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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : October 2006
t ary medicine confronted with the overwhelming choice existing on crowded shelf space. He emphasised the importance of brand investment to connect to a consumer to make that point of differentiation. Selling attributes and values, not products Taking these two points together, we can start to see opportunities emerge for brands that build and invest in an identity within pharmacy, where the messages communicated to the consumer through the pharmacy about preventive health, treatment options for existing conditions and lifestyle advice, can be of greater import than the individual products themselves. This clearly differentiates pharmacy from retail grocery and health food stores where the objective of provid- ing breadth of choice often results in no opportunity to build that relationship. Health professionals and, in particular, the pharmacist and pharmacy assistants, need to be a partner in this relationship. Consumers are looking for their choices in complementary medicines to be vali- dated, so it is therefore essential that phar- macy feel that the nature of the health messages conveyed by a particular prod- uct to be evidence-based, reputable and promote quality use of medicine. At the ASMI conference, Blackmores were awarded the ASMI Best Promotion of an Existing Complementary Product for their Blackmores Joint Formula. Dur- ing the deliberations on this award, which included a pharmacy representative on the judging panel, it was specifically noted Glucosamine and the Banana Principle R ECENTLY a specific form of glucosamine—glucosamine sulfate potassium chloride complex—has come under pressure from the National Drugs and Poisons Committee (NDPSC) as a result of its decision to restrict slow-release Potassium Chloride for the treatment of hypokalaemia to Prescription Only (S4). This was prompted by a NSW coroner’s recommendation following on from a paediatric fatality to an overdose—a circumstance not attributable solely to the potassium chloride product, but partially as a result of a complete breakdown in Quality Use of Medicine protocols leading to medical intervention not being implemented in time. By virtue of the fact that this form of glucosamine contains potassium chloride as an ingredient, the NDPSC has called its safety into question despite the dose, useage and risk profiles between the two products being significantly different. Industry has submitted risk assessment and toxicological reviews to the NDPSC for its next meeting in October. While overdose of any medicine, especially in children, requires appropriate risk management, it is worth noting that when taken as directed, slow-release potassium chloride delivers up to 1,800mg of potassium a day, while the maximum daily dose for most formulations of complexed- glucosamine generally provides only 400mg of potassium— about the same as a banana. One cannot imagine requiring a prescription for a banana, although with current post- cyclone prices, there could be an argument for PBS reimbursement. that Blackmores had used health profes- sional endorsement in a responsible and appropriate manner for their advertising campaign. Building the broader relevance and reputation of a brand with a responsible engagement of pharmacists and phar- macy assistants means that the motiva- tion for consumers to proactively engage through retail pharmacy on their health needs will result in greater opportunities to support positive health outcomes. ¦ THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.87 OCTOBER 2006 ? 63