EDITORIAL for Monday 27 July, 2015

Welcome to i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated 27 July 2015.
This week saw the homeopathy debate in the UK flare up through pressure from skeptic groups.
Used in the debate was the flawed study produced by the NHMRC here in Australia – a report that had no expert homeopath appointed to its investigating committee, and refused to include a knowledge base offered by the Australian Homeopathic Association, plus also ignored evidence from non-English speaking countries.
That there was intended bias seems very apparent, particularly when a known anti-homeopath and member of the Skeptic influenced Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) group has to resign FSM to avoid the appearance of “conflict of interest”.

The UK debate even brought out Peter Fisher, director of research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine in London, and his high profile as the Queen’s physician.

He also believes the Australian government review used “unusual methods of analysis” to reach its damning conclusions about homeopathy – it assumed one trial showing its efficacy was negated by another trial deeming it to be ineffective.
In a BMJ article published this month, Dr Fisher pointed to studies in France  and Germany  that showed GPs who integrated homeopathy into their practice had better outcomes than those who didn’t.

In Australia, what seems to have been lost in the posturing about homeopathy is that government has already endorsed pharmacists as the best resource for advising patients on all forms of complementary and alternative medicine, because of their training.
And I think it is fair to assume that most pharmacists do not promote or believe in homeopathy but that they do respect the patient’s right to stay within a treatment modality the patient believes is right for them.
Purchasing their product requirements through a pharmacy, and the spurious skeptic claims that pharmacists are unprofessional simply because they have homeopathic products on their shelf, is a dubious argument.
As Gerald Quigley pointed out in his recent article “Professional Images”  illustrating an Australian pharmacist who made a public statement, and had a photograph to illustrate his “binning the crap” in front of display shelves that held other dubious products – cough mixtures that are supported for efficacy with weak, or nil evidence.

Chemist & Druggist recently published the following concerning a skeptic pharmacist in the UK:

“There is also another side to this patient choice argument.
Skeptics such as Dorset contractor Mike Hewitson (pharmacist) sell the remedies due to patient demand, but use it as an opportunity to intervene and suggest a more evidence-based alternative.
“If I don’t keep it [homeopathy], then I drive the people straight into the arms of quacks and health food shops,” he points out”

And strangely, this is exactly the point of view that i2P supports, because it is sensible.
All other arguments are mostly nonsense, mostly promoted by people who like to hear the sound of their own voice or who front for a Big Pharma agenda.

So I say to all these people “butt out” so that I can get on with my government-endorsed support to utilise my training for best patient effect.
And also to say to you that I deeply resent your statements saying that I exploit patients financially and that I am unprofessional because I actually sell (on request) homeopathic products to satisfy patient need in these days of patient-centredness and empowerment.

This week we also lead off with an article on strategy and design that can form up and provide the basic architecture to underpin clinical services development.
It’s logical when you think about it, so read The Key Word is Strategy – and it Will Stimulate Clinical Service Design as a reference item for your market plan for clinical services.

The delivery of clinical services will require various forms of marketing communications that give form, substance and guidance for prospective patients.
In the article Emoji Power and Pharmacist Communications you will find a new use for an old communications tool.

Harvey Mackay is back with a great article on customer service.
Substitute the words “patient care” for customer service and read his article in that perspective.
The message is loud and clear. Read: Customers feat on great service.

Gerald Quigley is also annoyed at the standard of debate surrounding homeopathy so check him out in the article Am I missing something?

In another partnership with Industry, the University of Sydney has established a new ResMed chair in sleep studies.
The new Chair is funded by ResMed and will work across the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Charles Perkins Centre.

A number of these types of partnerships are emerging, one recently formed was the Blackmore’s partnership, also with the University of Sydney.
Unfortunately the skeptics moved in to denounce the Blackmore’s venture as being unethical, in an attempt to destroy the objective of developing evidence for complementary and alternate medicines.

There is definitely something underhanded about those types of attacks.

The National Prescribing Service has also formed up a similar partnership in education with Primary Health – a private company that uses a title that is generic to health – and that creates confusion.
No problem envisaged provided the education content is not derived through the Primary Health company and “arms-length” remains in place in all dealings.

So read a bit of positivity in the article Sleep disorder expert appointed new ResMed Chair.

One of the largest threats to human health is shaping up globally in the field of large-scale farming practices causing soil degradation and the spread of toxic chemicals through the environment and food chain.
Unexplained epidemics of cancer, diabetes and Parkinson-type disorders are beginning to be traced back to the pervasive influence of chemicals like glyphosate.
i2P will be devoting more space to this topic over time, but in the interim read: Soil and our future – health, climate change and feeding the world.

Plus we have a range of media releases:
PSA Media Releases – 1. Inappropriate Antibiotic use 2. Pharmacists in GP Clinics

ASMI Media Release – ASMI Conference puts the spotlight on ‘innovating’ to a self care future

NPS Media Releases – 1. Chronic Pain 2. Primary Health Partners Education 3. New Members for Choosing Wisely

Enjoy your read for this week.

Neil Johnston, Editor
July 27, 2015

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