Editorial for Monday, 22 September 2014

Welcome to the current edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists), published on 22 September 2014.
The week past has seen the release of the draft Competition Policy in which is contained a recommendation for change in the rules of ownership for pharmacy as well as the location rules.
The document points out that if discussed within the framework of 6CPA then suitable transition periods can be negotiated to minimise any drastic effects of such a change.
i2P will release suitable commentary as the full paper has been absorbed.

Formal submissions may be lodged online at www.competitionpolicyreview.gov.au or forwarded to:
Competition Policy Review Secretariat
The Treasury
Langton Crescent

If you do not wish to make a formal submission, you can use the ‘have your say’ option on the website www.competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/submissions/
Submissions are due by Monday 17 November 2014.

The Draft Report will be followed by a Final Report to be provided to the Australian Government by March 2015.

It will be interesting to see whether the public statements of support for the position of the PGA, is fully supported during 6CPA negotiations. Whatever happens, the spectre of deregulation of community pharmacy will immediately create a psychological disadvantage for the PGA.

The thrust of the paper will favour the major groups within pharmacy, particularly Chemist Warehouse, and of course, Colesworth is well and truly back on the agenda.

All this is against the backdrop of the aspirations of individual pharmacists and future graduate pharmacists and their need to balance all the trappings of big business against the dream to be able to practice clinical pharmacy.
Perhaps it will all balance out eventually as major pharmacies contract their clinical services to those best able to provide them – individuals structured in a clinic format with an aptitude for clinical work plus the ability to develop research projects to support primary health care delivery from a community pharmacy (or other) type of environment.
How this activity will be “packaged” will determine the survival of these pharmacists, but I am optimistic that over time, a better model for community pharmacy will emerge, and one that values the expertise of pharmacists (otherwise those clinics will go to the highest bidder).

Last week also saw a published list of the 12 most influential persons within the pharmacy profession.
Not surprisingly, Debbie Rigby surfaced in the top position at a time when HMR services are being suppressed under PGA stewardship, providing universal disappointment for all accredited pharmacists.
It would seem to i2P that PGA influence is definitely on the decline, and that key leaders in the main leadership organisations are simply not “leading”.
This creates a temporary power vacuum and a setting for leader aspirants to rise from the ashes of what is now a redundant business model for community pharmacy, and face up to the challenge of developing a totally new model.
Aspiration seems to centre around a clinical model based on skill rather than a supply side model based on product volume.
These two models are antagonistic to each other, but the clinical model can co-exist in an offline position, integrated under a working contract, managed separately within its own business structure.
So I don’t see doom and gloom and I have no doubt that Debbie Rigby will feature prominently in any future direction.
As always, i2P will be providing reference articles to help to “join the dots”.

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