EDITORIAL for Monday 14 December 2015

Welcome to this weeks’ edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday, 14 December 2015.
In my nearly sixty years of being a pharmacist, my motivation in staying around for so long has always been job satisfaction, through the ability to make a difference for a patient.
It was never about a high prescription count, but it was about a high prescription count following on from a growing number of satisfied patients, having a health relationship on a personal basis.
Without that relationship a pharmacist has no incentive to improve through innovation and application for patient benefit.

Chain pharmacies, mostly owned by supermarkets around the world, demand performance from pharmacists built around indicators of which the script count is #1. It is never about the underlying reason for a high script count – the patient.
Generating a climate for patients is not understood by supermarkets – only a commoditisation of a product or service at a low price.
We are seeing this emerging through warehouse pharmacies not providing patient information with dispensed drugs – and so they come to a community pharmacy for this service.
An important part of the core business of a community pharmacy is prescriptions.
An equally important part, not seen because it has never had a visible price, is information and knowledge transfer, directed to patients through an empathetic relationship.
I found an article in a recent edition of
Drug Topics at this link:Pharmacists respond: Is job satisfaction too much to ask?
I request that you read it to understand what open ownership of pharmacy is about.
It is really the destruction of our profession as we know it and that process has once again started here in Australia through Woolworths, and we have a 10-year space in which to reverse it.
Time is running out!

In the last week of November of this year, an announcement was made in respect of Roger Corbett, the “nemesis” of pharmacy, being appointed as consultant to the Woolworths’ board and a mentor to Woolworths’ managers.
A lesser publicised appointment made simultaneously was that of  Siobhan McKenna, the right hand woman of Lachlan Murdoch, a director of NewsCorp-the flagship of Rupert Murdoch.
She has been appointed as a non-executive member of the Woolworths’ board and while being a capable director in her own right, it would seem that the company has cemented a strong relationship with NewsCorp – the same media group supporting the Liberal Party that publishes derogatory and unethical stories about any perceived “block” for policy development of the Liberal Party e.g. Community pharmacy when negotiating the 6CPA.

All the stars are beginning to line up:
* Roger Corbett still retains his interest in pharmacy ownership and is involved as a director of Walmart, where he has been responsible for developing a new style of supermarket as an integrated health destination store.
Walmart is the largest supermarket in the US and owns its own pharmacies.
The Walmart influence can be seen in the New Zealand Countdown Supermarket group – a wholly owned subsidiary of Woolworths, and Countdown owns 49 percent of each pharmacy located within their supermarkets.

This is the model that will be exported initially to Australia when Woolworths has joined up all the dots to legally do this.
That will mark the end of a long political battle between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Woolworths, which originally commenced in 1968.
Corbett has to initially sort out the Woolworths mismanagement problems, then recruit a CEO, and then transform the Australian supermarket model to a “health destination store”.
This will take approximately five years – coincidentally, the time it will take Sussan Ley to remove Location Rules for community pharmacies and that will substantially weaken pharmacy financial infrastructure.

* Siobhan McKenna will presumably be on hand to drive public opinion for all of Woolworths activities, including the lobby for pharmacy ownership.
Unless the PGA can develop a communications channel that can have the same impact as NewsCorp, the battle for hearts and minds will be a lost cause for pharmacy.
While petitions may still have some effect they will not overcome the incessant anti-pharmacy drama that will be put into action by NewsCorp.
As they say, “we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!”
Her real job is to “dumb down” all of society and overcome the “thinkers”.
It is my belief that coercive vaccination policies came into being through Tony Abbott and James Murdoch’s association with NewsCorp.
Remember, the policy originally targeted the intelligent sector of the Australian community which was not falling into line.

* Sussan Ley is obviously responding to the economic rationalist element, a very powerful sector that influences Liberal Party policy and can drive economic disruption for business sectors like pharmacy.
That she included investigation into Location Rules in 6CPA and a warning that Ownership will be a component within the 7CPA, matches a timetable that is ideal for Corbett.

While Ms Ley appears to be onside and promising to reinvest some PBS savings into clinical services, I am very sceptical of her motives and they can equally disappear if the supervising aspect in respect of outcomes is not given sufficient time to grow and flourish.
While Sussan Ley is told what she has to do, she is no friend of pharmacy.
She continues to drive policies that weaken pharmacy financially and the PGA has not formulated any real defence for reversing this financial drain.

* The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) has diminished its power base over recent years, mainly because of its conflict-of-interest involving many pharmacy activities.
Many of these activities still exist and until the PGA divest itself of all of the divisive interests in which it is involved, then we will not have a united profession.
It is my belief that the PGA is so compromised in its dealings with the Department of Health, that when Sussan Ley says “Jump!”, the PGA’s only response is to ask “How high?”.
Community Pharmacy is to face an unrealistic $1.00 discount per script, to their PBS remuneration from 2016 onwards.
Where was the PGA in this and previously in massive drug price reductions that pharmacy could not overcome and many had to succumb to bankruptcy, with more to follow?
The discount creates a further commoditisation of the PBS which, as we have often said before, is a product at the end of its life cycle – and it is a decision driven by the economic rationalists.
This has nothing to do with competition but everything to do with a stage-managed weakening of the community pharmacy sector (not so much the retail pharmacy sector).
Community pharmacy must now engage with the private sector and patients who are willing to pay.
This fits in with government dispossession of Medibank and a pathway down to a US style healthcare, but the worst system in the world as far as outcomes are concerned.
It does fit a Pharma-driven system and I am in trepidation of what the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will bring for our future.

I have written an analysis of all the above in the lead article for this week which is intended as a reference article to be kept within your planning resources. Others will follow.
Please open this link: Countdown Has Commenced And It Is Woolworths’ Pharmacy Being Launched

Evidence is regularly emerging concerning health issues due to ingestion of low dose herbicides, pesticides and GMO’s contained in our fresh produce and processed foods.
The chemicalisation of our world also destroys the very soil that we need to sustain ourselves.
Concerned groups around the world have finally found a method to contain the corporates who are set on dominating the world.
They are being charged with “ecocide” through an international tribunal to be conducted in The Hague.
Please read an article by Mark Coleman at : The Monsanto Tribunal – in The Hague, 12th -16th of October 2016

You will not find much information in mainstream media about this important event.

One of the contaminants used quite regularly in agriculture is antibiotics.
While we validly criticise the over-prescribing of antibiotics by medical practitioners we see agricultural use with little control.
It is also freely used in the veterinary world where some infections can be transferred from domestic animals to humans, and through ingestion of meat contaminated with traces of antibiotics.
Gerald Quigley asks a question in his article: Antibiotics – are we doing out bit?

Dr Andrew Byrne is concerned that the rising rate of drug overdoses is not being addressed appropriately.
The spate of codeine-containg over the counter(OTC) over-use may be connected, and should pharmacy be more proactive in prevention?
Read: Drug Overdose Increasing – Known Solutions Ignored

Harvey Mackay is back and he has an interesting article in surviving under pressure.

Presuure is both a motivation tool as well as being destructive, when it is too much.
Read some coping techniques at: How to thrive and not choke in pressure situations

On a lighter note to finish our article content for this week we have Mark Neuenschwander having a gentle “poke” at US presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Read his article at: What Donald Trump and The Noosh Have in Common

And we finish our offering this week with media releases from leader organisations.
Australian & NSW Pharmacy Council – Australian Pharmacy Council- Media Release & NSW Newsletter
PSA – PSA Media Release – New National HQ Planned
ASMI – ASMI Media Release – OTC Codeine Medicines Consultation Welcomed

Late News:
* Chemist Warehouse confirms $1.00 discount to be heavily promoted on January 1, 2016.

* ACCC demands recall of Nurofen (same formula, different indication) medicines. Fine to be determined later.

Enjoy our offering for this week and please enter comments regarding pharmacy survival at the foot of each relevant article.

Neil Johnston
Editor,i2P E-Magazine
Monday, 14 December 2015

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