Price and clinical effectiveness are not the only factors when prescribing and dispensing these days, suggests Noel Wicks

Have you ever come across the law of unintended consequences? If you’re not entirely sure what this ‘law’ is, then let me enlighten you. It refers to outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action.

There are some interesting examples out there of unintended consequences. There’s lots around the introduction of wildlife into areas they weren’t indigenous to, often with catastrophic repercussions – the rabbits and cane toads in Australia are two that instantly jump to mind (no pun intended). In 1990, the Australian state of Victoria made wearing safety helmets mandatory for all bicycle riders.

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Many pharmacists in Europe are jealous of the success of pharmacy in the UK, suggests Noel Wicks

A few weeks ago. I had the good fortune to attend th INFARMA congress and exhibition, held in Barcelona. This was a amazing event with a huge number of exhibitors and thousands of community pharmacists and their staff attending from all over Spain.

The place was packed and the atmosphere electric. There was a genuine buzz inside the exhibition hall and the formal conference sessions. It was very exciting to be a part of it, not just as a delegate, but also as a speaker.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

Recently, I attended the European Pharmacists Forum (EPF) meeting in Brussels and the Alphega Pharmacy European Convention in Monte Carlo, so I’d like to take a little time to outline the highlights of both these important events.

The EPF meeting in Brussels saw the launch of a White Paper outlining five key areas where pharmacists can play an integral role in healthcare in the future – medicines adherence, vaccinations, screening, self-care and disease prevention. The launch was attended by industry leaders, representatives of the European Commission (the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety) and other healthcare professionals.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

I have been writing these columns for more than five years now. Each time I sit at my keyboard thinking we are taking one step forward, I realise that we have taken two steps back.

I guess that in my 47 years in community pharmacy, I have become a little disillusioned because, despite our best efforts, we are still regarded as the Cinderella profession of healthcare by many. So, to avoid being called “a grumpy old man”, as my dear wife describes me, I have found some positives this month (sadly there are still a few negatives, too).

 

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Noel Wicks comments on the proposal for employing pharmacists in general practice

It’s been interesting reading the views on the recent joint RPS and RCGP announcement regarding pharmacists in GP surgeries. I don’t think anyone would deny that pharmacists could add value, but does the suggestion have the four ‘rights’? By this, I mean ‘the right role, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right dose’.

I may be stretching it as an idea, but stay with me on this. First, is this the right role for the pharmacists? I’m not convinced GPs are that willing to shed aspects of the longer-term management of their patients. In fact, of the GPs I know, most consider their daily practice to be one of ‘trivialism’ instead of ‘generalism’: dealing with the huge number of patients presenting with trivial conditions, who are simply looking for reassurance or free NHS treatment is clogging up their surgeries.

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