EDITORIAL for Monday 13 July 2015

Welcome to this weeks’ edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine for Monday 13 July, 2015.
I guess it is human nature that creates conflict of interest.
We see it in our own leadership bodies, in government policy creation and more recently, the Bill Shorten episode of election funding donations and enterprise agreements performed simultaneously.

That the people involved do not seem to attach any importance to their actions is possibly blunted by personal gain.
Whatever the reason, conflict of interest inevitably leads to friction, a loss of trust and in the case of health, poor policy creation.

In the article A Call to Arms – Your Next Fight for Survival we illustrate how large businesses and large trade unions put aside their differences in the market place and enter into conflict of interest alliance arrangements that distort the market. In this case it is the small business sector disrupted through unfair penalty rates benefiting big business and putting small business into an unstable place.
And how this undermines pharmacy’s survival because conflict of interest weakens the entire fabric of the profession.

Unless government intervention occurs, we will see the Australian economy falter because small business survival and its ability to generate employment will not get off the ground.

In the article The Australian government’s new childcare package we see similar conflict of interest issues in government vaccination policy and the political collusion between mainstream media (mostly the Murdoch Press) and Big Pharma.
Pharmacists themselves become entwined in this conflict when they must give “informed consent” when they conduct their own vaccine clinics. If done ethically, certain patients may refuse a vaccine and lose certain government benefits.
At that point we have “coercion” which puts government policy at odds with many international treaties and agreements and certainly at odds with medical and pharmaceutical codes of conduct.

You will also find another potential conflict of issue interest in the article Macquarie Uni Resumes Chiropractic Courses.
Here we see a change of direction after the Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) initially persuaded Macquarie University to trade medical research grants for dropping its Chiropractic course.
I2P is pleased to see this decision reversal.

From a pharmacy perspective we find ourselves still divided because a major pharmacy leadership body is not divesting itself of its own conflict of interest issues.
Sadly, while this situation persists, pharmacy growth will remain distorted and unbalanced because of the political and infrastructure strength of that organisation.
Eradication would help to rebuild unity within all of pharmacy – and that is an ingredient required for survival over the next five years and beyond, as illustrated in our lead article.

But on a brighter note we have included a fairly wide range of issues and topics for our readers this week.

In the article A Minor Ailment Scheme – Streamlining What We Have Always Done we note the PGA attempt to influence government in supporting a pharmacy minor ailments program.
For comparison, we have looked at the Scottish version that has been launched over the past year to see what may evolve in Australia.
This is basic business for Australian pharmacy and has the potential to reverse any drift of medicines e.g. analgesics, to supermarkets. It is also likely to force collaboration with GP’s if the final model for Australia follows the Scottish model.

In the article GP Practice Pharmacists – What is the Future? we speculate on how clinical service pharmacists will evolve in a GP practice setting.
Something certainly had to happen given that an expansion of this type of service is necessary to make pharmacy clinically relevant as well as being respected by GP’s.
The danger exists that the US version will be followed where the pharmacist has not had full support within the practice, has not been able to develop and expand into logical extensions and in some instances has not even been paid.
Commonly US pharmacists have been underpaid for services rendered unless they had provider status.

Gerald Quigley has submitted an article titled Balanced view in professional opinions.
Here, he points out that pharmacy media often carries non-evidence based statements as in advertising Panadol for lower back pain.
It is akin to earlier forms of advertising where “accurate dispensing service” or “fast dispensing service” statements were held to imply superiority and was held unprofessional by pharmacy boards.
What is the difference when leadership bodies speak out against other health modalities such as homeopathy and chiropractic-both long established and endeavouring to conform to practice standards as determined by government authorities.
Surely this is unethical and unprofessional of those pharmacy organisations to make such statements?

Pharmacy as a Diabetes Information Resource – Really? is an article prepared by staff writers after they found that a large discrepancy existed between sources for diabetic education and information. Pharmacy does not perform as well as it thinks it does in this important area.

Harvey Mackay is back with an article titled Good leaders ask great questions.
Asking questions is a natural part of pharmacy life.
Asking good questions separates the leaders from the followers.

And finally, we finish our offering with a media release from PSA.

Please enjoy this week’s read across the spectrum of diverse topics.

Neil Johnston
Monday 13 July 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *