EDITORIAL for Monday January 18 2016

Welcome to i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday January 18, 2016 – our first edition for the new year, which is likely to be a difficult year as government changes to the 6CPA begin to bite.
This is likely to spin off a cascade of in-fighting between government and pharmacy as well as the traditional rivalries between medicine and pharmacy.

It will need good leadership skills to negotiate a satisfactory pathway into 2016.

2016 holds out the promise of collaboration, something that most of us have practiced in a “mictro” situation, but now being looked at in a “macro” whole-of-profession situation.
In our lead article titled Collaboration- What does it mean for health professions? we simply ask what is meant by collaboration and who are the parties involved?
It seems there is a wider perspective involved than the first proposal of non-owner pharmacists and GP’s.
Both our professions are surely capable of a much wider collaborative approach and now is the opportunity to drive this conversation.

We do have some cause for celebration in that Judy Wilyman, having spent the past five years as a PhD student is now Dr Judy Wilyman.
Judy’s start to 2016 has been a bit tumultuous in that a band of medical skeptics have targeted her thesis as not being worthy of a PhD.
That they had not had the opportunity to read her thesis until very recently meant that they were criticising a paper they had never read.
A few of the writers for i2P have vowed to support Judy, so in the article Australian Vaccination Policy – the Debate Continues we have published reports that Judy furnished us over the holiday period with backup by the editor, and in a second article put together by Mark Coleman and titled There is Nothing Right About This Onslaught has been put together with subsequent recent reports provided by Judy.
Mark was targeted by the same skeptic group when he wrote a number of articles about homeopathy and how that modality was being unfairly targeted.
He was delighted when excerpts were published and criticised in “The Conversation” by a medical skeptic, because they fitted the profile published by Judy’s mentor (Professor Brian Martin) as to how to recognise these flawed tactics by medical skeptics.
He said they score at least one of the following points:
1. They attack the person, not just their work.
2. They concentrate on alleged flaws in the work, focusing on small details and ignoring the central points.
3. They make no comparisons with other students or theses or with standard practice, but rather make criticisms in isolation or according to their own assumed standards.
4. They assume that findings contrary to what they believe is correct, must be wrong or dangerous or both.

In both Judy and Mark’s instances, the score is 4 out of 4.
So they must both be doing something right to score so highly and attract such an aggressive attack from the medical skeptic fraternity.
But read the articles and make your own decisions.
Comment on the articles at the foot of the article page and form your own opinion.

And it is often the same group of people that plant mischievous or misleading material in mainstream media, particularly the area of complementary medicines and clinic nutrition supplements.
Gerald Quigley has picked up on the recent material in mainstream media regarding chromium.
He has countered this misleading information with his article titled Confused over chromium?

Medical skeptics are often behind those types of media releases and pharmacists need to be on guard if a chink appears in our normally robust professionalism.
Such a “chink” occurred when Blackmore’s and the Pharmacy Guild embarked on a joint promotion where a statement was made by Blackmore’s CEO, saying that using an integrated approach between nutritional supplements and mainstream drugs was like “I’ll have coke and fries with that”.
A more unhealthy image you could not imagine and a not fully explained message by the Pharmacy Guild, resulted in a range of gleeful media releases promoted by medical skeptics and a PR disaster inadvertently boiled over to create a disadvantaged image for pharmacy.
As i2P wrote at that time, the idea was sound but the implementation was flawed and we still support the underlying beneficial theme, which is supportive for patients.

A large number of pharmacists think that their jobs will be disrupted and replaced by robotic technologies.
Certainly 2016 will see a leg-up in robotic dispensing systems with some pharmacy technician and pharmacist hours being reduced.
Because of the $1.00 discounted co-payment forced on pharmacy, many pharmacy owners will be considering a purchase of such a system.
Mark Neuenschwander touches on this pharmacist fear in his article Robots,dogs,sci-fi and intravenous drugs.
Face those fears and record them in the comments panel.

In the testing time ahead in 2016, Harvey Mackay has some good advice in an article titled You can’t win if your head is not in the game.

I think it is a self-evident truth but well worth revisiting for your own management discipline.

And we finish up our first edition for 2016 with some media releases from pharmacy leadership organisations.
Australian Pharmacy Council – Australian Pharmacy Council Media Release – APC Insights

PSA – PSA Media Releases – 1.”Ignite” Innovation Program 2. Visit a Pharmacist

NPSNPS Media Release – New Honorary Memberships

Neil Johnston
Monday, January 18 2016

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