Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has called for the redefinition of the role of pharmacists at community, hospital, industrial and academic levels so as to boost healthcare delivery in the country.
President of PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, who made the call, said this had become imperative as it could serve the interests of both individual patients and the public at large.
In his address at this year’s World Pharmacy Day, themed, ‘Caring for you’, Yakasai, noted that the inadequacies in the provision of primary health care in the country, which he attributed to shortcomings within the drug distribution chain, could be effectively tackled by redefining the role of pharmacists and also when consumers of health begin to maximally utilize the peculiar expertise of their pharmacists.
“Only when the pharmacist has been accepted as a vital member of the health care team can the necessary supporting services be organized with the professionalism that they demand.
“In highly industrialized countries, acceptance of the need for professionalism in the supply and dispensing of drugs and health appliances has long since been indispensable because of the complexity of modern health care technology”, he said.
The PSN boss pointed out that the striving for economy engendered by the ever burgeoning costs of health care within the public sector, has lent much credence and immediacy to arguments that a redefinition of the role of the pharmacist could serve the interests of both individual patients and the public at large.
Adding that everywhere in the world, the call for pharmaceutical expertise is founded upon the same precepts.
According to him, pharmacists are uniquely qualified professionals because they understand the principles of quality assurance as they are applied to medicines.
“They appreciate the intricacies of the distribution chain and the principles of efficient stock-keeping and stock turnover. They are familiar with the pricing structures applied to medicinal products that obtain within the markets in which they operate.
“They are the custodians of much technical information on the products available on their domestic market. They are able to provide informed advice to patients with minor illnesses and often to those with more chronic conditions who are on established maintenance therapy.
“They provide an interface between the duties of prescribing and selling medicines and, in so doing, they dispose of any perceived or potential conflict of interest between these two functions”, he explained.
Apart from the above functions, Yakasai affirmed that the distinctive expertise of the pharmacist provides members of the profession with a suitable background to assume diverse responsibilities in both public administration and drug manufacture and supply.
“The competence of the pharmacist is already proven and evident in the direction and administration of pharmaceutical services such as in drug regulation and control.
Others are in the formulation and quality control of pharmaceutical products as well as in the inspection and assessment of drug manufacturing facilities.
He also noted that the competence and expertise of pharmacists can also be seen in the assurance of product quality throughout the distribution chain and in drug procurement agencies among others.
He however said the profession can only be an efficiently organized element of the health care system when it has gained representation within the senior ranks of administration in both government and industry, and when pharmaceutical education has become established at university level.
Further reminding Nigerians that the pharmacist has indisputable functions at various levels in national drug registration and regulation, Yakasai said: “On this occasion of the 2016 World Pharmacy Day, I want to enjoin consumers of health to continue if they have and if not begin to maximally utilize the peculiar expertise of their pharmacists at community, hospital, industrial or academic levels. Your pharmacist is an invaluable source of information on all medicines. It is your right to top this huge reserve and potential.”
World Pharmacists Day organized by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), is aimed at highlighting the impact and added value of the pharmacy profession and its role in improving healthcare delivery.