EDITORIAL for Monday 5 March 2018

Welcome to the current edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 5 March, 2018.
We note that recently, and with much fanfare, a more streamlined process has been created for doctors wishing to prescribe medical cannabis in NSW.
The NSW government has partnered with the Federal Government to create a single registration process.
While this might eliminate some minor red tape issues it does little to improve patient access to this product, and again does little for patients who would derive great benefit from this product.
It also benefits the global drug manufacturers through it not being readily available, despite the fact that more damaging drugs (like opiates) have ready availability.
Only patients and taxpayers suffer because a locally grown product is available, quite cheap but ruled illegal.
Taxpayers miss out through the fact that medical cannabis could reduce the cost of the PBS enormously.
So it could be said that politicians must also benefit through their drafting of poor policy and stupid regulations (and receiving large donations in the lobbying process).

And where is the pharmacy voice in the access debate, and where is the agitation to provide real patient access through Schedule 3 of the Poison’s Act?
Also, why is it possible to have an intoxicating agent like alcohol having ready and virtually unfettered access, while cannabis, a far safer and more useful to health product, almost out of sight, buried in a myriad of regulations?
Political manipulation in the extreme!

What do Stephen PaddockOmar MateenGavin Long, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, James Holmes, and now, Nikolas Cruz all have in common?
These are all mass murderers of innocent people and school children, through shooting with weapons-grade firearms, in the US.
What they also hold in common is that they were all taking antidepressant drugs (SSRI’s) having documented side-effects of suicide, birth defects, heart problems, hostility, violence, aggression, hallucinations, self-harm, delusional thinking, homicidal ideation, and death – just a few of the side effects caused by the medication taken by the shooters named above.
There have been 150 studies in 17 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects.
It is thought that all of these mass murderers had a psychotic episode through an unsupervised withdrawal of the SSRI they were taking.
There have been 134 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and the EU warning about the dangerous side effects of antidepressants.

The issue we are highlighting is that this information has never been pursued by any mainstream media and any investigative journalist trying to shine light on this matter has been relentlessly shut down.
i2P received the following information through a network of global independent publishers, and one US-based independent publisher filed the following report:

“The issue of psychotropic medication playing a role in mass shootings is not some conspiracy theory.
It is very real and the drug manufacturers list these potentially deadly side effects on the very inserts of every one of these drugs.
But the mainstream media and the government continue to ignore or suppress this information.
Why is that?

In a clear example of how beholden mainstream media is to the pharmaceutical industries who manufacture and market these drugs, FOX News’ Sean Hannity was recorded this week, blatantly cutting off a reporter who dared mention Nikolas Cruz’s reported association with antidepressants.

In a news segment this week, Hannity was interviewing radio talk show host, Gina Loudon who tried to bring up Cruz’s association with SSRIs.

“I think we have to take a hard look at one thing we’re not talking about yet too, Sean, and that is psychotropic drugs,” Loudon says. “My guess is, we’ll find out like most of these shooters…..” she says, just before Hannity jumps in to silence her.

Hannity then shuts up Loudon and moves to the doctor next to her.
Just like that, all talk which was implicating big pharma in their role in mass shootings was effectively silenced.

Despite this deadly laundry list of potential reactions to these medications, their use has skyrocketed by 400% since 1988.
Coincidentally, as antidepressant use went up, so did mass shootings.

The website SSRIstories.org has been documenting the link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and violence.
On the website is a collection of over 6,000 stories that have appeared in local media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including most of the mass shootings which have taken place on US soil.

As the Citizens Commission on Human Rights notes, before the late nineteen-eighties, mass shootings and acts of senseless violence were relatively unheard of.
Prozac, the most well known SSRI antidepressant, was not yet on the market.
When Prozac did arrive, it was marketed as a panacea for depression which resulted in huge profits for its manufacturer Eli Lilly.
Of course other drug companies had to create their own cash cow and followed suit by marketing their own SSRI antidepressants.”

While Australia has avoided the excesses of the US by having limiting legislation that results in a low availability of the most damaging firearms, it is still open to people taking SSRI’s having a psychotic reaction through an unsupervised withdrawal, resulting in violence or death of another person.
With Australian mainstream media emulating US media (with large segments having US ownership of Australian media) through misreporting or non-reporting of stories unfavourable to Big Pharma’s, all Australians will continue to remain at risk of their life.
While the scale may be smaller, the loss of a single life as a result of a drug side-effect is simply unacceptable and avoidable with proper regulation.
Our politicians fail us once again.

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) and the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU formalises their ongoing relationship for the next three years and includes an agreement to collaborate to promote the well-being of the pharmacy profession.

Sandra Minas President of NAPSA and John Coppock President of PSS. signing the MOU

John Coppock, PSS President, said “The members of NAPSA are the future of the pharmacy profession and formalising this relationship ensures that we are able to meet their needs appropriately both now as students and into the future when they are registered pharmacists.”
Sandra Minas, NAPSA President, noted “As students prepare to enter the pharmacy profession it is reassuring to know that the PSS are always available for support.
As soon to be pharmacists it is important to be positive and look after our own mental health within our day to day practice.  NAPSA supports PSS in all their amazing efforts and dedication to the individuals who make up our profession. We are very pleased to be able to continue our work with the PSS to enhance well-being in all members of the pharmacy profession.”

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is available to provide a listening ear from 8am to 11pm EST every day of the year.  Call 1300 244 910 for anonymous and confidential support from a pharmacist colleague over the phone.

More information about PSS and some useful resources for pharmacists can be found on the PSS website at www.supportforpharmacists.org.au.

PSS relies on the generosity of the profession to continue its work.  Donations to PSS can be made via the online portal which is linked to our website. Just click on the Donate Now button (www.givenow.com.au/pharmacistssupportservice).
All donations over $2 are tax deductible and a receipt will be issued.

The Pharmacists’ Support Service is guided by representatives from the following organisations

  • Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacies Association
  • Pharmaceutical Defence Ltd
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria Ltd
  • Professional Pharmacists Australia
  • Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
  • National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association.

And another topic of interest has occurred as an example of “people power”.
Queensland parents who have been shunned by the mainstream for not vaccinating their children are fighting back.

The Sunshine Coast-based Natural Immunity Community, a network of anti-vaccination families, has revealed plans to create their own childcare and homeschooling in response to the federal government’s “No Jab No Play” regulations implemented in 2016. 

Network spokeswoman Allona Lahn has accused the government of inciting fear and spreading misinformation and propaganda about vaccination and has called for a national debate on the controversial issue.
She noted that without the rebates, many families can’t afford $90 per day for childcare, so people are looking at alternatives.

The Natural Immunity Community currently provides a childcare alternative for members, and membership has skyrocketed from 18 to 800 within three years on the Sunshine Coast, where parts of the region have the lowest immunisation rates in Queensland for five-year-olds.

“We are creating alternatives as we have been forced into a corner thanks to the bullying, intimidation tactics by our government,’ Ms Lahn said.
“Mothers rights’ have been lost in the community so we’re offering services to help and support anti-vaxxers out there.”

i2P supports safe vaccination, but unfortunately there are very few that could be deemed “safe”.
We applaud this “grass roots” group for standing up to some very peculiar vaccination policies and  their efforts in providing alternatives that may create some sensible and long overdue debate surrounding vaccination policies.

Our lead article for this edition involves some original thoughts surrounding Health Literacy services, Social Justice issues and the containment of the community mental health epidemic.
One of the primary reasons for establishing Location Rules for Community Pharmacy was because the Australian Government wanted to be certain that any public/private health initiatives were appropriately and conveniently distributed among the population of Australia.
Community pharmacists needed Location Rules to provide some certainty to safeguard the large capital investment required to back a public private arrangement.
That Location Rules have created some difficulty for new pharmacists entering the market and for some economists who have observed a reduction to some degree, in the level of competition between pharmacies, is of minor concern.
There has been a sufficient critical mass, despite the above impediments, to regard Location Rules as an established success.
A void has been created as the major public/private health service in the form of the PBS has arrived near the end of its life cycle.
New partnership initiatives are now required to replace PBS and i2P believes they will be found in Social Justice programs as a major factor in containing the expanding problem of community mental health, plus provide a revenue stream in Health Literacy consultations.
Read: Social Justice Programs – An Opportunity for a Patient Engagement and Health Literacy Expansion

In our second article, Gerald Quigley explores the difficulty that is apparent in communicating the intricacies involved with getting patients onside with vaccination programs.
He proposes that an education program be provided by pharmacists and financially supported by government, as one means of obtaining a better return on the substantial investment made by government in such programs.
This is an example of a health literacy service that has been an unpaid feature of community pharmacy to date.
Yet it is essentially a component of core business.
Coupled with the fact that low levels of Health Literacy are consistently found to equate to poor public health outcomes, Health Literacy delivered by pharmacists represents an opportunity for a public/private partnership that could ease the transition away from a moribund PBS at the end of its life cycle.
It can also tap into existing programs delivered through other environments, including doctor and community nurse environments.
Read: Confusion reigns

The Spectator Syndrome is a condition described in our third article  that genuinely afflicts the pharmacy profession, particularly its leadership.
It provides an understanding of the inertia that has affected pharmacy as well as other recognisable groups within the community at large.
An example is given in the field of psychiatry where “Spectator Syndrome” has been recognised as a marketing opportunity by Big Pharma and has become a focus for manipulation.
These tactics are also applied to pharmacy and they can be felt in increasing intensity almost on a daily basis.
Pharmacists have become developmentally disabled, having lost that spirit of independence and self-reliance over a period of at least two generations to date.
It is why community pharmacy culture has to be re-written as the precursor to a professional renewal.
Jon Rappoport, a US-based investigative journalist, explores this theme.

Read: The Fear of Success

The cough and cold market is a valuable market for Australian pharmacists.
Pharmacy critics, often following an agenda negative to pharmacy, attack this market in an attempt to undermine the financial stability of community pharmacy, often implying that pharmacies profit through the sale of products like cough mixtures because they have “no evidence” or “poor evidence” to support treatment claims.
OMNS provides the information to identify the various forms of cough and the nutritional “underlay” that aids in recovery.
It also illustrates the forms of cough that would require referral to a GP because the drugs needed are “prescription only”.
As the cough and cold season is just around the corner, it is timely for pharmacists to review their strategies and decide in advance what nutritional support program you would design for your patients and what drug treatment you would prescribe for the more complex presentations.
Read: OMNS – What About That Cough?

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. Health Guide: First of its Kind Study Finds Virtually No Driving Impairment Under the Influence of Marijuana  2. The Guardian: Keeping medical cannabis from children is callous, and foolish 3. Cheri Sicard: Marijuana Legalization Has Made the World Better, Here’s How

“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: The Safe Vaccine Debate – 1. NVIC : “Cookbook Medicine” and Mandatory Vaccination 2. Robert Kennedy’s World Mercury Project: Why Are the Same People Who Failed at Science on Agent Orange in Charge of Vaccine Safety and Developmental Disorders at the CDC? 3. The Dr Judy Wilyman Report: Newsletter #192 – Informed Consent to Vaccination is being Removed based on Industry Funded Studies

We conclude our offering for this edition with a range of media releases from three pharmacy leadership organisations:

PSA – PSA Media Releases – 1. Methadone story on A Current Affair 2. Renewed training for pharmacy staff

ASMI – ASMI Media Releases _ 1. New Health Review Report Released – The State of Self Care in Australia 2. Package of reforms years in the making strengthens consumer protections

NPS – NPS Media Releases – 1. Careful questions and everyday objects – the essential tool kit to diagnose neuropathic pain 2. Chronic pain – discomfort that lasts over three months – needs GP assessment 3. NPS MedicineWise and American Express Open-air Cinemas announce winners of national short film competition  4. MedicineWise App updates aid transition to prescription-only codeine

We hope you enjoy the content provided in this current edition and we invite you to join the debate by adding your comments in the panel provided at the foot of each articvle.

Neil Johnston
Editor, i2P E-Magazine
Monday 5 March, 2018

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