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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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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 )
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.
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
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.
Loretta Marron OAM BSc
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
The history of healthcare is dominated by aggressive therapies conducted on desperate and health-compromised patients.
These cruel and deadly practices included bloodletting, intestinal purging and blistering and were sometimes followed by large doses of highly toxic mercury and arsenic.
They were useless and barbaric treatments and more often than not contributed to the death of the patient.
These days, as unproven therapies seep back into our communities, some of our pharmacists are ignoring science and are putting profit over patient’s health.
This time I’ll talk about the new wave in modern day pharmacy blood suckers.
The history of healthcare is dominated by aggressive therapies conducted on desperate and health-compromised patients.
Even primitive man would have understood the importance of blood. Whether it was from a fight with another tribe, a close encounter as a tasty menu item for a hungry carnivore or an accident with something sharp and pointy, if for any reason a major artery was torn open, a red, sticky, soggy end was inevitable.
Bloodletting started in Ancient Greece where it was the choice of the ‘in-crowd’ for health problems. Medicine in those times was based on the concept of an imbalance of four bodily fluids, called ‘humours’, that they believed caused problems with both personality and health. Blood was the ‘humour’ that was thought to be associated with being optimistic and as such, the practice of severing a blood vessel or two supposedly cured every ailment. This ancient legacy continued as a mainstream intervention until relatively modern times. In 1799, as President George Washington lay dying, primarily from the practices of his overenthusiastic bloodletting physicians, a court case was raging that supported this treatment and, as a consequence, it remained popular until its gradual demise in the late 19th century.
The legacy of bloodletting remains with us today. The red and white poles we still see outside barber shops date back to the position of the barber/surgeon as a bleeder. “The red represents the blood, the white is the tourniquet, the ball at the end symbolized the brass leech basin and the pole itself represents the stick that was squeezed by the patient to increase the blood flow”.
Thanks to these slippery little suckers, business boomed for centuries for many entrepreneurial medical providers. Apothecaries, those early pharmacists, did a roaring trade in them. They “were so popular early in the 19th century in countries like Britain and France, that millions of leeches were imported to keep up with the demand.” Leeches have once again been reintroduced into modern medicine, but this time they are sourced from sterile laboratories, so in the ‘leeches for sale’ department, the pharmacy cash registers now remain silent.
These days extracting blood is now providing new business opportunities. Live blood Analysis is the latest trend in pharmacy blood sucking strategies. Also known as live blood imaging, dark-field video analysis, hemaview and nutritional blood analysis it is used to perform alternative diagnostics. A blood sample is taken from the patient and put under the microscope and examined. Specialised equipment enables blood to be magnified for analysis. Viewing the sizes and shapes seen in the patient’s blood is claimed to assist with diagnosing problems “from bacterial, fungal and viral infections, increased “acidity” in the blood, organ-system dysfunctions, gut permeability & digestive health, evidence of hormonal imbalances to atherosclerotic plaque! “ .
Companies such as Health World Limited , who sell Metagenics nutritional products, also stock ‘hemaview’ equipment. Try to find out anything technical about this device by surfing the web and you will draw a blank, but it seems to be a standard laboratory microscope attached to a computer monitor with a fancy badge attached. There is no scientific evidence that live blood analysis can detect any disease state, and it has been described by an expert on complementary and alternative medicine as a fraudulent means of convincing a patient that they are ill and require treatment with expensive and usually unproven dietary supplements.
Not ones to miss lucrative business opportunities, some pharmacies are actively promoting live blood analysis as they continue to widen their collection of dodgy, money-making services and products. Evidence-based medicine clearly doesn’t seem to matter to them as they offer this as a diagnostic tool which generates more sales in often unproven natural remedies. These pharmacists continue to ride on the coat-tail of their reputation to capitalize on yet another useless alternative therapy which targets their trusting, and often elderly, patients.
Blood related therapies have been very profitable for pharmacists and their predecessors for centuries and it seems that will continue while the money flows in as they ignore their role in providing evidence-based medicine. So who are the ‘blood suckers’ now?
Simon Singh, Edzard Ernst “Trick or treatment Alternative Medicine on Trial’, p7-14, ISBN 987-0-59305-904-3
Niagara Apothecary http://www.niagaraapothecary.ca/client/ocp/Apothecary.nsf/web/Artifacts
Dr Rachael Dunlop http://skepticzone.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/
Health World Limited http://www.metagenics.com.au/
Friendlies Chemists The Natural Choice in Pharmacies http://www.friendliessubiaco.com/3.html
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