EDITORIAL for Monday 11 May, 2015

Welcome to this week’s edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine commencing on Monday 11 May, 2015.
Those of us who have been involved with the PBS scheme since its inception can remember the “down and dirty” tactics that were inflicted on pharmacists since its inception, until the commencement of the Community Pharmacy Agreements.

These agreements became a reality after many years of frustration and financial losses inflicted on the “soft” target that pharmacy presented.
As these agreements took hold and both sides entered into productive bargaining, a period of relative peace and stability ensued.

The medical profession, always a jealous competitor, bemoaned the fact that pharmacy had developed a sense of “certainty” within these agreements that they had not been successful in achieving and accused the PGA as being the most powerful political lobby in Australia.
Certainly the PGA became more skilled in its negotiator role, but over the last decade elements of distrust by various pharmacist groups saw conflict of interest through having PGA as the sole negotiator.
Other problems through having the PGA as the sole manager of pharmacy grants from the Department of Health also caused instability in pharmacy, and discontent.

Cycle through to the current set of 6CPA negotiations and we find the PGA having a very rough time, commencing with government leaks to their favourite Murdoch press news media, with a range of other organisations offering their 5 cents’ worth, typically hostile to pharmacy.
This of course, contrasts greatly with the largest ever petition in support of pharmacy signed by pharmacy customers, and the consistently high ratings for professionalism, ethics and honesty by various ratings agencies.

Individual pharmacists who are genuinely trying to provide better health for their patients are appalled by the government’s bad behaviour, all done under the radar.
Government will not gain in the long run because of the deliberate trail of undelivered promises and fabrications (some would call deliberate lies) seen in all areas of government, have begun to impact on the stability of the Australian economy, and in particular, the stability of pharmacy.

It is ironic that as the 6CPA appears set to become very messy and further destabilising for Australian pharmacists, an exact opposite situation is being negotiated for English pharmacists at this same moment in time.
Their Pharmacy Journal has published the following:
“Negotiations are taking place to introduce a national minor ailment service in England, which could see community pharmacies commissioned to provide advice and treatment for common conditions.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) confirmed on 7 May 2015 that it is in talks with NHS Employers over potentially rolling out a new service across England.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said the talks showed “significant progress” had been made in its campaign calling for the service to be introduced.

In a statement, the PSNC says it has “long believed that a national minor ailments service would benefit patients, pharmacies and the NHS by giving patients access to advice and treatments for minor conditions without the need for them to visit their GP or another urgent care service”.

Also, in last weeks’ edition of i2P we published a study into the US pharmacy-based retail clinic which is showing extraordinary growth and is pointing the way for an Australian version to be developed.
See  Retail Health Clinic Study – Many Positives

It is disappointing to see that Australian Pharmacy will now slip to be about a decade behind the rest of the world, because there will not be much available from a PBS system that has reached the end of its life cycle, and with future growth coming from massive commoditisation of the scheme.
There is no future for pharmacy in such a model and it would seem that no matter what financial circumstances pharmacy finds itself in, it must “go it alone” and not look for government funding for any of its progressive aspirations.

The PGA will find itself in a challenging position if it cannot win in the basic areas of “location rules” and “pharmacy ownership”, both threatened by the government.
Of the two, location rules would be the logical one to let go.
A reallocation of the pharmacy power base will also be inevitable if pharmacy is to stabilise and agree on a vision for its future (that seems to be a missing ingredient at the moment).

So most of the articles in this edition of i2P concern the future paradigm pharmacy, because we think that is more inspirational than worrying about the current round of shabby politics surrounding 6CPA.
We wish the PGA success in the overall scheme of things and hope that the obvious internal reforms needed to create role equality for all pharmacists will follow on as a matter of urgency.

Sunday afternoon found us receiving an important news release from Pathology Australia stating that they will be supporting the MyHealth patient record through an opt-out process.
This item arrived too late for any analysis and detailed implications for pharmacy, but my immediate thoughts were will pharmacists be able to gain direct access (with patient approval) ?
This development will make viable the $’s billions wasted on earlier versions because of complexity and lack of medical support and will make life easier for clinical pharmacists in all settings.

Liesel Wett (ex PSA), the current CEO of Pathology Australia said that “70 percent of medical diagnoses relied on pathology tests and almost 100 percent of cancer diagnosis”.
We will be publishing more information in future editions of i2P.

Introducing the articles:

The Global Trend in Working Environments: Co-working & Retail Clinics

This is a trend that is occurring in western economies and set to be the major business format over the next decade.
It is appearing in US retail pharmacy clinics and will hopefully drive similar versions in Australia.
It can underwrite a new model of affordable ownership, satisfy aspirations for new pharmacists and provide a succession plan for senior pharmacists.
All these elements are missing in the current model of pharmacy and each would contribute to a happy and more stable profession.

®Easy chain – Sartoretto Verna rethinks pharmacy design

Italian pharmacy designers have come up with some simple modular designs to help in the establishment of clinical service pharmacies or at the other end, warehouse style pharmacies.
The concept for the clinical pharmacy is to create extra display spaces. Wall shelving removed to erect one or more clinical service offices can be replaced by free-standing shelving units in the central floor area.
For the larger pharmacy, to generate new display shapes and to fill spaces not being utilised effectively.

Growth is not about slaying your competitors but about serving your customers

This article is written by Mouhamad Zoghbi, a new writer. He is a nurse turned medical representative, and is married to a pharmacy sales assistant. He also has two pharmacist brothers.
His article represents part of a blueprint to influence pharmacy marketing culture – something that has to occur before really building your new paradigm pharmacy.
Mouhamad has also written a book similar in content but ranging across all pharmacy sales and marketing experience. It goes on sale later this year.

Community Clinical Pharmacists as “Medication Coaches”- lessons from a great coach

John Cook has written an article about pharmacist mentors using a parallel experience he observed in learning the craft of sailing.
This article represents the system for running a clinical service pharmacy and would have limited use in a larger retail pharmacy.
But the “medication coach” is front and centre for a new paradigm pharmacy.

Marketing Focus – Lesson Learnt and Fresh in Our Memories

Barry Urquhart has written a story about the Uber car sharing experience and licenced taxi operators and how not to compete, through the creation of an opportunity brought on by protest,
An insight into how an entire industry can be disrupted by another in the “blink of an eye”.
He also talks about how Woolworths had a hard lesson in its use of social media and an attempt to include the Anzac Day story as part of its own brand.

Orthomolecular Treatment for Adverse Effects of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine

The OHMS organisation has updated its evidence base for HPV vaccine.
It is definitely a vaccine that i2P would now recognise as being unsafe, and would caution vaccinating pharmacists to create a proper informed consent procedure around it by obtaining the patient/parent/guardian’s signature if a request for administration is received.

And finally we have all the recent media releases for PSA , ASMI and NPS.

Well, that’s all for this week and we hope you enjoy your read.

Neil Johnston
11 May, 2015

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