EDITORIAL for Monday 22 August 2016

Welcome to the current edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 22 August 2016.
Well, it was a refreshing change of pace since our last edition when on Saturday 13 August we attended the third Blackmore’s Symposium.
This event was characterised by quality speakers who delivered the latest research on a range of complementary medicine issues, and they did a great job.

Speakers included Dr Forrest Batz Pharm D who has contributed to the natural medicines database, a source of good evidence.
Also presenting was Dr Nigel Plummer who delivered the latest evidence surrounding probiotics, Dr Lesley Braun, director of Blackmore’s Institute, and Larissa Barnes, a naturopath and clinical educator at Southern Cross University (SCU).

Catherine Bronger, spoke on the difficulties of developing pharmacy clinical service programs and Prof Peter Howe PhD who spoke on his research activities.
Peter is Professor of Nutrition Research in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy and Director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre at the University of Newcastle.
He is also an Adjunct Professor in Nutritional Physiology at the University of South Australia and Adjunct Professor in Physiology at the University of Adelaide.

Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, educator and researcher.
In her Mater Health Services role, she is Assistant Director of Pharmacy (Practice and Development) managing their Academic Practice Unit, as well as a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland and Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Bond University where she lectures on complementary medicines, reproductive health, medication safety and communicable diseases.
Dr McGuire presented a range of integrative case studies with “how to” information geared to integrative pharmacists – the type of information often sought by community pharmacists.

The Symposium was well attended with over 200 attendees, mostly pharmacists, being present

Pharmacists are the logical health professionals of choice to manage complementary medicines and the Blackmore’s Institute, and educational offshoot of the Blackmore’s organisation, is delivering quality information in support of pharmacy practice.

The complementary medicine category in Australia is fast growing, with a suggested two thirds of Australians using complementary medicines on a daily basis.
Fifty per cent of Australians are also buying their complementary medicines in pharmacy, and this provides pharmacists with an excellent opportunity to discuss how complementary medicine usage may benefit or impact the current treatment plan of a patient. 

So it is a “no brainer” that pharmacy practice should move firmly in the direction of integrative medicine, despite attacks by negative advocacy organisations to suppress this development.
Mark Coleman has been doing some research on these suspect groups and has begun to formalise his findings in an article series, the first of which “It’s the Tip of the Iceberg” that appears in this edition.

But within the integrative boundary is where pharmacy practice needs to reorganise itself so as to remove any elements of “conflict of interest”.
It is time that community pharmacy formalised its environment as a “health precinct” where it positions itself as a practice manager, hosting a range of health modalities (including that of clinical pharmacy).
Both patients and income are shared with the pharmacy collaboratively.

From within the clinical pharmacist practice, prescribing skills will be allowed to develop provided the clinical pharmacist practice is kept separate from the pharmacy ownership (and vise-versa) and that the clinical practice can be established in more than one pharmacy with different ownership.
Arms-length independence needs be established for the health authorities as well as the ATO to be able to view the clinical pharmacist as an independent contractor and thus function an ethical prescriber.

The Blackmore’s Symposium was a great support for pharmacy practice, and all pharmacists should consider attending next year’s symposium event, because it is sure to be a sell-out.

In this current edition I would like to introduce you to the writers and their articles.

The lead article gives pointers as to where your starting point needs to be in your bid to establish a strong and stable pharmacy model that will see you prosper over the next decade.
There is no avoiding change, but it must be planned and objective change – not simply a reaction to market forces and government disruption.

Read: The Starting Points for Change – Education and Cultural Adjustment

Gerald Quigley was an attendee at the Blackmore’s Symposium 2016.
He also is a supporter of integrative medicine as being a responsibility of pharmacists and his article illustrates how he plans to utilise some of his new information.
He asks if other attendees will do the same.

Read: Have you changed?

Harvey Mackay is back with a management approach to solving problems.
He gives a simple example involving some creative and “out of the box” thinking.
Using that approach, i2P suggests that this material would be useful in amplifying the “how?” of getting started in making required changes for a new business model.

Read: Get to the root of your problems

Mark Coleman was charged with researching the background for the negative criticisms often directed to pharmacy, but more so in the complementary medicine field.
The allegations made by these groups are that some health practitioners do not rely on evidence for practice decisions or patient benefit, is unnecessarily confronting. Particularly as these groups seem to exclude improper practices by global pharma’s who step over the line and become corrupt and may be funded for their activities from a pharma source, directly or indirectly.
Nor do they seem to have patients of their own or follow evidence based processes, relying on opinion only.
Mark Coleman has found systematic practices that are destroying democratic voices and freedoms.

Read: It’s The Tip Of An Iceberg

Every now and then our staff researchers find an item that might prove to be a genuine breakthrough.
A group of German researchers have discovered that the brain actively takes sugar from the bloodstream and that astrocytes (the most common cells within the brain that help form the blood-brain barrier) react with leptin and insulin to regulate hunger and satiety as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
It is thought that a range of drugs influencing astrocyte behaviour might provide a breakthrough in diabetes management.

Read: Cell types like astrocytes regulate metabolic processes – Discovery of a brain sugar switch

Negative groups such as those that Mark Coleman has been following, often target nutritional substances in regard to safety and often deliberately confuse them with other forms of complementary medicines.
Mainstream media seems to be part of this process through the publicising of false and misleading information targeting nutritional substances as being “dangerous”.
Allopathic drugs with their own assortment of adverse side effects and drug interactions are rarely targeted in this fashion, yet they belong to a “medical error” list that collectively is the third largest cause of all deaths.
Compared to nutritional supplements, that have not been implicated in any cause of death.
The Orthomolecular group vehemently react to media misinformation and this article is their response to this activity.

Read: OMNS – Supplements Are Safe: Who Is Lying to You Now?

Plus we have a range of media releases from various pharmacy leadership bodies.

PSA – PSA Media Releases 1. Joint PSA-CPA Conference For Global Issues 2. Future Pharmacy Example 3. Health Care Homes Applauded

ASMI – ASMI Media Releases – 1. Sensible Non-Prescription Medicine labelling reforms set to roll out

NPS – NPS Media Releases – 1. Be Medicinewise Week 2. Medicines & Ageing Populations Recommendations Released

We hope you enjoy reading our current offering and don’t forget, you can debate any issue contained in each article by making a comment in the panel at the foot of each article.

Neil Johnston
i2P E-Magazine

Monday 22 August 2016

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