Clinical pharmacists need education and training in clinical units in teaching hospitals - Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

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Clinical pharmacists need education and training in clinical
units in teaching hospitals - Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar
Clinical therapeutics and clinical pharmacology units should
be established in all major hospitals

RAWALPINDI: Clinical Pharmacy means bed-side pharmacy. Clinical pharmacists need education and training in the clinical units i.e. clinical aspects of pharmacy. The subject is taught at the therapeutic and clinical pharmacology teaching units in the hospitals manned by physicians/teachers with interest in this discipline, just like the teaching units of cardiology/ pulmonology/gastroenterology etc. This is the practice all over the world says Lt. Gen.(Retd) Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar, Prof. Emeritus in Medicine/ Therapeutics/Clinical Pharmacology at Army Medical College, Rawalpindi.
In a communication addressed to Pulse International, Gen. Mahmud Akhtar who is considered an authority on clinical pharmacology has referred to the recent “Off the Record” column published in August 1st 2013 issue of Pulse International entitled “Pharmacists need to do some soul searching”. This, he opines, is concerned with the discipline of clinical pharmacy. The subject of clinical therapeutics-clinical pharmacology–clinical pharmacy interests me a lot and I have written extensively on this subject in many publications including your fortnightly publications “Doctor” International in the past and now in Pulse International.
WHO, Gen. Mahmud Akhtar says has recommended that teaching hospitals and even general hospitals should have units of this discipline. At partition (1947) when therapeutics/clinical pharmacology was not a big specialty, there was a unit at the Mayo hospital/King Edward Medical College headed by the legendary Prof. Col. Illahi Bakhsh who was the Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics. Earlier he was the professor of Pharmacology.
Now there is an explosion of Drug Sciences but there is no unit of this specialty in Pakistan. Consequently there is a huge therapeutic deficit in the medical knowledge and practice in Pakistan. The units of clinical therapeutics and clinical pharmacology are needed to educate and train pharmacists and also to make them specialists/ clinical pharmacists. These units perform all functions concerned with the science and practice of drugs like making National Drug formularies, therapeutics guidelines, clinical drug trials etc. As the pharmacists in Pakistan are not educated/ trained in this discipline the practice of clinical pharmacy is neglected. I have been chairing Drug Registration Board, National Formulary Committees etc as there were no trained practicing clinical Pharmacists, their contributions in this field were lacking as were of many doctors who had no training in the discipline of clinical therapeutics and clinical pharmacology. You may recall that in 1994, National Drug Formulary list was finalized, there was over one hundred doctors from various specialties and a lot of participating pharmacists in the meeting at National institute of Health, Islamabad where you were also present. Practically there was no contribution from the pharmacists and very little from specialists of various disciplines. This was reported in details by you in your publication at that time.
It is well known that in Pakistan Drug situation is pathetic, Essential Drugs are not available while on the other hand market is flooded with irrational and harmful drugs thus robbing the Nation of its health and meager financial resources. This is due to lack of knowledge and also massive corruption. An answer to solve the problem is to establish the clinical units of clinical therapeutics/clinical pharmacology in the hospitals/teaching institutions so that doctors are educated/trained in this discipline for specialization and pharmacists learn clinical pharmacy and are able to contribute to clinical pharmacy work, he added.