Pharmacists play an important role in monitoring, policy making and regulatory affairs-Latif Sheikh


 Role of Pharmacists in creating Health Awareness

Pharmacists play an important role in monitoring,
policy making and regulatory affairs - Latif Sheikh

If pharmacists become a member of the multidisciplinary
healthcare team, it will reduce ADRs and Medication Errors

LAHORE: Pharmacists play an important role in monitoring, policy making and regulatory affairs. If pharmacists become a member of the multidisciplinary healthcare team, it will reduce ADRs and Medication Errors. This was stated by Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh a well known pharmacist and President of Pakistan Health System Pharmacists while highlighting the role of pharmacists in creating health awareness at the Pakistan Pharma Summit-III organized by PPMA at Lahore from July 23-25, 2017.

Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh

 Total Pakistan Pharmaceutical market, he said, was over two Billion US$. Our average annual growth has remained about 8% while the institutional growth was about 6%. Pharmacists, he said, has an important role in monitoring, policy making, regulatory affairs. Certain areas remain unsupervised like distribution, supply chain, prescribing, dispensing, monitoring and administration. They can help bring a positive change in health administration set ups by encouraging the government to bring improvements and change the structure of health administration. Having looked at the website of PPMA, Pharma Bureau and DRAP there is focus on patient and supply to the patients but what happens to the drugs during transportation, in warehouses? There are lot of problems before the drug reaches to the patient but nobody looks at them. It is important to ensure safe use of drugs. There is no compliance in Best Practice in Patient Care and medical usage. Institutions are producing Pharm-D but they have no sensitivity towards safe use of drugs.

Continuing Mr. Latif Sheikh said that there is lack of focus on academic, faculty and other key stake holders. At the pharmaceutical manufacturers level there are issues of quality of finished drugs compliance with GMP and cGMP. As regards packaging and labeling there are issues of serious compromises. There is scant sensitivity towards Look Alike Sound Alike (LASA) phenomenon at the manufacturers and DRAP level which has impact on safety. In the pharmaceutical supply chain, the process of handling, transportation and storage of drug needs to be looked into. Medical stores are the first encounter of patients with drugs. Over the counter sales is rampant resulting in serious Adverse Drug Reactions. There are improper and inadequate storage facilities which results in sub-therapeutic drugs. We have very few studies on assessment of standards of pharmacies. There is total lack of audit mechanism and we have drug sellers rather than pharmacists. A study of over one thousand drug stores in Karachi published in Pakistan Journal of Medial Sciences in 2016 revealed that only 4.1% were compliant with regulatory standards, only 12% had dispensers working with medical knowledge and only 4.1% stores had employed pharmacists. The faculty has no hands on experience in drug manufacturing. Packaging of drugs with no full course leads to non-compliance with drug therapy. LASA drugs affect patient care. Usually the expiry date of drugs is written on one corner of the packet and once the strip is cut, it is difficult to find out the expiry date. He commended PharmEvo which on his advice has now started printing the expiry date on each tablet. There are no alternate arrangements for power supply in case of electricity breakdown or load shedding and compliance in rural areas is the worst. Institute of Medicine reported 98,000 deaths due to adverse drug reactions and over seven thousand deaths annually in United States due to medical errors and about 1.5 Million preventable ADRs which occur there annually. This is the situation in USA, a developed country and what will be the actual situation in Pakistan, it is not difficult to imagine, he remarked. His advice to the participants was that we as drug manufacturers, pharmacists and regulators sit together and talk to each other. Gallop Survey has shown that nurses enjoy the top positions as regards honesty and ethical standards among professionals in different fields followed by Pharmacists who come at No. 2 while doctors come at No. 3. Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists, he said, has plans to build the professional capacity of pharmacists through courses, training workshops so that they can play their role effectively. We have plans to engage key stake holders from all pharmaceutical sectors, manufacturers, regulators, consumes, customers and professional organizations to remove the barriers. We wish to work with Pharmacy Council and Academia to bring curriculum changes, methodologies at par with international standards and upgrade the skills of pharmacists. He suggested the establishment of a Think Tank who could spearhead and establish bridges among all the stake holders, he concluded.

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