EDITORIAL for Monday 5 January 2015

A Happy New Year and a welcome to this weekly edition of i2P- Information to Pharmacists for Monday 5 January, 2015. In this edition we continue to ensure that our articles have elements that can be utilised for pharmacists in their planning activities given that all the portents for 2015 need to be foundational in structure.
That is, pharmacy as we know it at the moment, culturally and financially, will begin to change or diminish, forcing pharmacists to adapt and develop more of a niche model, with an offering that contains a progressively higher content of services.

The period for adaptation we estimate is one of two years (to 2017) and becoming a viable market after a further three years (to 2020).
From year 5 to year 10 (2025) there will be a major sales peak that will continue to increase but at a flatter rate reaching the end of its upwards trend by year 2035.

The sales curve after 2035 will be able to be extended by the most efficient and creative of pharmacies before entering a decline that will bottom out in 2055.

Some pharmacists will start their ascendancy well ahead of the general market trend and they will be the ones who invest real money in re-inventing their whole pharmacy structure.
Not all pharmacists will be liquid enough to attempt major infrastructure change, but all pharmacists can invest in intellectual capital in the form of producing a formal written business plan that is updated progressively – at least once every year.
The investment in clinical services is affordable by all pharmacies of all sizes because a lot of this type of development can be undertaken by an individual pharmacist following an intellectual blueprint.
Once culture change kicks in and becomes more visible, the uptake of clinical services will increase.

Banks, for the moment, remain disenchanted with pharmacy, but those that choose to understand pharmacy trends and specialise, will find they will have good and strong clients.
The time for banks to consider their pharmacy portfolios is now, because pharmacist clients will need a capital injection some time over the next two years.
i2P is doing research involving alternate currencies e.g. Bitcoin.
These currencies have evolved from the oldest form of trading i.e. bartering.
The growth in the use of alternate currencies (sometimes called trade dollars) is growing rapidly. They can often be used to fund new business activities (such as clinical services) or areas of infrastructure.
Lines of credit in alternate currencies are much easier to obtain and have minimal or no interest attached to them.
Alternative currencies have the ability to be disruptive to banks and other credit organisations because they have the ability to cross borders without all the “padding” engineered by finance interests along the line of supply.
They also offer a business opportunity in local regions that pharmacists could enter into that provides a local economy free of inflation and other disruptions that occur in the national money chain.
Alternative currencies have a lower susceptibility to fraud and can be used more safely in Internet transactions.
It is a little early to recommend pharmacists to launch themselves into trade dollars, but it doesn’t hurt to do some of your own research into this interesting market activity.

Leadership organisations, principally the PSA and the PGA still need to lift their game in support of the changes that pharmacists are waiting on.
They can do much better but they do need membership pressure to get them to kick into gear and provide the lead.
One of the industry elements required is regional education (based on health areas) where an investment has to be made both in “bricks and mortar” and Internet, to create accessible education that will underpin and drive the revolution in services that can be performed in a pharmacy.

It will not happen unless this commitment is made.

Also, these regional type centres must become centres for original pharmacy research so that some of the disadvantages can be bridged to ensure competing health professions and retailers can be creatively dealt with.

If these centres of excellence do not evolve through existing leadership bodies, then the pharmacists in a given region should go it alone. They could even be involved in government lobbying and certainly in chasing grants for their region.

Well, that is enough to kick off the New Year, so if your planning is in place by February 1, you should have a busy and productive year, even though the marketplace in the form of price disclosure under PBS rules, continues to impact heavily.

Neil Johnston
5 January 2015

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