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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : March 2005
insurance, general insurance, health funds, bill payments, loyalty programs. We could even deliver support services for Mr Abbott’s proposed smart cards,’ Mr Smith said. Pharmacy’s own TV channel A significant addition to this proposed information management network is an initiative delivering television channels with pharmacy-focused content, whether directed towards consumers in the form of branding ads for products and health- related informercials, or at pharmacists and assistants in the form of training mod- ules to be conducted within the pharmacy. ‘The 30 million customers that flow through pharmacy each month repre- sents a significant opportunity for growth. It’s always easier to increase business by selling more to your existing customers than developing new customers. A point- of-purchase, chemists’ own style of televi- sion channel can be delivered via the net- work and not only improve the way in which we market our products and ser- vices, but also make training more conve- nient and effective. ‘Point-of-purchase advertising is a media that is causing a storm overseas and, guess what, it works! Conventional media companies are moving their bud- gets towards direct marketing rather than the conventional channels because it’s proving to be much more effective and cost efficient,’ he said. Mr Smith pointed to the Pharmacy Channel that operates in the US and UK, which claims that sales uplifts on products advertised were between 65 and 180 per cent compared to sales prior to installa- tion. What’s more, inquiries on other pharmacy services that were advertised on the digital point of sale medium went up by 250 per cent. Further, Mr Smith cites a survey, ‘The Effect of Motion in Displays’, by the US- based Point of Purchase Advertising Institute which demonstrated that adding a motion component to merchandising displays provoked an 88 per cent average gain in sales above normal. ‘No wonder every Australian pharma- THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 MARCH 2005 ? 199 Pharmacy InfoNetwork is seeking expressions of interest in a pharmacy-wide information management platform, from both pharmacists and service providers as well as manufacturers. By visiting the website: www.pharmacynet.com.au, interested parties can gain information, register interest, complete a short survey and discuss in a forum the opportunities ahead. ceutical company representative we dis- cuss this concept with gets excited about the opportunity of a much more potent sales environment within the pharmacy channel,’ Mr Smith said. Training within the pharmacy And of the training capability: ‘We need to educate our 50,000 plus staff to a high standard. An educated skilled sales force will sell more product to the consumers of Australia and be more helpful to their health. The whole pharmacy channel and everyone who feeds off it will grow, starting with us but filtering back to those big multinationals, and smaller local operations who produce the products for us to retail. Knowledge is power and we need a skill-recognised workforce. Just have a look at the girls on the shop floor and tell me that they—like us—don’t need good training. Whether Mr Smith and his colleagues promoting their Pharmacy InfoNetwork initiative receive enough support from pharmacy may be moot in the long run. Because the technology is here and capa- ble now, it is likely that community pharmacy will be forced to apply such a concept at some stage in the future. The issue is whether pharmacy can choose to be masters of its own collective destiny, or wait until its destiny is chosen by others. s