Tag Archives: Pharmacists

Role of Pharmacists in transformation of research to health care

Role of Pharmacists in transformation of research to health care

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.”

nyashamazorodze15@gmail.com

References

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)

These are areas where Pharmacists apply their skills and knowledge

These are areas where Pharmacists apply their skills and knowledge

By Azeh Goodness

In the past, one’d think of a pharmacist as an individual in the retail pharmacy who fills his or her prescription. This traditional role of pharmacists was managing the production and dispensing of drugs. Pharmacists have only been considered dispensers, and not providers and thus their practice has been limited. Their Patients often viewed them as trade merchants and not as healthcare professionals.

Today, howbeit, this role has evolved to an individual who works side-by-side with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in highly, specialized practice settings to assure appropriate medical therapy management.

Indeed, effective medicine cannot be practiced in isolation with efficient drug management-- and that is not far away from what the pharmacist seeks to engender. Their contribution to healthcare is contingent upon their in-depth knowledge, their researches and their expertise in drugs and drug-related matters. From a basic education which has risen significantly over the years-- shifting from a bachelor of science (BSc.) degree to a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree-- to a formally designated period of supervised pre-registration practical experience, pharmacists acquire a broad understanding of the scientific principles and techniques of the pharmaceutical sciences and the ability to keep pace throughout their careers with developments in medicine and pharmacy.

Pharmacists can, therefore, apply these knowledge and skills in such areas as below

Diagnosis
This is done by performing or obtaining necessary assessments of the patient's health status.

Formulation of treatment plans​
Since disease treatment goes beyond drug intake alone to nutritional, psychological, and physiological curative efforts, the pharmacist can formulate a holistic remedial plan.

Optimal therapeutic function
With the development of specific and potent synthetic drugs, the emphasis of the pharmacist's responsibility has moved towards the provision of personalized therapies to meet unique medication needs.

Provision of follow-up services
By ensuring adequate monitoring and evaluation of patients, a comprehensive medication review is established to identify, resolve and prevent medication-related problems, including adverse drug events.

Education of patients
As custodians of drug-related information, pharmacists are able to provide informed advice on the use of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, as well as provide population-based care in Institution settings.

Education of other health professionals
The pharmacists can advise physicians, nurses and other health workers on medication therapy decision.

Drug formulation and quality control
The understanding of the principles of drug interaction and potential side effects, as well as the techniques in quality assurance, equips pharmacists towards ensuring the formulation of standardized pharmaceutical products.

Drug regulations and control
With the proliferation of hazardous and easily-abused drugs to public consumption, the pharmacists can help ensure that strict regulations are maintained.

Medical record management
They ensure proper documentation of the care delivered and also communicates essential information to the patient's other primary care providers. This eases future treatment engagements.

Strengthening health care economics.
Pharmacists help appropriate the intricacies of the distribution chain and the tenets of efficient stock-keeping and stock turnover. They are equally familiar with the pricing structures applied to medicinal products, and that puts them as important economists.

Policy Making
Given their wide knowledge-base, pharmacists can fit properly into national and institutional​healthcare policy formulation committees.

Conclusion
The phrase "ask your pharmacist" is increasing becoming common-- and with good reason. Pharmacists are integral part of the health care community and serve as an important source of knowledge and this is evident in their flamboyant presence in healthcare delivery.

ezehgoodness@gmail.com

Redefining the roles of pharmacists

By Fabrice Humura

Pharmacists practice in nearly all areas and specialties in healthcare, sometimes behind the scenes and obviously not to the public eye arena, as the medication medicines experts on the healthcare team. They are necessary in all facets of healthcare.  

A Pharmacist as defined by World Health Organization, is a health care professional licensed to prepare, compound, and dispense drugs upon written order known as a prescription. A pharmacist cooperates, consults with, and advises the licensed practitioner concerning drugs.

From this sole definition, a number of popular misconceptions about pharmacy as a profession could be disapproved. The main concern that a pharmacist’ s role is limited to typically picking the tablets off the shelf, counting them out and handing them over does not match with the aforementioned roles streamlined in the definition of WHO.

The role of a pharmacist starts right from the manufacturing of medications; a lot about this is mostly experienced in developed countries which have drug industry. The knowledge of a pharmacist is reliable in preparation of medication to ensure the right ingredients are used in compounding of medicines availed in all forms ranging from solids to liquids to gaseous.  

As medication specialist, pharmacists crucial responsibility is displayed in the healthcare team through the medicines preparations, manufacturing and information they make available.  Pharmacists educate and advise the physicians and other health professionals on medication therapy. They ensure no interaction amid prescribed drugs which could be detrimental to patients.  

A long hectic day full of anticipated and many unanticipated scenarios can pose a physician or any other healthcare professional to prescribe a wrong dose or incorrect medication relatively to a diagnosed infection.  In such cases, the ultimate role of pharmacist becomes evidently recognized as the prescriptions get scrutinized and the pharmacist intervene in advising the healthcare team on the right treatment in conjunction to avoiding the medication errors as well as irrational medicine usage. All these are done out of patient watch and they could not realize the important role of the pharmacist in their recovery. With this concerns therefore, the healthcare team, which inevitably uses medications, must admit the importance of a pharmacist.

As the world is at its highest pace in development, enormous diseases result from this progress due to industrialization, people’s life style to name just a few. Among those diseases include non communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases notoriously known to be amongst deadly diseases.

Pharmacists don’t detach from providing information and advice on management of those non communicable diseases and assistance to patients living with them. Moreover, pharmacists are not impeded to screen for blood glucose level, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and other health status values which can predetermine the early developmental stage of non communicable diseases.

Succinctly, a pharmacist by the perception of many is not solely the person who typically takes a request for medicines, evaluates the authenticity of the prescription and dispenses the medication as you pay, but a pharmacist is the first and foremost a patient centered healthcare professional ready to explain to people why they take their medications, what are they for, the names and strength of the medication and expected outcomes while taking medication.

Mr. Fabrice is a Pharmacy Student at University of Rwanda. College of Medicine and Health sciences. Twitter: @fhumura

 

How Pharmacists can Improve Adherence to Medication

By Florence Nishimwe

According to the World Health Organization, adherence is the extent to which a person’s behavior (e.g. taking medications, following and/or executing lifestyle changes) corresponds with agreed-upon recommendations from health care providers.

Taking medications correctly may seem like a simple or personal matter, but not taking medication as directed is a complicated and common problem.  For example, from a review done by Beena Jimmy and Jimmy Jose in 2011, approximately 50% of patients in developed countries do not take their medications as prescribed. This can be resolved by every healthcare provider’s action especially pharmacists. Clear instructions provided by healthcare professionals increase knowledge about the importance of treatment and reduce the risks of non-adherence to medications.

“Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them”- C. Everett Koop, MD, former US Surgeon General

Adhering to medication is critical in determining therapeutic outcomes. Having patients at the center of our profession should be our priority as pharmacists. Pharmacists should be involved in collaborating with patients and other healthcare professionals to address this problem of non-adherence through patient counseling. We should also encourage patients to reach out to us in case they experience problems with their medicines. Such problems may include adverse reactions to the medicines. Adverse reactions are one of the main causes of non-adherence. This would be a  follow-up to find out if patients are taking the medicines. It won’t guarantee 100% adherence but it will greatly help in encouraging patients in taking their medicines.

Remember, if patients don’t take their medicines as directed, it could put their present and future health at risk. In turn, this will surely affect all of us.

 

“Incite, pursue and stand for the fulfilment of your career dream”

The writer is a B. Pharm graduate of University of Rwanda and a member of IPSF AfRO Media and Publications Subcommittee.

nishimwe7@gmail.com