EDITORIAL for Monday 5 September 2016

Welcome to the current edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday September 5 2016.
Since our last edition the mood has changed once again with community pharmacies worrying about how they will balance out the PBS price cuts due to take effect on October 1 2016.
The impacts can be severe and not always obvious and can include financial and emotional disruption.
Stress, leading to anxiety and depression leads to “foggy” business decisions that in a more positive situation would never occur.
Poor decision making leads to compounding stress levels, so a personal health risk assessment may need to be looked at.
Is it time to take a holiday?

Not the expensive overseas variety but a simple “change of environment” version that allows for quality family time and genuine relaxation with friends.
The time away should be budgeted at three to four weeks and towards the end of the break, some business planning is allowed and encouraged.
Only because you would be refreshed enough to consider your future business options in a pragmatic fashion.

In a sense it is well past time to have a total review into your business that can extend to a think tank if you have any “phone-a-friend” options who may be considering a similar exercise.
i2P has previously urged this type of thinking in the belief that the PBS is now a fully commoditised product and will not be a future income generator.
Indirectly, the PBS may attract patients to your pharmacy, but you need to be able to build a service component around that patient which they would be prepared to pay for privately.
Once you start your own thought processes towards “quality services” that a patient would pay for privately, then you begin to assume control once more.

And if it is patients you are looking for, run the tape measure over your franchised marketing group and see what patients are being generated and whether the whole package represents value for money.

The Ramsay Private Hospital Group also recently announced that they were in the process of establishing a community pharmacy network.
There are no details published as to the type of network being established in that will it be a genuine alliance partnership with a range of community pharmacies or will it be a community pharmacist structured as a multiple pharmacy owner, who in turn is “managed” by a senior Ramsay executive.
i2P would comment that a genuine alliance could result in a quality service beneficial to both, while the other type would not attract quality clinical pharmacists unless there were other financial incentives introduced.

The positive to looking at this hospital/community pharmacy model is that it is “different” to the norm and may open up other opportunities.

Medical marijuana legislation and product availability is ambling along and it would appear that there is not a lot of forward thinking in bureaucratic circles.
Here is a product with potential to cut down our taxpayer funded PBS costs with a product that we have had a lot of home-grown experience in.
Yet that experience is ignored in the main with even GP’s starting to put a negative spin on it as business they do not want to be involved in.

That will exacerbate a problem for mainly senior patients, where they find their friends thriving and becoming more mobile, while they continue to suffer by remaining “hooked” on their oxycodone.
Your average CBD oil user these days looks very much like your own age 60+ patient and they are prepared to travel to purchase it.
Are they to become criminalised through inappropriate legislation?
I would think that more discussion should be taking place and because pharmacies will benefit from compounding admixtures of THC and CBD, our pharmacy leader groups should be in active discussion to ensure that good education is in place and that supply arrangements are confirmed.
Otherwise we will have an expensive product, mostly synthetic, which will not benefit society overall.

Our lead article for this week discusses a new “buzz” word titled “Onboarding”.
It comes from human resource management culture and refers to the appropriate recruitment processes that target desirable staff, with a range of information systems to support them at all stages of their journey within a working environment.
Onboarding, done properly, will be the major component in clinical service development.
Read: Onboarding – a Key Word to Learn for Your Future Profitability

The King Review into community pharmacy poses a broad range of questions as to what pharmacists and their patients want to see in a local community pharmacy.
While it is a “pain in the butt”, time should be taken out to ensure that you have made your own submission to this enquiry and not assume that the panel overseeing this inquiry, is a balanced one.
Gerald Quigley has authored an article from a complementary medicine perspective.
Firstly, we have an ageing PGA representative who does not represent all pharmacists working in a community pharmacy.
Then we have a Consumer Health Forum representative who is a known Friends of Science in Medicine supporter.
FSM will use this conduit to ban complementary medicines in pharmacy if pharmacists are not more proactive.
Then we have Stephen King, an industrial economist with no pharmacy background, but comes with a host of economic rationalist theories not necessarily conducive for the health of community pharmacy.
So play your part.
Read: The King Review and Complementary Medicines

The TGA will formalise legislation for medical marijuana on November 1 2016.
What this means in practice is not yet fully clear, and what level the natural plant product and its components will be able to be accessed.
Our pharmacy leaders should be all over this issue ensuring a market for compounding and also advocating for a schedule 3 maximum restriction for CBD oil and low THC oil.
Read: November 1 – D-Day for Medical Cannabis

Barry Urquhart writes from Scotland in this issue and has some thoughts on the Brexit issue which is prominent in that part of the world.
Brexit, in part, was a revolt against cognitive dictatorship and something we need to be cognisant of since our politicians still intend to take us down the secret TPPA pipeline. This is a future disaster and will not benefit Australians.
But Barry delivers much more than just Brexit and a look at his comments on small business should resonate with pharmacists.
Read: Marketing Focus – Issues & Insights

Judy Wilyman is back with an update on her constant battle against cognitive dictatorship.
There is something drastically wrong with academia and Big Pharma influence on government health policy, particularly in the area of childhood vaccinations.
Judy has our admiration as she single-handedly (but with the aid of a few friends) dismantles and identifies the clique arguments that are blocking good and sane health policy in Australia.
Read: Fighting for a Just Cause

Fear is something we must all face at various stages of our life.
It is part and parcel of normal living, and if the local news is any gauge, then violence is becoming a more increasing component of that fear.
But Harvey Mackay reminds us that a little bit of fear can be motivational and provide the accelerant to “do something”.
Read: A little fear can be a good thing

And we finish up this edition with some media releases from our leadership organisations.

PSA – PSA Media Releases 1. Health Destination Pharmacies World Leaders 2. Peak Body Welcomes Home Healthcare Program 3. Free CPD Programs

ASMI – ASMI Media Release – ASMI 2016 Conference-China a key focus

NPS –  NPS Media Releases 1. Dr Google 2. Occasional Users Not Getting Benefit 3. Supplementary Survey Data

We hope you enjoy this current edition and please do not hesitate to debate any of the writers through the comments panel at the foot of each article.

Neil Johnston
Editor, i2P E-Magazine
Monday 5 September 2016.

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