EDITORIAL for Monday 4 September 2017

Welcome to the current edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 4 September, 2017.
Health policy issues within Australia are “murky” because they do not reflect what is best practice for the Australian public.
That poor health policy has a “knock-on” effect into other policy areas, such as social welfare, where unemployed Centrelink clients will now be subjected to drug testing to determine whether punitive measures will be taken against those welfare recipients.

This punitive welfare policy in practice, diverts public attention from a major failure of another government policy – the policy of jobs generation!
Reports indicate that there are 17 people waiting to fill each available job and that there will be no alleviation in the short-term.
The unemployed are a very vulnerable sector and highly stressed.
It is little wonder that some of these people try to find solace in illegal drugs.

And that leads to another policy failure – the war on illegal drugs policy that has now been proven to be a global failure.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released a statement that recommends that cannabis should be decriminalised world-wide because existing laws cause health discrimination.

And that is exactly what is happening at an alarming rate in Australia.
Drug addiction is a medical issue – not a criminal issue, and there is an abundance of evidence available from around the world, that supports that view.
Australian health policy has become poor policy and is starting to contaminate a broader range of policy issues to the extent that the issues are beginning to resemble a “swamp” – very similar to the “swamp” US president Trump has vowed to drain.

To drain the Australian swamp the first step ought to be to legalise cannabis as per the WHO recommendation.
The second step would be to create accessibility by down-scheduling medical cannabis to schedule 3 for sale under a pharmacist’s supervision.
In the state of Colorado where cannabis has been legalised for some time, it has been found that cannabis has been able to substitute for opioids in addicted patients and that public health costs have been dramatically reduced as a result.
Also, policing resources have been able to be diverted to more pressing areas of law, because medical cannabis has proved not to be a “gateway drug” to other illegal drugs – quite the opposite in fact.
In Colorado, recreational use of cannabis is permitted and this has become a major source of tax revenue that has been reinvested in other health and education programs offered free to residents of that state.
All positives!

And instead of drug testing Australian welfare recipients offer them treatment support using medical cannabis as part of that support and get on with the job of repairing the total Australian economy through job creation programs that actually work – one such program could involve the encouragement of the farming and manufacture of cannabis with minimum of restriction to allow this industry to flourish.

Our lead article for this edition is one devoted to Self Care, a process that has long been associated with community pharmacy practice.
It is currently being revived and reinvented because it is the cheapest platform for the delivery of health care.
Self Care is driven by a number of factors, one of which is the ability to provide and give access to, the concept of health literacy.
Self Care is a form of patient empowerment that may involve the purchase of products or services that are not necessarily available through your particular pharmacy.
If not, why not?
Self Care is an opportunity to provide health care at a low cost and this is its most attractive feature.
The effort expended may not give an immediate return, but it will open the door to a future service or product sale if the original engagement process was solid.
This is basic pharmacy health care and needs to be revisited to ensure that your patient volume continues to expand.
Patients tend to bond with a single pharmacy while customers develop multi-channels for their needs.
Read: The Practice of Self Care – Where it all Begins

Gerald Quigley identifies that the medical fraternity do not seem to handle competition at a practical level.
They see themselves as being able to do everything instead of providing service in their field of expertise to a high level of quality.
They try to “gate-keep” everything in health and end up charging high fees for basically duplicating roles they should not even be involved with.
They also try to eradicate whole areas of health valuable to some patient populations and they do it by claiming a “turf war” exists.
They are floundering.
Pharmacists are in the front line of the so-called turf wars and have nothing to apologise for – just get on with providing a higher profile clinical service and shrug off the detractors – your patients will thank you.
Read: What turf war??

The pattern of adversely targeting nutritional supplements and complementary medicines in the US is duplicated here in Australia, usually through Skeptic-dominated organisations.
These items are supported by pharmacists in Australia because of their safety profile. “First do no harm” is a concept that pharmacists recognise and support.
Nutritional support for many patient health conditions is a valuable first-line treatment.
The Orthomolecular News Service defends the safety of these products compared to mainstream medicines.
Read: Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS) – Media Medicine: Have You No Sense of Decency?

Barry Urquhart, the principal behind Marketing Focus discusses how the impact of discounting in product and service marketing is becoming more prominent.
He analyses the problems arising and discusses strategies to offset and adjust your own business model, so as to come back to a competitive and consumer-friendly model.
Read: MARKETING FOCUS – 1. Love your customer more than your products 2. Everybody’s talking brands 3. Promotions Fatigue 4. Unpredictable, Unprecedented 5. The hidden costs of Discounting

Harvey Mackay is back with an article detailing communications.
Concise communications are usually targeted communications.
They are planned for impact and effect.
As pharmacists are health literacy specialists they need to be constantly polishing their techniques and applications in their communications processes.
Brevity is a major component.
Read: Stop procrastinating before it stops you

WHO has made a statement saying that cannabis should be decriminalised world-wide because existing laws cause health discrimination.
In Australia, patients are being actively discriminated against as police are instructed to enforce existing laws and close down “illegal” supplies, leaving critically ill people with no workable solutions for their health problems.
Flawed health policy generates bad laws and lowered community respect for policy and laws.
Yet again, Pharmacy is in a position to provide solutions very simply and simultaneously create opportunity for the profession to treat chronically ill patients efficiently and economically.
Pharmacy leaders need to be proactive in the regulatory area because other health professionals are actively competing to lock pharmacy out of any opportunity whatsoever.
Potential for pharmacists is found in the compounding of THC and CBD in specific ratios to match the best result for patients with chronic illness.
Further pharmacist potential also lies in using cannabinoids in harm minimisation programs involving opioid dependencies and as an adjunct for the management of pain.
Pharmacists also need to be active and have a voice in the regulation of these substances ensuring that maximum patient access can be obtained through the application of Schedule 3 of the Poison’s Act.
Read: Understanding Medical Cannabis – 1. Addiction Experts Beg Govt. to Scrap Welfare Drug Tests 2. People Who Think Punitive Measures Help Drug Addicts Have Not Seen What I have 3. Single Dose CBD Shown to Reduce Blood Pressure

“The science is settled”.
So say the people who promote vaccination as some form of extreme medical ideology.
“Scientism is settled” is a more accurate description of the manipulation of the science surrounding vaccines – and it is certainly “unsettling” to hear the dishonest claims that blare out in all forms of media.
 “First do no harm” is the concept that underwrites all medical practice.
Australian vaccination policy is so poor and damaging, that it beggars belief that legislators can be so close to manufacturer sales objectives as to guarantee them a market through coercive legislation that involves simultaneous removal of patient choice.
The evidence supporting vaccine policy failure and its lack of safety is becoming so voluminous that it will eventually destroy the unnatural power alliance that desperately tries to hold it all together.
Read: Safe Vaccine Debate – 1. Cinema Libre: Injecting Aluminium  2. The VaccineReaction.org: Australia’s Draconian Vaccine Laws 3. Dr Judy Wileyman Report: Open Letter to University of Wollongong & Newsletter #170

And we conclude our offering for this edition with media releases from two pharmacy leadership organisations:

PSA – http://i2p.com.au/psa-media-releases-new-professional-support-tools-for-all-pharmacists/

ASMI – http://i2p.com.au/asmi-media-releases-1-new-vit-e-research-2-vit-b6-b12-important-for-health-3-thanks-to-departing-health-secretary/

We hope you enjoy the content in this edition and we invite readers to post comments in the panel provided at the foot of each article.

Neil Johnston
Editor, i2P E-Magazine
Monday, 4 September 2017

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