By Nyasha Mazorodze
Thoughtful contemplation of human morbidity and related mortalities elicited the interest of various members of the health care team to ensure human health. Since pharmacists focus on the safe and effective use of medication, they are important pillars of health care. Pharmacists exhibit their services in a wide variety of approaches ranging from being involved in research to the provision of health care directly to the population. Therefore, they play a crucial role in the transformation of research to health care.
In order to make proper clinical decisions pertaining drug research, pharmacists play an integral role. In the case of an outbreak of a certain unknown disease, pharmacists play a major role in research during the development of the medication necessary to eradicate that disease. For example in 2014, there was an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and research was prioritised in order to develop a vaccine which has an immune response against Ebola virus surface protein. As such, pharmacists are able to use similar clinical and biomedical research in order to control and prevent spread of diseases. Pharmacists are also involved in clinical tests during the drug development to ensure safety of the patients and monitoring for any side effects and unwanted reactions.
Dispensing drugs is also one of the areas traditionally taken care of by pharmacists. Drug abuse is tremendously becoming a problem nowadays and therefore pharmacists must only give certain medications to patients who really need the medications after they supply a proper prescription from a medical doctor. Pharmacists also carry out research on prescription of drugs and this will help them understand the impacts that certain drugs have on different individuals. This will help them to maintain health safety and reduce the effects of drug abuse and drug addiction. Pharmacists will also be in a position to counsel other medical practitioners on the expected side effects of some drugs and recommending counter measures thus ensuring the health care of the community. After research has been conducted some regulations pertaining prescription of drugs are put in place to ensure the safe use of drugs by the patients.
Encouraging the proper use of medication and also promotion of health is one of the main roles of pharmacists. Perhaps, the leading cause of drug resistance is improper use of drugs. An example is not completing a prescribed course of medication. This will lead to adaptation of pathogenic bacteria to low dose medication and eventually a form of a population that is unresponsive to the medication no matter the dosage. To ensure that drugs are properly used, pharmacists must counsel the patients and encourage them to use medication appropriately as well as enlightening them on possible effects of not using the drugs properly. Research is therefore conducted by pharmacists on the reasons for some of the improper uses of medication so that they educate them basing on that information. In the event of drug resistance, research is carried out by pharmacists in order to develop new medication to replace the one available thereby ensuring the health care of the community.
Passing by a pharmacy is very common especially in urban settings. As such, there is a misconception with the majority of people that the profession of pharmacy is only concerned with the traditional way of dispensing drugs. However, “From research to health care: Your pharmacist is at your service.”
Dixon MG, Schafer IJ, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ebola viral disease outbreak--West Africa, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014; 63: 548–51
AHSF drug information, 1999, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, 7272 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Meinolf Kuper and Helen Tata. Bamenda, Cameroun. (1989). Guidelines for Managing a Pharmacy (unpublished)