Pharmacists: Caring for you (Celebrating World Pharmacists’ Day 2016)

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The International Pharmaceutical Federation, in an announcement at The Hague, selected “Pharmacists: caring for you” as the theme for this year’s World Pharmacists’ day. The theme was chosen to highlight the crucial role Pharmacists play in providing care to the public as well as the emotional connection they have with their patients.

Pharmacy is one of the oldest professions ever known. From time immemorial, mankind has used medicinal substances in the treatment of ailments; the Sumerians, now living in modern Iraq, used liquorice, myrrh, mustard and opium to treat ailments. Ancient Egyptians had specific preparers of medicines known as “Pastophors” who were highly respected and valued in the Egyptian society. The Ebers papyrus (1500 BC) includes 875 prescriptions and 75 drugs, showing that ancient Egyptians made use of infusions, ointments, lotions and enemas.

Pharmacists have been helping to relieve suffering and long-term conditions for thousands of years. Their role has evolved since the days of selling drugs and getting prescriptions filled, as they are now directly involved with patient care, focusing on safe and effective medication use. They undergo rigorous training to understand the biochemical mechanisms and actions of drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions and monitorin parameters. This is mated to anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. They interpret and communicate this specialized knowledge to other members of the healthcare team and patients.

Pharmacists are highly versatile professionals. They are involved in every step necessary for quality medicines to get to patients. From the search for bioactive substances, to the rigorous clinical trials for the establishment of the safety and efficacy of these substances, the design of the optimal dosage form, large-scale production of the medications, distribution and dispensing to patients, while providing counsel on the efficient use of the medications and monitoring the patients for the desired outcome.

Pharmaceutical care, the responsible provision of drug therapy to achieve desired outcomes which improve the patient’s quality of life, is now the central role of pharmacists. It is a patient-centred, outcome oriented pharmacy practice that requires the pharmacist to work in concert with the patient and other healthcare providers to promote health, prevent disease, and to assess, monitor, initiate, and modify medication use to assure that drug therapy regimens are safe and effective. This culminates in decreased medication errors, increased patient compliance in medication regimen, better chronic disease state management, strong pharmacist-patient relationship; and decreased long-term cost of medical care.

The fundamentals of pharmaceutical care clearly show that Pharmacists, the custodians of pharmaceutical care, are completely focused on the patients. They don’t just provide medicines, they provide care and play a major role in the outcome of pharmacological therapies. Put simply, Pharmacists are completely focused on your wellbeing so the next time you meet one, remember they care about you.

HAPPY WORLD PHARMACISTS’ DAY

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