Welcome to this edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 30 May 2016.
Well, we are still waiting on the report by Stephen King as part of a long-drawn process of conditioning pharmacists to the acceptance of a program that is going to destroy community pharmacy as we know it.
Despite assertions by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia that they will unleash all their political resources against adverse coalition pharmacy policies i2P remains of the opinion that we will see a pharmacy climate that will suddenly become favourable to global pharmacy conglomerates.
We have recently observed that the open ownership of pharmacies in New Zealand is almost completed, with the only remaining step being the issuing of a three year licence of approved corporations to operate pharmacies.
This is just a mini-step away from unfettered ownership.
One can only assume that New Zealand is the test bed for an Australian model and that Woolworths is the main lobbyist in the background having already succeeded in a partial ownership structure, that in practice gives them full control of marketing and occupancy as well as intellectual property over logo designs, trade names etc.
The Review Committee is under a blanket figuratively, because the election process suppresses this type of information until after the election.
It also conveniently avoids any political noise that may be adverse for the outcome of the election, particularly if the known ability demonstrated by earlier PGA campaigns was able to be unleashed early in the process.
Of course, if the news for pharmacy was to be bad, then there is a definite incentive to keep the blanket on.
So do you think Stephen King will have good news for all pharmacists?
Assuming we are inviting in global conglomerates, one would assume that the ownership rules might be the first to go, leaving location rules in place.
This assumption is made irrespective of the brief of the Review Committee or whether the result is favourable or unfavourable via Stephen King.
The political decision has already been made in light of the fact that Australia is one of the last countries in the world to have this status legislated, and while the PGA has been successful long-term in defending ownership rules it no longer has the political strength.
Deleting ownership rules first would immediately allow global conglomerates to enter the Australian market.
Leaving the Location Rules in place would enable existing pharmacies to sell out to the new entrants keeping the market place orderly as well by ensuring total numbers of pharmacies could not dramatically increase.
i2P is of the opinion that Location Rules would become a permanent fixture, irrespective of type of ownership, particularly if pharmacy became part of a public health delivery network – something we have already written about.
So there will be a future for independent community pharmacists if there was an open discussion on how they would handle global entrants as they arrived. That discussion has not yet begun and it is already 20 years behind its “best before” date.
What currently exists is a collective depression with pharmacists not willing to start this conversation, and in so doing, remain forever unprepared.
Leadership organisations if they were leading would be already involved in this type of conversation, because only by being aware and open to membership of these organisations would they create trust levels required to lead.
Given the panic caused by Stephen King at the APP Conference, with PGA people not being given invitations to attend later meetings chaired by him, one can only deduce that his strategy was not known by them or that they were even prepared for this eventuality.
Despite protestations that the PGA will fight the political battle to preserve the status quo, i2P knows that PGA is politically compromised and does not have the political capital it once had.
This is why its leadership is not with the action – instead making soothing noises and not mixing it politically.
So, community pharmacists have got to equip themselves by creating new relationships and groups based on organisational and professional skills.
The PGA has abdicated this role and the PSA has yet to grow into this gap potential with new funding from government.
But will they recruit the appropriate skills and intellectual capital in time to have any influence?
Only time will tell, and we hope they are successful.
Our lead article in this edition is one concerned with a staple service from community pharmacy – free advice.
Pharmacy commentators, including i2P, have been critical of the traditional pharmacy model not charging a fee for a quality advisory service. It has been difficult for pharmacists to embrace a new culture, and again that has to be laid at the feet of pharmacy leadership organisations.
However, i2P would not like to infer that free advice is not a worthy offering from pharmacy.
Just that it is badly in need of a review is a given. That a knowledge service for a fee is also a given and not yet a reality.
But be aware that free advice built the trust and integrity factor for pharmacists that was started by earlier generations of pharmacists with that reputation still having a measure of respect that reflects in opinion polls comparing pharmacists to all other professions.
We don’t do too badly.
A recent addition to the retail mix was the Steve Jobs version of the Apple retail store.
The feature of these stores is the “genius bar” and the free advice and repair service offered at the genius bar.
These stores are now global giants in retail sales volume.
The genius bar replaces the old pharmacy glass counters that delivered the same type of service.
Lloydspharmacy in the UK followed Steve Jobs with their Health Bar equivalent.
Now they are part of a global conglomerate with similar sales volumes accruing as Apple genius bar.
Read: Do You Promote Free Advice?
To kick-start a conversation relating to the coming invasion of global conglomerates and some of the drivers and negative influences being dropped on Australian Community Pharmacists, it is necessary to understand what a terrible world we live in.
I am sure each of you will be away that something is not right in our current private family and commercial business life and it relates to a shifting balance as to who or what is holding actual power, which is the driving force for good or evil.
Read: The Perfect Prescription
We have in our retail midst another version of a “Big Yellow Box”.
No, it’s not a new pharmacy chain, but it is a new retail entrant that should be studied as part of how global companies arrive and immerse themselves in the local retail mix. Regard this as part of your homework preparation for your own business defence.
Read: Another Big Yellow Box Format
You do get tired of false or ambiguous mainstream news report that are planted by medical academics as part of their corrupt job description, orchestrated through grants and consulting fees by Big Pharma to ensure all areas of perceived competition is blocked, eliminated or suffers reputational damage.
Here is just another example.
Read: Salad May Cause Autism? If Johns Hopkins Says So, It MUST be True
Medical marijuana is having a slow route to the Australian market with delays due to implausible excuses relating to lack of evidence, quality of evidence etc.
i2P can see a number of reasons for this delay relating to illegal distributors being looked after first because of the backhanders to politicians and police; delay because global pharma’s need extra time to synthesise new molecules that can be patented.
The other delay, and possibly one associated with pharmacy, is the negative image associated with marijuana which makes pharmacists feel uncomfortable.
Enter design teams that are endeavouring to build a new image for marijuana topicals that will encourage the retailing in an open and fresh format.
Read: A Cautious Introduction of Marijuana into Your Pharmacy
The design of a vaccine has now moved to genetic manipulations that can now permanently alter your DNA. Given the lack of trust of vaccine manufacturers and the academics feeding them there is no way this will be universally popular.
If you want to rule the world, what better way to control your subjects than by a mandated vaccine that can permanently “dumb you down”.
Read: Vaccine Maniacs are in Charge – Time to Move on Them
And Harvey Mackay is back with us talking about a very important culture theme of trust, and its importance to any business.
As pharmacy owes its ratings factor to its high level of trust it is important that trust is practiced at all levels within a pharmacy to ensure customers and patients can experience this type of environment and enjoy participating in it.
Read: Create a ‘trust fund’ with your team
And we finish up this edition with media releases from various leadership organisations.
We hope you enjoy this weeks offering and if you are inclined, provide feedback in the panel provided at the foot of each article.
Editor, i2P E-Magazine
Monday 30 May 2016