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Three days 17th International Pharmacy Conference concludes “Pharmacists’ role be recognized as custodians of medicines”

Islamabad ( ) The Pakistan Pharmacist Association (PPA) says the role of pharmacists should be recognised at all levels as ‘custodians of medicines’ as targets set in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “cannot be achieved without utilising pharmacy-related services in its true sense”.

“Pharmacists are an integral part of health delivery system and without them the goal of ‘health for all’ cannot be achieved,” said PPA President Dr Saeedul Haq at the concluding session of three-day 17th International Pharmacy Conference.

The conference – Pharmacy Profession and 21st Century – was organised by PPA in which renowned scholars from the US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland presented more than 50 research papers.

Dr Saeed said the profession of pharmacy was considered a life-saving profession worldwide. He emphasised on enhancing the role of pharmacists while formulating the National Drug Policy.

Quaid-e-Azam University Vice Chancellor Dr Massom Yazdani chaired the concluding session of the conference. He praised the organisers for arranging the conference successfully. He said the event should prove a positive step towards initiating a thought- provoking debate on the important topic of medicine which was directly linked with the lives of people. He said the third world countries were facing a number of issues and health was one of the major concerns for them.

“The world is a global village now and technology is improving rapidly… so it is imperative for all of us to perform our duties efficiently and work dedicatedly for welfare of the mankind,” he said.

He praised participants for their knowledge sharing, and hoped that these collective efforts would prove fruitful in nurturing of this field.

Dr Saeed also appreciated participations for their valuable contribution. He said experts had suggested that pharmacists should be given a say in policy making and PPA must be taken on board for the purpose. He also asked for establishment of a Pharmacovigilance Centre, headed by a pharmacist, saying that its chief executive officer (CEO) should be a graduate of pharmacy. He said that ownership of all pharmacies should be allotted to pharmacists like other countries such as Turkey, adding that drug sale licence should only be issued to pharmacists.

The participants also recommended that training of pharmacists should be commenced regularly. A programme should be announced by the government for the capacity- building of professionals of this sector, they said, adding that scholarships should also be announced for pharmacists. “All public hospitals should induct Pharm D internees and give special attention to their training besides providing them extra benefits/facilities. Industrial pharmacists should be paid at least Rs 25,000 monthly as starting pay,” they said.

“In public hospitals, job assignments of pharmacists should be revised. Qualification- cum-experience should be the basic criteria for promotion. Pharmaceutical industry and academia should be bound to join hands in new research in the field of patient compliance and enhance role of pharmacist in use of medicine.” They said the pharmaceutical industry and academia should be bound to join hands in new researches in the field of patient compliance and enhancing the role of pharmacists in the use of medicine.

They also asked for development of pharmaceutical industry with indigenous research. They also called for initiating nationwide pharmacovigilance programme at all levels in hospitals and community pharmacies. Enhancement of the role of pharmacists at community pharmacies was also sought as it “remained an ignored area in past”. “Academia shall be recognised as a major stakeholder in all policy decisions and policies and regulation should be sensitive to public health concerns,” they recommended.

“There should be balance between public health and business concerns and an affective partnerships should be developed in the region,” they said, adding that the Pakistan Pharmacist Association should take the initiative to hold SAARC Pharmacist Conference in Pakistan.

In the end, shields were also conferred on members of the organising committee of the conference. Major pharmaceutical firms displayed their products and literature at the conference. More than 2,000 people from the field of pharmacy, government officials, health practitioners and media persons attended the conference.

The Pakistan Pharmacists Association (PPA) is the national professional body of pharmacists engaged in various facets of the profession of pharmacy. The PPA says it is committed to promoting the highest professional and ethical standards of pharmacy, focus the image of pharmacist as competent healthcare, professionals, sensitise the community, government and others on vital professional issues and support pharmaceutical education and sciences in all aspects.