EDITORIAL For Monday 1 February 2016

Welcome to i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine for the week commencing Monday, 1 February 2016.
This week sees the stirring of pharmacy as the holiday season draws to a close.
It seems to have been an extended break because I suspect there are many tired and stressed pharmacists out there still feeling a bit mentally paralysed because they are uncertain of what strategies they should introduce to ensure the financial stability of their business and future productive activity and growth.

The decision to remain a Community Pharmacy or go down the pathway of becoming a Retail Pharmacy remains the stark choice, with government economic rationalists beating Community Pharmacy over the head for not being “competitive”.

What they have succeeded in doing is weakening Community Pharmacy’s bottom line which sets them up to deliver devalued services because of poor decisions within the Department of Health.

The PGA strategy regarding the $1 co-pay discount is also suspect, looking more like a deal has been struck, rather than truly representing their members.

i2P supports a strategy that creates a balanced pharmacy, with a strategy to increase both professional sales and commercial sales managed by one indicator – the professional sales to total sales ratio.
And that ratio should be dramatically different to the version exhibited currently by most pharmacies.

Suggested is a ratio of 55 percent of professional sales (including dispensing sales) to total sales with a marketing program to convert customers to patients.
This would compare with a current ratio of 80-90 percent with no patient marketing program.
So in my view 2016 should be the year you work out a number of basic “packages” that would appeal to your patients and your marketing costs should reflect that input.
Mouhamad Zoghbi, one of our newer writers, makes a contribution that may help your decision-making. Please read: Pharmacy has lost its chemistry and analyse his thoughts.

The Australian system for medical malpractice involving all health modalities, is cumbersome, expensive, unwieldy and provides insufficient data to supply researchers so that they can turn it into useful strategies.
Denmark, however, has an unusual system which is totally government funded and is not adversarial in any way.
The system actually encourages patients to make a complaint so that it can be dealt with transparently and expertly.
Surprisingly it has not proved to be a costly process and the Danish government is well ahead of the action in terms of error prevention strategies.
Medical errors globally are a high-cost to a national economy and should be avoided, where possible.
The Australian system is punitive to the individual perceived to have made the mistake – blame has to be attached, so all medical personnel work to avoid having blame attached to them personally.
The system also uncovers adverse effects from drugs, and it is a system that would remove a lot of the controversy surrounding vaccines.
Read: Danish Malpractice System Provides Integrity, Safety, and an Education Resource

Judy Wilyman is back with us after successfully refuting all the malicious claims surrounding the award of a PhD for her thesis relating to vaccination policy in Australia.
That its findings did not suit a range of vested interests, including global pharmas and their representatives, the medical skeptics was a given, but the strength of the response was way out of proportion, given that there was no problem with the quality of her thesis or the university processes.
It was more that this type of evidence was evidence that vaccine manufacturers did not want consumers or government policy advisers to have access to.
The medical skeptics have been out in force and i2P has decided to treat them more appropriately, commensurate with their behaviour.
We will no longer publish any article or comment from a known medical skeptic.
The only exception is to material that conforms to a four-point test as devised by professor Brian Martin, Judy Wilyman’s supervisor and tutor.
It seems that apart from being deliberately abrasive, medical skeptics have a habit of stretching the truth. Read all about it here: Australian Vaccination Policy and Autism/Chronic Illness

I2P staff recently identified a possible link between medical skeptics and Asperger Syndrome patients which identified reasons as to why they behave with their rigidity of opinion and refusal to accept evidence contrary to their party line.
i2P has been getting a lot of comments from the medical skeptics assuring us as to their personable associates being good natured, and have high-end social skills, but they all fail the four-point test and i2P refuses to give them oxygen or an outlet for their dogma. Read: Australian Research Illustrates a Reason for Irrational Skeptic Behaviour

An interesting and simple article has been prepared to remind business owners that they need a range of business documents to document some performance, service delivery and administrative stability.
Surprisingly, good documentation can be used as a management tool to improve overall competitive performance, leaving competitors behind.
Read: The Formal Documents Required for a Functioning Pharmacy Business

MedsASSIST is a tool being developed by the Pharmacy Guild as a defence against fairly arbitrary decisions by bureaucrats, to disrupt regular pharmacy business through faulty drug scheduling decisions.
It is a novel way to handle the up-scheduling of codeine, but it can also become a strategy by government to coerce pharmacy into performing work that should normally be done by government and their various agencies.
So, future caution needs to be observed.
Read: MedsASSIST May Prove To Be A Useful Long Term Monitoring Tool

Dr Andrew Byrne is back with us talking about managed alcohol programs.
This type of management needs to be understood by pharmacists, particularly those clinical pharmacists involving themselves more in the public health area and developing triage skills.
Read: Managed Alcohol Programs – (MAP). Slow progress of effective hostel protocol to save money, suffering and dignity of our most marginalised citizens.

And we finish this weeks’ offering with media releases from various leader organisations:

PSA – PSA Media Releases – 1. Health Destination Roadshow 2. Rural Pharmacist OAM Honour 3. South Africa Conference 2016

ASMI – ASMI Media Release – 1.New Chairperson Elected 2. Country of Origin Labelling

Enjoy your read for this week.

Neil Johnston
Monday, 1 February 2016

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