When a house may not be a home

Disenfranchised owners and staff can find a home at the College of Pharmacy in wake of PSA/CWH deal, its President says

The PSA has underestimated the backlash it would face from pharmacy owners and staff over its education deal with Chemist Warehouse, says Georgina Twomey, President of the Australian College of Pharmacy.

Announced last week, the arrangement will see Chemist Warehouse Group implement PSA’s new tailored workforce program.

“Providing ongoing professional development and practice support is a crucial part of PSA’s role as the national peak body for pharmacists in Australia,” said PSA National President Shane Jackson.

“The training that we will deliver for Chemist Warehouse Group will support the ongoing professional development of its 14,000 pharmacy assistants and pharmacists nationwide”.

Pharmacy opinion forums have been divided on the move, but Ms Twomey says she “believes that PSA may have underestimated the depth of feeling pharmacy owners will have” towards the partnership with CWH.

“PSA has always prided itself on its non-partisan support for pharmacists,” she said in a statement issued late on Friday. “Is this a change in their approach?”

“Given the history the College has with pharmacy owners via the AIPM, if owners feel disenfranchised by the PSA/Chemist Warehouse partnership, they and their staff will always be welcomed as valued members by the College,” she added. 

“Our members want to belong to the College because of the quality of our education and the personalised service we provide to them. The College will always place the needs of our members at the very top of our reasons for doing what we do”.

Dr Jackson responded to the comments saying: “Unfortunately, this is a cheap shot by the College, in an attempt to increase their relevance, and is discriminatory to sectors of the profession. They see this as an opportunity to display fake moral outrage about a training arrangement between CWH and PSA largely for QCPP training for S2 and S3 medicines for pharmacy assistants and diploma level training for pharmacists.

“The PSA will provide will not discriminate against any individual or group in the delivery of training. This training is independent of any membership offer for our members and what we do on behalf of the profession. We will continue to raise the bar for the profession across the board and will continue to advocate for best practice in pharmacy practice, and this will always be independent of any training arrangements we may have.”

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  1. Andrew

    Pharmacy has too many competing fiefdoms.

    • Bryan Soh

      fiefdoms ruled by an all boys club sitting atop their ivory tower

      • Russell Smith

        And how many actually still work in retail?

    • FakeMoralOutrage

      No idea who’s in charge nowadays…

      1) Possibly AHPRA; they can get us struck off.
      2) Definitely not the Guild; they want us to work for free
      3) Might have been the PSA; although we have no idea what they stand for now…
      4) SHPA ? Maybe, but not for every pharmacist as a national collective
      5) ACP ? I knew you when you were the AIPM !
      6) APESMA ? Lacking in numbers and political clout
      7) AACP ? Maybe a niche or too specialised.
      8) Your local pharmacy board ? They’re extensions of the PSA anyway.
      9) Pharmacy Board of Australia: apparently that’s AHPRA (?)
      10) DHL ?

      • Andrew

        Not really what I was getting at, but fair point.

        Google is your friend.

      • Russell Smith

        Only AHPRA – they have power, the rest are all leeches hanging on to the rest of us

  2. Ian Carr

    Sorry, PSA. For the organisation which frames our Code of Ethics and other documents of principle and policy to be associated with Chemist Warehouse is a disgrace. Unless, of course, your input will ensure that CWH ceases to promote useless supplements, homeopathy, ear candles, magnet therapy, unevidenced “detox” and diet formulas etc. etc. etc. etc. Please inform me when this happens and I will hop on the nearest pig and fly down to PSA to apologise for my mistaken assumptions.

    As Damien Gance of CWH said on 4 Corners last year “I see my job as a retail pharmacist is to provide what the customer wants and if they’re after complementary medicines then I’m happy to provide them.” ( http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/swallowing-it/8267014 )
    And not just to provide them, Damien, but to promote them.

    Just a few snippets from the aforementioned Code of Ethics:

    “f. promotes the safe, judicious and efficacious use of medicines*, and

    prevents the supply of unnecessary and/or excessive quantities of

    medicines, or any product which may cause harm.

    “g. before recommending a therapeutic product, considers available

    evidence and supports the patient to make an informed choice and only

    supplies a product when satisfied that it is appropriate and the person

    understands how to use it correctly…

    “h. will only purchase, supply or promote any medicine, complementary

    medicine, herbal remedy or other healthcare product where there is

    credible evidence of efficacy and the benefit of use outweighs the risk.”

  3. Lan Vu

    We will probably see “stop paying too much…” slogan for professional services at CWH too (upto 70% discount!!!!)

    • Paul Sapardanis

      Most pharmacies offer these for free now.

      • JimT

        CWH may start allocating a price-point which is way over what it should be then offer 70% off and it becomes a great buy —-I’ll take it !!!! Beautiful, the customer gets a great deal and the pharmacy gets some money for something we do for nothing now….GENIUS….

  4. FakeMoralOutrage

    Strange days indeed, but then again, who can resist a sufficiently large offer ?

    The resentment expressed by some is certainly a valid point as the PSA represents, or in the eyes of some – once represented the practice of pharmacy and to see them joining up with CWH certainly looks like a ‘sellout’ of sorts. I’m certainly not impressed either and a few questions need to be asked.

    1) The unlikely pairing of PSA and CWH makes good financial sense for the PSA with another 14000 people paying their dues every year and I doubt if CWH will cover their PSA membership costs, so its another expense out of pocket for Ye Olde Apothecarye. However, why would the PSA want to be associated with an organisation that has devalued the entire profession as a whole ?

    The PSA has long been held in high regard by many as an organisation trying to advance the profession and to stop it being a price-driven dogfight – so why one earth would they join hands with the leader of the pack ?

    2) I seem to recall one of Dr, Jackson’s pledges upon being elected the CEO of the PSA; that being to urgently seek a review of pharmacist wages so that it at least comes up to current day standards.

    It is going to be very difficult for the PSA to call for any wage reform now that its biggest client is also one that relies heavily on low wages to prop up its business model. After all, nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds, now do they ?

    3) If we put the training services offered by the PSA together with the soon-to-be enforced silence on the issue of wage reform, does this mean pharmacists will now be undertaking even MORE work for even LESS than what they got paid for the last ten years ?

    4) With the Guild firmly against employee pharmacists and the PSA now losing both political traction and credibility amongst pharmacists, who else is there to provide support to Ye Olde Apothecarye ? There’s a multitude of smaller organisations, but none of whom are big enough to stand up against the kingpins of the industry and for many of us, the PSA was our last hope.

    This entire merger makes no sense at all and is just a recipe for more responsibility (remember, the Guild doesn’t think workload has changed significantly) for the same outdated hourly rate from over ten years ago. I too am beginning to feel a bit shafted by this deal as the one organisation that could have had some impact for its stakeholders will now be forced to remain silent by its biggest client.

    I have no idea what the solution is… I don’t even know if (*product name here*) is still on backorder let alone if there’s anyone else willing to take up where PSA is about to leave off.

    Something about rats and sinking ships ?

    • United we stand

      PSA has merely become a tool for the Guild to find new avenues for profits.

      PSA cooks up a new role and the Guild adds it in to their CPA.

      Next time you give that $10.99 flu vaccine think about where PSA has gotten you.

      • Russell Smith

        Not really – PSA/Guild operators are still paid employees – maybe at $ more than some pharmacists – yet they too need justify their.own employment and PSA/Guild income

    • Russell Smith

      So how many PSA members will jump ship AND SAY WHY?
      (No longer a member but prepared to pay for CPD points irrespective of source provider)

  5. JimT

    After discussing this ridiculous state of affairs with one of my sons (who is not a pharmacist-thank God) he made the decree if you can’t beat them get out. You definitely won’t join them. Now we have CWH and others with similar philosophy stuffing up retail pharmacy and the PBS wanting everything done for nothing let them both battle this out. Having 2 bulldogs banging heads there won’t be any winners and a very big mess to clean up afterwards………..

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