writer

The appointment for the first time of a Minister for Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Service Delivery is an important strategic recognition of the special needs and circumstances facing people in Australia's rural and remote communities.
People in the bush will expect this position to be part of a permanent increase in the Government's commitment to rural communities.
In welcoming Minister Warren Snowdon to the new position, Dr Jenny May, Chairperson of the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA), said the appointment will be important both for substantive policy reasons and to boost the place of rural issues on the political agenda.

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NZ fish killed by water quality

Staff Writer

The following news item was recently published in Science Alert. It would seem that the pristine environment of New Zealand is under attack. The reasons are similar to those findings in Australia surrounding the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

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New theory for global diabetes epidemic

Staff Writer

A new "fertility first" hypothesis published this week by a group of international experts in the American Journal of Human Biology, proposes that the global epidemic of Type 2 diabetes has its origins in the struggle, over millennia, to sustain human fertility in environments defined by famine.
A surprising and important implication for us in the modern world is that this hypothesis gives cause for optimism that the modern epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease will diminish.
Source: Sydney University

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Immune system key discovered

Staff Writer

A team of Monash University researchers has discovered the importance of a protein, which could improve the way the drug interferon is used to strengthen the human immune system.
Published online in the prestigious journal Immunity, the findings show that the protein promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) is a key player in the body's immune response to disease, increasing our understanding of the function of the immune system.(Source: Science Alert )

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Political suspicions raised as China cracks down on bogus online health info

Staff Writer

China is notable for its authoritarian approach to the Internet and other forms of media communications.
Restrictions on Internet activity may have some long-term implications for Australia, particularly as these restrictions are intruding into the health arena.
Source: Tech.Blorge

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Senior Pharmacists - A Valuable Resource

Staff Writer

Little thought seems to have occurred in maintaining and supporting mature aged pharmacists in the workplace.
Given that this group of pharmacists is the one with the "corporate memory" of the profession, with many having started life as compounding pharmacists and counter-prescribers, there is a wealth of untapped intellectual resource that could be internally utilised in mentoring or even training pharmacists in how to sell a professional service.
This group of pharmacists is concerned with the development of retail clinics proposing to do almost exactly what they were successfully doing 30-40 years ago.
What went wrong?

Well, there is plenty of evidence to illustrate that the process of commoditising medicines is the primary reason for this loss, because if you strip everything out of a process to sell at the cheapest possible price, you get a barren professional offering
Source: Science Alert

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Terry White Makes a Move

Staff Writer

Introduction:

It is clear that the Terry White pharmacy group is on the move with the recent purchase of Pharmacy Direct and a restructure of its own management. Terry has had a distinguished pharmacy career and his stewardship will see possibly the strongest pharmacy group in Australia emerge He is opening up the opportunity for equity for senior members of his management team.
The following excerpt extracted from pharmacy media reports explains the process.

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Pharmacists losing their mojo

Neil Retallick

articles by this author...

Neil Retallick is a former General Manager, Merchandising, for National Pharmacies, the successful community pharmacy model owned by the Friendly Societies. Neil holds a Graduate Diploma of Marketing from Monash University, is a CPM and a graduate of the AICD.He began his career with Myer Stores Ltd and worked for FMCG companies including TIA (Sheridan) and Pacific Dunlop. Prior to these roles Neil worked for Cadbury Schweppes Drinks Division - Grocery, and Trimex Pty Ltd in Victoria in State management roles.
He is currently Chief Executive Officer at the  Combined Dispensaries in Sydney and is a Member of the Advisory Board at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

I read some market research recently that ought to concern community pharmacists across the country, as well as the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Groups of average Australians were brought together for a series of focus groups to discuss the community pharmacy landscape as they see it.
Some of the feedback was disconcerting.

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There were two important views shared by these groups. The first was that they felt they had been paying too much for many of the products they have been buying in pharmacies. The emergence of the discount pharmacy, advertising medicines at much lower prices than they had previously been paying, was an indication to them that their own pharmacies had been making too much profit from the medicines these consumers needed to buy.
The second shared view that emerged from the discussions was that the way in which pharmacies have been promoting weight loss solutions was not a good thing. There was a general view that most of the meal replacement products offered by many pharmacies were not a useful weight management tool. A number of people challenged their efficacy and some believed their use was counter-productive – that once their usage stopped the weight problems of those taking them worsened.
What was interesting here was not the discussion about the meal replacement products but the conclusion reached collectively by these groups as an outcome of these two discussions. The view these average Australians shared was that pharmacies were no longer places to go for trusted and objective advice and information regarding personal health issues. Pharmacies today are “… just like other retailers…”. Community pharmacies today are “… focussed on making money...”
I think the “just like other retailers” comment is the most worrying. Within a few weeks the Pharmacy Guild will be making representations to the Government regarding the ways in which community pharmacies across Australia can deliver the healthcare outcomes that the Australian Government is committed to delivering to its constituents. A key proposition of the Guild will be that what community pharmacies can deliver here is different to “… other retailers…”.
The Guild has always been able to galvanise pharmacy users across the nation to demonstrate their view that community pharmacists are the best people in the community to deliver the health outcomes they want. The fact that average Australians are forming the view that community pharmacies are no different to other retailers both puts at risk the Guild’s negotiating position and provides the opportunity for other retailers to step up to the plate. Do I need to say supermarkets?
The Guild has worked very hard over the last 10 years to get its accreditation program – Quality Care Pharmacy Program (QCPP) – adopted by community pharmacies. This program requires a real commitment from pharmacies to the delivery of meaningful and professional healthcare to the communities each accredited pharmacy serves. The concern that emerges from the recent focus groups is that maybe the good work done here is being undermined by the entrepreneurial behaviour being demonstrated in the front of shop?
The price discounting of OTC medicines in recent years proves the claims of Roger Corbett from some years back when he told the Government that Australians were paying too much for their medicines. The embracing of meal replacement products as weight management strategy by many pharmacies has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Australians – there has been too much public debate about the efficacy of these products long term and in the broader health context. The credibility of community pharmacists as professional health carers has been damaged it seems.
Perhaps it is time for the Pharmacy Guild to develop a set of guidelines that are complementary to those in the QCPP, or at least expand on what is already there. There are many community pharmacists that are committed to and focussed on the delivery of professional healthcare. Maybe the Guild can develop an accreditation that identifies these for the average Australian.

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Submitted by Neil Johnston on Sat, 04/07/2009 - 08:40.

Unless there is a form of partitioning within community pharmacy, in terms of both space and people, there will be no meaningful development of clinical services within pharmacy.
Dispensing is a "production line" operation and requires highly structured time.
This tends to squeeze out the unstructured time required for the consultative process required for clinical activities.
Until this concept is recognised and incorporated into a new pharmacy model, I have little hope for professional pharmacy development.
This will also require direct payment to the clinical area, and should not be controlled by the dispensing area.
Why?
Because when resources need to be competed for, guess which side would win?
Freedom of decision making for both sectors needs to be paramount.

Submitted by Geoff Timbs on Fri, 03/07/2009 - 18:05.

What was the research aiming to prove/ disprove? who was the sponsor? what questions were asked? size of sample? what is an average australian? essentially is it a survey that any reasonable conclusion can be drawn from.

Submitted by Guest on Fri, 03/07/2009 - 11:43.

As a community pharmacist, life coach and ayurvedic student, I am wondering how much information and support is given to clients who come in for weight loss products?
The need for psychological support is more important than the actual products purchased in order for clients to get reach their goals not only in weight loss but in all areas of their lives.
If the perception in the community is that pharmacies are out there to make money then it raises the question of staff education and communication as well as having the staff numbers to enable them to spend the time necessary to help the clients/customers.
As a pharmacist, this would be great but in all jobs I have had, the number of staff/staff education has been limited (or the focus has been on targets not customer service) and with regards to myself, the time I have had to spend with customers has been limited due to numbers also.

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