PharmEvo establishes PharmAssist Drug & Poison Information Center

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PharmEvo establishes PharmAssist
Drug & Poison Information Center

This service will help enhance patient compliance
with drug therapy & promote rational use of drugs

KARACHI: PharmEvo a well known National Pharmaceutical company has established Drug & Poison Information Center by the name of PharmAssist. According to Mr. Jamshed Ahmad Chief Operating Officer of the company, it is a Corporate Social Responsibility driven National Health Quality Improvement Initiative launched by the company with no commercial or business objectives. Briefing the members of the media about the objectives of this service Ms. Umaimah Muzzamil a Pharmacist by profession who is working as Project Manager for PharmAssist said that this will provide service and information regarding medication administration, usage and poisoning.  This will assist the medical fraternity with an objective to facilitate better therapy outcomes for patients.  It is focused to address the needs of the society by creating awareness regarding safe and rational use of medications, continuing professional development programmes and increase awareness regarding general health issues. Prof. A.G. Billoo an eminent paediatrician, Prof. Abdul Bari Khan Chief Executive of Indus Hospital, Mr. Obaid Ali Deputy Drugs Controller from Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and   Federal Drugs Inspector were also present on this occasion.


Mr. Jamshed Ahmed COO PharmEvo (second from left) speaking at the press conference
at Karachi Press Club on October 23rd 2014. Also present on the occasion from left to
right were Mr. Shakeel Ahmed from PharmEvo, Mr. Obaid Ali FDI, Prof. A.G. Billoo
and Prof. Abdul Bari Khan.

This is a toll free service (0800-82222) which will function from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM from Monday to Friday. All the queries will be answered by qualified pharmacists who are trained and experienced in the same capacity utilizing authentic information, congregated by worldwide used electronic databases, reference books and journals. This free of cost service will assist physicians, pharmacists, nursing and other healthcare providers in promoting patient care. It will also enhance awareness among the community and encourage the well being of the general public. It will provide information regarding dosage, storage, use of drugs during lactation, pregnancy, toxicity, substitutes, drug abuse, precautions, drug interactions and Adverse Drug Reactions etc.

Tracing the historical background  of such Drug Information Services, Ms. Umaimah Muzzamil said that  the first such center was established in United States in 1953 and by 2009,  there were  eighty nine such centers functioning all over the United States. Even in our neighboring country India, fifty such centers are functioning in addition to information being provided by various healthcare facilities. She also described the project operational model and its overall functionality. The service will be accessible through phone as well as through e mail. Sometimes patients discontinue the therapy due to side effects, thus availability of this service will also help enhance patient compliance with drug therapy, she remarked.

Speaking at the occasion Prof. A.G. Billoo appreciated the start of this pioneering service and commended PharmEvo for this initiative. Though various institution based services are available but for those who are not affiliated with any institution, it will be extremely informative and helpful. PharmEvo he said is known for its ethical marketing practices and was contributing a lot in the field of medical education and research. He opined that the pharmaceutical industry, medical profession and public should join hands in meeting the needs of the country. Ethical approach adopted by PharmEvo, he further stated, should be a role model for other pharmaceutical companies to follow.

Prof.Abdul Bari Khan described it a pioneering effort which will be extremely useful. He suggested that apart from providing drug information, if possible arrangements should also be made to provide information on First Aid.  For example if there is a case of dog bit, the person seeking information should  also be advised to wash the wound repeatedly and undertake other First Aid measures immediately before rushing to the hospital and undertake other therapeutic measures.

Mr. Obaid Ali Federal Drugs Inspector said that now we are faced with complex diseases and it is important to protect the patients. We as pharmacists are extremely careful while dealing with drugs because once they are in the market, it is going to be used by millions of people and it was our responsibility to prevent any other Thalidomide like tragedy. We should know how to manage the Adverse Drug Reactions. Availability of this service will be quite useful for safeguarding the public health.

Mr. Jamshed Ahmad CEO of PharmEvo said that during the last fifteen years since PharmEvo started its operations, we have earned the trust and confidence of the medical profession and other healthcare professionals by keeping up professional ethics. Hence, they do not feel shy while standing with us on such projects. He thanked Prof. A.G.Billoo, Prof. Abdul Bari Khan and Mr. Obaid Ali for gracing the occasion with their presence. We believe that instead of criticizing the Government for everything, we all should do whatever we can do to help improve the Nation’s Health. This initiative has been taken keeping in view this PharmEvo philosophy. Pharmacists play a very important role in the healthcare delivery system to ensure optimal drug therapy and improve patient outcome, he added.

Replying to various questions it was pointed out that at the moment the company has  appointed two pharmacists for this service and keeping in view the number of phone calls, e mails, more pharmacists can be added later. Responding to yet another question Mr. Jamshed Ahmad said that in this service we are not going to change the doctor’s prescription under any circumstances. If there is a need for any change, the caller will be advised to consult his/her treating physician.  Prof. Billoo clarified that it was not an Online Medical Service which is a different thing but it was a Drug and Poison Information service. This service is successfully running in many countries and there is no problem and conflict of interest between the pharmacists and physicians. In fact the pharmacists, who know better about the drugs, help and assist the physicians regarding dosage, likely interactions and adverse reactions. All the data generated though this service will be compiled and used for future planning of health services.

Dr. Zafar Ejaz EDO Health Karachi who joined later also appreciated the start of this service by PharmEvo and said that such a step was long overdue. It is a commendable initiative which will be extremely helpful not only for the healthcare professionals but pharmacists and general public as well.  He also disclosed that now all the districts are being linked though Health Information Service and it will help generate data about the disease pattern and other health problems faced by the public which will prove to be a useful resource for future health planning.

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