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By Professor Donald Cairns, head of school for pharmacy at Robert Gordon University.

Pharmacists need to fight back against the rise in anti-science. We are witnessing a rise in anti-scientific thinking. In America, President Donald Trump has appointed an adviser who denies climate change is caused by human activity. He has also appointed a health adviser who believes vaccines cause conditions such as autism.

Here in the UK, leading Conservative politician, Michael Gove, was quoted last year as saying he had “had enough of experts”, simply because the advice he received did not fit with his political views. Meanwhile, large sections of the media regularly publish articles promoting ‘natural’ non-evidence-based therapies, such as homeopathy, acupuncture and massage therapy.

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By Martin Hao and Quintus Liu from personal health technology firm Healthera.

Patient-centred technologies are likely to emerge as the next big trend for pharmacy in 2017. Many people already measure food intake or track activity on a daily basis with apps and gadgets but, to-date, there hasn’t been the same conscientious attitude towards medicines. This is expected to change going forward as pharmacies turn into digital ‘personal healthcare hubs’ and empower patients to make informed decisions about their medicines.

When pharmacists are asked what makes for better patient-centred care, answers vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum, the vast majority say “more staff”. This isn’t because there is an innate reluctance towards technology solutions, or a lack of awareness – it is because existing solutions have not really solved the problems.

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

The lobbying power of the medical profession is often put down to its unity. Doctors all seem to pull in the same direction. Actually, this is largely a myth. Behind closed doors medics fight like ferrets in a sack. What they are good at, however, is managing their differences and presenting a united front. If only pharmacy could do the same.

The NPA’s decision to pull out of Pharmacy Voice, which will in all likelihood spell the end of the latter, came as a blow to those who believe the sector can only benefit from having a unified voice and consistent messaging in its relations with policymakers and NHS.

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By Cormac Tobin, managing director of Celesio UK.

Everyone working in community pharmacy should become a dementia friend to support those with this devastating condition. Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are now the biggest cause of death in England and Wales after jumping by a fifth in a single year.

It is a scary word, dementia. Over 850,000 people in the UK are living with the condition, and that is projected to grow to over one million by 2025. It is an increasing concern and many of us have seen the impact it can have on our loved ones. In the past there has been a misconception about what dementia actually is.

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

So the gloves are off. As contractors in England wrestle with how to implement a year’s worth of cuts in four months with just weeks’ notice, the NPA launched legal action to challenge the Department of Health’s imposed funding settlement.

Getting the lawyers involved is never a course of action to be taken lightly, not least because dragging the Government to court is hardly likely to endear you to representatives with whom you’ll eventually have to sit with around the negotiating table again. However, frankly, the sector was left with no choice – a line had to be drawn.

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