Editorial for Monday, 15 September, 2014

Welcome to i2P-(Information to Pharmacists) edition for the 15th September 2014.
The Pharmacy Landscape seems very unsettled and with the announcement by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) that HMR quotas will continue into the 6CPA.

This is very disappointing and may weigh heavily with some accredited pharmacists who saw HMR’s as being a suitable endeavour where they could be of benefit.
The conflict of interest created by the PGA in the first instance and aggravated by one group of accredited pharmacists gearing up to manage an increase in market share.
Will all these pharmacists stick around for an uncertain future?
Only time will tell because there is no clear alternative for them to sell their talent to.

It seems that a conflict is brewing between the Skeptics and the pharmacy profession.
Pharmacists are accused of selling vitamins and other complementary medicines based on pseudoscience with profit being the primary motive.
Just for the exercise, I would point out that pharmacists, who own pharmacies, are the people who decide on inventory kept and the type of product sold.
They may consult with pharmacists who have received education and training in this area.
Speaking for myself I have advised recently (and previously) on a range of products that I would recommend because of evidence to support the claims made for each product, that they are registered with the TGA, and that their manufacture is of high standard.
I also hold a qualification in the form of an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Nutrition (Pharmacy) which I personally regard as being one of the best forms of continuing education I have ever undertaken.
So I strongly resent any inference that I am profiteering, using “pseudoscience” and do not have the best interests of my patients at heart.

What does stir me is the “junk science” used to promote a large volumes of mainstream prescription drugs on to the market.
It angers me that medical-type front organisations do not attempt to eradicate fraud and junk science, but instead, defend it.
And all these front organisations have a common Skeptic thread throwing out “hand grenades” in the form of accusations of profiteering and not using “evidence” to support product sales.

The accusations made against pharmacy by these groups are the very same activities they engage in. By protecting “junk science” they protect the funding in the form of grants made to many individual members (or their academic institutions).
They also protect the enormous profit base that “lubricates” the entire process.
It is as efficient as a Mafia operation and borrows many of its processes.
Of course, there are also a number of doctors involved in guerrilla warfare, describing it as a “turf war” with pharmacy.
These same doctors seem to have no difficulty accepting payments from drug companies to promote junk science and they also have difficulty in “outing” themselves by being transparent, hence the many revisions of Medicines Australia code of conduct.

Mostly, I am saddened by this entire fiction that destroys jobs, initiative and the vision of the younger generations that aspire to make their mark in an Australia that seems to no longer value its participants, reducing the entire medico-scientific community to a rabble of name callers and back street brawlers.
What an inheritance!

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