Another pharmacy website.

I was pointed to thepharmacyalliance.com. It’s American but I won’t hold that against them. The have developed their own DSI, Dignity, Self Respect & Integrity principles. They are easily applicable to any pharmacy in any country.
I’ve added them to my list of links, well worth a visit. Especially the thread that dispels the myth that we are over paid.

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Is Big Pharma Creaming it?

Yesterdays article in the Irish Times on drug prices pissed me off. Big Pharma (IPHA) were complaining that the price reductions have not saved any money on the drugs bill. How do they know? This years cost of drugs is not known yet and most of the reductions won’t take place until next year. They just took a dig in a quiet news period at wholesaler and pharmacists margins.

Surprisingly there was no mention of their sterling bonus. As pharmacists know the IPHA agreement fixed prices in relation to a basket of prices across Europe. But most of the Big Pharma agents in Ireland are just off shoots of their British big brother. They are paying for their imports in Sterling but getting paid in Euro. You don’t see them offering their 33% improved currency differential profits back to the Government. No, they are just quietly pocketing them while at the same time moaning about wholesaler and pharmacists margins.

So fair play to them for getting their PR out and into the papers in a quiet news period. But beware of glass houses.

Calling all pharmacist members of the PSI Council

I know that you are all busy like myself. But I have decided to take the time to ask how you as Community Pharmacists can stand over the recent behaviour of the PSI?
Leaving aside that you want us to prepare enough paper work to compete with Ulysses at the busiest time of the year how can you justify the fee of €2,500? Leaving aside your massive tranche of cash from selling Northumberland Road and Shrewsbury Road why do you need an extra €4M per year? You say that the PWC report recommended this fee. Then publish the report and the terms of reference. What are you hiding? You don’t intend to publish your figures for 2009 until March 2010 when your accounts are published. Again I ask “What are you hiding?” This has all the makings of a government quango losing the run of itself. What fees or salaries are paid to PSI Council members? €4M would cover an awful lot of Council meetings.
A small aside. What genius came up with “Retail Pharmacy Business”? More to the point how could you as pharmacists stand over and agree to this? After many years of changing our image from “Chemist” to Community Pharmacist how could you agree to this step back into the dark ages?

I don’t want this to be a one side rant. I’m sure that you have your side to this which you would no doubt like to express. So because of this I am offering any pharmacist member of the Council a right of reply. I will post here in my blog your side of all this. Unedited. I understand that you may have issues of confidentiality so I will post it anonymously if need be. (Needless to say I will need to be assured of your identity but I will respect your anonymity.)

So come on, don’t be shy. You may not want to say anything now but rest assured questions will be asked come next election time.

Hickey wins damages.

So on Friday last the High Court decided that Hickey (and the rest of us) are entitled to damages. That is to say our own money back. I see that the exact amount has yet to be agreed. No doubt the HSE is just dragging it’s feet trying to put off the inevitable day. They are past masters at doing this. Slightly more worrying is SWMBO Harneys announcement in the Dáil that she intends to begin a consultative process before deciding on new payment rates.
I think that she still wants to go down the Commissar route issuing diktats from the lofty heights of Park St. She is full of the arrogance that she still thinks that she knows what is best for the Irish Health service even though the experience of just about every one involved below level 8 management says otherwise.
The irony is that everyone involved with pharmacy knows that there will be a new contract. The IPU have been prepared for this for ages. Sit down with them and a new money saving deal can be worked out within a few weeks. Any imposed contract will be fought bitterly and will be binned maybe even before she is kicked out of office. I do not have a lot of time for Fianna Fail but at least they know how to cut a deal. They also know that an agreed contract is much more likely to deliver savings and might even win them back a bit of support.

As I said many posts ago she must really have some deep seated hatred of pharmacists. Maybe she didn’t get enough points to do pharmacy or maybe a pharmacy student broke her now rock hard heart while in college.

Have they lost it plot or what?

This mornings package from the PSI has already stirred up a bit of a hornets nest. Where the hell do they think they are doing? A whole pile of paperwork to be filled in, maps and building plans to be drawn up, legal documents to taken out of storage and Oh we have to pay them €2,500 for the privilege. Leave out the fact that they want all this done by 22nd December, less than 3 weeks away during the busiest time of the year for most pharmacies. Except that we are now no longer pharmacies or community pharmacists. We are now “Retail Pharmacy Businesses”. The PSI have already started using RPB as shorthand in it’s own correspondence. Possibly they have forgotten that we (and they) serve a community.

Now that they acknowledge that we are businesses then maybe they should realise that all businesses need to have financial planning. Some of the bigger businesses like Boots and Unicare may be able to find €2,500 at the drop of a hat but for smaller places €2,500 is a sizeable chunk of expenditure. And we are supposed to find it at less than 3 weeks notice. There is no indication that bigger pharmacies should pay more and smaller one less. For me €2,500 represents approximately 250 hours of OTC staff time. So Ambrose and Bernard which member of staff should I let go or at least cut back on hours so that you can have your pound of flesh on behalf of SWMBO Harney?

This combined with the pharmacist registration fees will mean that the PSI will have an income of approximately €6 million per year. What do they need all that money for? A few study trips to Florida and a chance to get a wash and blow dry while they are there. And all this has been approved by SWMBO Harney and the Dept. of Health.

Where did the figure of €2,500 come from. Considering that the equivalent fee in the UK is £162. The PSI and Harney need to publish their calculations. A bit of transparency wouldn’t go amiss here. I’m willing to take bets that this will not be willingly released and it will need a Freedom of Information request or a TD’s question in the Dáil to get any details.

I reckon that this is Harney’s spiteful last sting of a dying wasp at the pharmacists. We took her and her court jester Prof Dum Dum on and won. The voting public have rejected the PDs and their policies. Thanks to Dig Out Bertie she still has power and she wants her revenge. She didn’t object to the PSI having to pay Capital Gains Tax on the sale of their two premises knowing that any shortfall in their budget could be lumped onto pharmacists. It is also a sneaky way of making pharmacists pay for the legal costs of the HSE ill fated court cases. “We’ll get you one way or another” I can hear then sneer under their breath.

So for now I will be sending an email to the PSI.

“Sir,
I am unable to deal with your package regarding registration of my RPB. As you are no doubt aware December is the busiest time of year for most RPBs, including mine. December 31st is also my financial year end so as thing stand I will be unable to deal with this matter until the second or third week in January at the earliest. I trust you will understand my delay in dealing with this matter.”

I’ll leave it at that for now.