WA Pharmacy Forum Wrap Up Part Two


Following on from last week's Forum Wrap Up Part One, this blog will discuss the second day of the event.

So, let's begin!

Work, Strife, Balance

The first session of Friday morning was guest speaker Mia Freedman. She is the co- founder and creative director of Mamamia Women’s Media Company which is Australia’s largest media company for women. She is a strong advocate for female entrepreneurs and women in business.  Mia was very engaging, and she provided valuable insight into how to truly understand your customer base.

Key points from the session:

  • 85% of buying decisions in a household are made by women. This is something that all pharmacies should consider when marketing to their customers.
  • Never take anything at face value- you never truly understand what is happening with someone’s life. Don’t be deceived by perceptions of reality that is portrayed through social media platforms.
  • Work hide and understand that you’re not going to find the “perfect balance” with work, friends and family. Be willing to work hard but also learn to prioritise what is important to you.
  • It is so important to understand your customer, don’t assume. Investigate and take the time to discover what interests your customers and what they need from you as a business.  

Wholesalers Panel

Merchandising, Marketing and Promotions – Achieving Buy-In to Your Strategy

This was an odd title for a session that did not cover merchandising, marketing and promotions. It was presented by Jan Collins from Terrific Trading. It instead covered the essential strategies to help pharmacy owners attract, retain and develop the right people that will help build a strong business. 

Key points from the session:

  • You must have a laser clear vision for your business.
  • Be passionate about what you’re known for.
  • Treat all customers as a treasured customer.
  • Need to know your sustainable competitive advantage.

Immunisation Forum; Why is Community Pharmacy Not Doing More?

This workshop outlines and further develop the Guild’s campaign to expand pharmacist’s role in immunisation.

Key points of the session:

  • AMA president in 2014, “Pharmacists provide the community with a highly valued service – as pharmacists. They should not pretend to be doctors. It is not in the interests of patient safety or pharmacists to participate in this irresponsible trial. It could even be dangerous” – Negative attitude by the AMA discredits the role of pharmacists and what they can do. Need to change this.
  • The Medical Republic 2/06/2017): RACGP slammed the new ruling that allows pharmacists to administer a broader range of vaccinations as this will impose a serious risk and likely to bump up healthcare costs.
  • Sustainable Health Review interim report (Jan 2018) – Health costs have more than doubled however health outcomes in WA have not improved at the same rate. The system focuses on treatment than keeping people healthy. Improvements have been made to reduce time people depend in hospital but opportunities for more contemporary reform have not been embraced.
  • WA was the first state to implement influenza immunisation in 2014 however since then, no progress for other immunisations like other states (i.e. measles/mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, pollo).
  • Guild is trying to do more immunisations as nurse practitioners however no progress.
  • Need to engage in community advocacy to mandate change, gave examples of ways to do this (i.e. letter writing, social media, lobbying, petitions, community awareness, etc.). What can you do to influence/engage your community to make changes?

Rents, Leases, Landlords, Rights and a Way Forward

A very popular topic with many pharmacy owners feeling the effects of very high rents and troublesome landlords. It was noted the Guild are receiving many phone calls on this topic from members.

Presenting this topic was Matt Tweedie Director Pharmacy Guild of Australia WA Branch, David Halvorsen from Tenant Lease Advisory as well as representatives from Attica Property Group and Small Business Development Commissioner David Eaton.

There was clearly a need for members and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to start sharing lease and rental data and supporting each other and there is likely to be some initiatives taken here by the Guild with members showing strong support. There was also a need to members to be able to access commercial property valuer’s that are independent and supportive of pharmacy needs.

Cannabis from Illicit Crop to Your Drug Safe

Government has recently agreed to expedite access to medicinal cannabis and place the decision to prescribe this by medical professionals. The session explored the practicalities of dispensing medicinal cannabis products and the impact on patients.

Key points from the session: 

  • Explained the pharmacology of THC/CBD. 
  • People turning to alternative therapies (i.e. medical cannabis) when conventional treatment is ‘satisfactory’.
  • Surveys indicate a strong community support for medical cannabis (>80%).
  • Medical cannabis is already ‘big’ in Australia however predominantly illicit supply to date.
  • Regulated treatment model has been established and are now starting to increase in accessibility.
  • Pharmacists play a central role in the treatment with patients.

Cultivating Your Culture – Case Studies to Understand “Success”

We were privileged to hear from three successful “Pharmacy of the Year” award winners from WA and their journey to becoming a successful community pharmacy. Amanda Bryce from Gerald Burns Pharmacy in Melville, David Williams from Friendlies Busselton, and John Cao from Mt Hawthorn Community Pharmacy.

All of them spoke about the strong connection they have to their respective community’s needs. I am sure many other pharmacy owners in the audience were inspired and learnt a lot about what it takes to become a successful and thriving community pharmacy.

So, what did we learn from this year’s WA Pharmacy Forum?

1.       We all have our issues, worries, anxieties and problems. We are all fighting our own battles. But the difference between the successful (however you define that) and the not so successful, is they just get on with it, take a risk and give things a go. Be proactive not reactive. Far too many pharmacies are reactive, waiting on others for their own success.

2.       A successful community pharmacy is one which goes to great lengths to connect to their communities, identifies their health issues and delivers solutions. They become experts in their field, over and above the competition. Find your niche, find your expertise, look after your community and build a team that will go on the journey with you.

3.       The Pharmacy Guild of Australia should be commended for their role in ensuring the viability of community pharmacy, and ensuring pharmacy has a greater role in improving the health of our communities.  Our community pharmacy and public health would be in a disastrous state if it wasn’t for them.