DRAP Chief Asim Rauf proposes Medical Safety Group to promote safety guidelines


Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists conference
DRAP Chief Asim Rauf proposes Medical
Safety Group to promote safety guidelines 
PSHSP aims at professional capacity building of
pharmacists, get them recognition as important
member of healthcare team-Latif Sheikh

KARACHI: Mr. Asim Rauf Chief Executive Officer of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has suggested formation of Medical Safety Group including all the stake holders to promote safety guidelines including the use of antimicrobial drugs. He was speaking at the 6th National and 3rd International Conference of Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists held here on September 28th 2019. Medication Safety: Connecting Academia and Practice was the theme of the conference which attracted a large number of pharmacists affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory authorities at federal and provincial level, academia, and hospital and community pharmacy. Ms. Marianne Formiller Ivy, Past President of American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP) who is also Prof. Emeritus at College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati USA was the invited guest speaker from United States.

Continuing Mr. Asim Rauf said that antimicrobial resistance was an international problem and organizing such a conference is a step forward to create awareness about these problems and come up with solutions and guidelines. We are moving forward with a commitment and such events will provide fertile grounds for creating awareness about patient safety. He further stated that patient safety was a much broader concept. It also includes ensuring patient safety through medication administration. We all have to play our role in ensuring patient safety by adopting and practicing safe medication to protect our patients. It also includes development of drugs, storage, and administration, proper monitoring, preventing medical errors till the drugs are consumed by the patient. We cannot afford medical errors. According to various studies as many as five thousand seven hundred deaths related to Adverse Drug Reactions occur in UK annually which highlights the importance of medication safety. In Pakistan, we do not have a system in place hence we are ignorant as to what is happening in our health services. From this conference we all must get a message to move forward. DRAP is not ignorant about patient safety. We have worked minimum acceptable criteria. Some steps have been taken. We have become internationally recognized Drug Regulatory Body. Our aims are to ensure availability of quality therapeutic drugs at affordable prices.

Mr. Latif Sheikh President of PSHSP presenting a memento  on right to Mr. Asim Rauf
CEO DRAP and on right to Dr. Marianne Ivey Prof. Emeritus Pharmacy Practice and
Administrative Sciences at University of Cincinnati at the 6th National and 3rd
International Conference organized by Pakistan Society of Health-System
Pharmacists at Karachi on September 28th 2019.

Highlighting the recent accomplishments of DRAP Mr. Asim Rauf said that we have now become full time member of Pharmacovigilance started by World Health Organization. We have established a Pharmacovigilance Center which has started working. We are working for a WHO level-3 Benchmark. We wish to strengthen our system. Our ADR reporting center will be linked with WHO ADR Center at Uppsala. We have received twenty thousand information reports, four thousand regulatory actions were taken, some pharmacy outlets have been closed down and some people were also sent to prison, he added.

Earlier Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh, President of PSHSP in his presidential address gave details about the background of the formation of the society and its accomplishments so far. PSHSP, he said, was registered in 2007 but it remained dormant for some time. It has seen resurgence during the last two three years. It is a partner of International Pharmacy Organization and we do our financial audit regularly. Our main objective is to enhance professional capacity of pharmacists. Our mission includes developing optimal health outcome by using safe medications. Build professional capacity of pharmacists and ensure best practices in pharmacy. We also aim to bridge the gap between medicine usages at different places. We wish to ensure that all medicines used in Pakistan have optimal safety.

Mr. Asim Rauf Chief Executive Officer of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, Mr. Latif
Sheikh President Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Guest Speaker from
USA Dr. Marianne Ivey and some
executive members, organizers photographed during
the PSHSP conference held at Karachi recently.

Speaking about the challenges which the pharmacy procession faces in Paksitan, Mr. Latif Sheikh said that there are some impediments in PharmD curriculum as safe usage is not a priority and there is a distance between the academia and pharmacy practice. On the regulatory side, we have failed to keep pace with modern practices, regulatory bodies lack independent boards. Non-functioning Pharmacy Councils and the Federal as well as Provincial level was yet another issue. At the drug manufacturers and Importers level, there are issues with retail sale as a vast majority of the chemists shops are not manned by qualified pharmacists. Now safe usage of drugs is being discussed at various forums and we are also getting safe supply. Then there is the problem of Look Alike, Sound Alike (LASA) drugs. As regards quality of drugs, perception outweighs reality. The problem is with the supply chain. We need to educate every one the pharmacists, healthcare professionals as well as the public. We need to improve interaction between the regulatory bodies and the academia. We need to start Clerkship, Internship, and Residency in Pharmacy. We need to organize live Webinars, invite National and International speaker, follow international regulations of pharmacy, develop Continuing Professional Development programmes, and organize workshops and conferences more regularly. We also need to develop Adverse Drug Reactions Reporting system, capacity building for Pharmacovigilance. PSHSP has established links and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Centre for Drug Safety and Policy Research (CDSP). We are working in collaboration with American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Federation of International Pharmacy (FIP). We have requested the USAID and JSI for Review and Evaluaiton of our Pharmacy Council Act. I myself being a member of JIS have sought their help and assistance. We will sign MOUs with various institutions, organizations for collaboration, consultation practice and research. All this is meant to help our patients have safe medications, he concluded.

Syed Jamshed Ahmad General Secretary of PSHSP briefly highlighted the objectives of the Society which include meeting with legislators, regulators, professional capacity building of pharmacists, creating opportunities for pharmacists so that they can play their role effectively. He also disclosed that they have been able to create fifty senior positions for pharmacists at various hospitals and all this will ensure medication safety. He urged the healthcare professionals to let the pharmacists play their role by empowering them to take decisions how to efficiently run pharmacy operations. We have covered lot of journey but we need to provide a conducive environment for the pharmacists to play their role effectively which alone will ensure medication safety.

The scientific programme of the conference consisted of guest speaker’s session, and Panel Discussions on Developing Leadership in Pharmacy, Medication Safety: Challenges for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Pharmacy Practice: Bridging the gap between Academia and Practice. Detailed report to follow.