The medical profession has always promoted itself as being the leading health modality with all other health formats and modalities being inferior.
It has reinforced that vision through the lens of adopting power politics as its primary marketing strategy.
This meant that instead of being respectful and gaining the collaborative support of all other health modalities it has deliberately done the opposite.
It is now experiencing an increasing isolation from both its patients and co-professionals, and finding it more difficult to market its services as other health modalities have improved the depth of their scope of practice.
Their claim to health leadership is disintegrating by the minute.
In the belief that the medical profession is the font of all health knowledge, the leaders of the medical profession have been standing still in their own overall development and the direction of their own culture.
Medical culture has become a culture of disruption by deploying an ever increasing array of negative media statements and tactics against a range of health modalities, including pharmacy.
This has damaged trust to the level that patients will not discuss or even mention to their GP that they are using alternate or complementary medicines while pharmacists, the medication experts, find themselves under attack through servicing a small number of patients who request homeopathic medicines.
As the gatekeepers of all forms of medicines pharmacists only need to ensure that these medicines “first do no harm” whilst not promoting them to new patients without some basis of evidence for their efficacy and lack of toxicity.
And that does become more difficult when dealing with mainstream medicines that always come with damaging side-effects, drug interactions and higher levels of toxicity, even though they are “evidence-based”.
The recent King Review recommended that pharmacists cease selling homeopathic medicines, but thank heavens the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) persuaded the government that pharmacist-supervised sales of any type of medicine using professional discretion, was a respectable and acceptable safeguard for the health of the wider community.
The issues surrounding homeopathy have arisen as a by-product of the medical profession’s disruptive power-political marketing strategies, funded by global drug manufacturers through various methods of creative accounting.
That pharmacists are now formally recognised by government as being the appropriate profession to monitor and protect all consumers for all types of drugs, creates the real platform for the “reason for being” for the pharmacy profession.
It always has been the role of a pharmacist – it”s just more comfortable to be formally recognised in that role.
That concept can now sit firmly in the centre of a community pharmacist’s “core business”, and with that anchor, other “core” elements can be grafted to it as valid extensions to that “core”, provided they represent real consumer need.
What those extensions represent will become visible as pharmacy leaders actively, creatively and innovatively develop and expand community pharmacy vision and culture.
This is what causes real fear in the medical profession leadership organisations.
Their “knee-jerk” responses are failing to prevent what they see as a problem.
Members of the medical profession elect their own leaders, so they get what they deserve.
What they must do is ensure that they elect leaders who will follow the “thought leaders” among their membership who can point the way to a more ethical future.
Otherwise, they stand a real chance of painting themselves into a corner.
Meanwhile, pharmacists feel antagonized by media comments attributed to medical profession leadership, but they at least have a future.
Pharmacists are emerging from the end point of their traditional business cycle and they are engaging in an upward curve on the graph.
The speed and quality of pharmacist engagement with that trend depends on the quality of pharmacy leadership and the support from individual members.
The stronger that connection, the less time we need to engage with medical profession disruption that can just be ignored.
Disruption will simply evaporate as the lack of positive medical profession leadership direction continues to take their members down the wrong pathway.
And in the interim pharmacists can continue building their own culture and expanding core business in the form of:
* Designing and delivering Health Literacy consultations.
Research indicates that large patient populations have poor health literacy levels, and that there is a strong correlation between poor health literacy levels and poor health.
This is an area of savings for government health expenditure and a proposition that should attract government funding.
* Develop consultative programs and specialty programs, leveraging off Health Literacy consultations.
* Develop community pharmacies as accessible Patient-Centred-Homes and become a collaborative “hub” to host other health modalities.
* Develop the logistics of a Pharmacy-in-the-Home program using communications technology to link a pharmacist to a patient’s private setting.
Also extend the project to include an Uber-style paid prescription delivery service and a patient pick-up and drop-off service between a participating pharmacy and the patient’s home.
This type of service could be shared by all pharmacies in a given catchment area.
* Lobby for Medical Cannabis to become substantially Schedule 3 and develop a program to reduce the problems of chronic illness.
Design the program to include vertical investment in growing, manufacturing, compound dispensing and Health Literacy consultations.
Government will eventually be brought into reality as the positives of this substance begin to multiply and the PBS cost-saving potential starts to realise.
Remember, pharmacists are the drug specialists that are best placed to bring this type of program to life!
* Become proactive in health policy development so that ethical and supported programs can thrive and be trusted
For example, the unsafe products utilized in the current vaccination program and the inability of patients to provide informed consent through poor government coercive policy are glaring examples
The above list is more than enough to keep pharmacy in an ascending direction for a long time.
The reality is that none of the above really clashes with medical profession offerings and they can always develop their own niche to contribute rather than disrupt.
Meanwhile, pharmacy leaders should just get on with the job and turn a deaf ear to the disruptors.