EDITORIAL for Monday 5 October 2015

Welcome to this weeks’ edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 5 October, 2015.
October is upon us and this places community pharmacy in a position to polish its financial results for the financial year as at 30th June 2015 and wondering whether the Christmas budget needs to be trimmed to provide for sufficient cash to pay for the gift items as well as create an income tax reserve.
Or maybe it is not an income tax problem this year but more of a cash flow problem for now and for the future.

Pharmacy is still a good business but it does have an unbalanced “core” to provide a balance and a buffer to sustain it.
Certainly not an impossible task if you have good leaders who are able to anticipate the major political issues – both pharmacy-political and party-political.

A media release was received regarding pharmacist prescribing in a GP practice as one of the issues of becoming a practice pharmacist.
The PSA version says it will not be a feature of their model while the PGA says it will be part of their version.
Time has prevented i2P from developing a complete analysis of the two points of view, only to say that in the information i2P currently holds on our New Zealand contact, John Dunlop, his prescribing activities are very much in demand in the practice role he has held for some time and that it is common in other countries.

I’ll wait until i2P writers volunteer to provide an analysis of this issue but it would seem that we have a leadership that can come together on a non-issue like homeopathy yet be divided on a prescribing issue that should have been resolved years ago.
Simultaneously, we have a wounded community pharmacy sector still not understanding a direction they should take and wondering that if they move and take a reasoned direction, they will be unsupported with the “tail wagging the dog” plus a deliberately isolated clinical pharmacist sector which has the capacity to fill clinical gaps but has to work outside of community pharmacy to get a toehold in a professional setting.
Hardly a strong platform to ensure that pharmacists can negotiate with confidence.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world continues to outstrip Australian pharmacy performance, moving to place the pharmacist as a coordinating “centre” through the use of innovate software and clinical systems.
In the article A Pharmacy Hub- Providing Advanced Patient Investigations and Linking to all Health Providers  a new Samsung desktop device is presented which has the capacity to completely disrupt pathology laboratories.
More importantly, it would allow pharmacists to collaborate in primary health care by being able to do patient investigation to a level where a patient could be referred to an appropriate health practitioner (including specialist clinical pharmacists, clinical nurse practitioners or GP’s.
We did touch on it a couple of weeks’ ago through the article Telehealth and Telemedicine – a major pharmacy opportunity in Healthspot Concept which is worth a second read to gain context and further insight, The model of a walk-in clinic described in this article is one that could be adapted for Australian pharmacy with a different structural design.

i2P is also concerned about the way in which new pharmacists are presented their future choices.
They can’t be fast-tracked into professional roles because pharmacy leaders are still sorting themselves out. So the outlook may appear dim.
But give a little mentoring and guidance and a touch of energy and fresh approach, and opportunity may still exist for those that do their own homework and be a bit creative.
The Dream of Owning Your Own Pharmacy may be the article to set you off in a direction that may assist that dream, particularly if you are a young pharmacist.

Harvey Mackay is back this week and his article concerns money.
We all need it to survive, so there may be some pointers in Money, the game … with seven simple steps to win it  that may be of some help.

Loretta Marron is back with a skeptic’s perspective on some dental health issues.
What is your view on this public health issue?
Are you informed?
Read: “Bite Back Campaign” – a toothy tiger?

The issue of genetically modified (GM) crops has risen to a highly volatile level in the European Union (EU) to the extent that it may induce a permanent political fracture and eventual divorce between the countries that comprise the EU.
That this issue will become also affect the political fabric of Australia as we reported in an earlier article titled  GM Lobby Will Damage Australian’s Health Future  where we reported on an address to the National Press Club by Jon Entine, an alleged front person for Monsanto engaged in delivering misleading and false information on their behalf.
The results of his work, and others, on behalf of Big Agribusiness are illustrated in this weeks’ article titled European Union Divide (with possible divorce) Over GM Crops .

With opioid abuse reaching epidemic proportions in the US we thought it practical to report on the steps they are taking to minimise the impacts. We think Australia has better infrastructure when compared with the US, but we also think that community pharmacy could add to good management with the inclusion of clinical pharmacists in the equation.
While it is not common for GP’s to be directly involved, they could increase their role through their practice pharmacist.
But I am assuming that this may not have even come up in discussion with pharmacy leaders and GP leaders in their talks regarding practice pharmacist collaboration.
Even the community pharmacy toehold through their methadone clinics could increase their footprint using a clinical pharmacist, and because it is a major public health issue, it may even be a funded position. Read US Increases Naloxone Access to Combat Opioid Overdose Epidemic in this edition.

If you are uncertain in your own mind as to how GM crops may influence human health then please read a research report on this particular subject.
In my mind, GM foods should not be introduced into Australia, even though there is a presence already with a major onslaught planned politically to remove objections.
The lubricant for this process is money – buckets of it already siphoned off into tax shelters around the world.
Money is no object and politicians have a need for money to fund ever costlier campaigns (and maybe even for their own personal use).
Given that Australian politicians can blatantly charter helicopters instead of using a motor vehicle for a 45 minute drive, it should not be too difficult for Big Agribusiness to achieve its ends.
Read RNA In GM Rice Can Now Be Seen In Your Blood And Organs.

And we finish up our offering this week with media releases from PSA and NPS.
The PSA release contains the first release relating to a non-prescribing role for a Practice Pharmacist.

PSA – PSA Media Releases – 1. No Prescriber Role in PSA Model 2. Grey Nomads

NPS – NPS Media Releases – 1. Australian Prescriber 2. Cervical Screening Program Changes 3. Appropriate Healthcare Conversation

Read and enjoy this weeks’ offering.
Neil Johnston
Monday 6 October 2015

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