(By Adebayo Oladejo)
Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Shagamu, Ogun State, Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Nyong Femi-Oyewo, has stated that the professional roles of pharmacists have evolved in recent years from mere drug dispensing and distribution to more patient-oriented, point-of-care services, involving pharmaceutical care models, medication therapy management, and effective patient education to achieve good therapeutic outcomes.
The university don, who made the statement while delivering her keynote address at the 33rd annual national conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), in Ilorin, Kwara State, further stated that good pharmacy practice (GPP) and point-of-care services are essential for best practices in community pharmacy.
According to her, good pharmacy practice (GPP), as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), “is the practice of Pharmacy that responds to the needs of the people who use the pharmacist’s services to provide optimal, evidence-based care.”
She reiterated that the mission of pharmacy practice is to contribute to health improvement and to help patients with health problems, adding that pharmacists should be acknowledged as healthcare professionals whom patients can consult for health-related problems.
“Problems that require additional diagnostic skill or treatments not available from a pharmacist can be referred to an appropriate healthcare professional or site-of-care.”
Continuing, she said, “The traditional role of pharmacists is changing and pharmacists should now be identified as ‘public health advocates’…As healthcare professionals, pharmacists play an important role in improving access to health care and in closing the gap between the potential benefit of medicines and the actual value realised and should be part of any comprehensive health system.”
Prof. Femi-Oyewo also tasked pharmacists on the need to pay attention to the various aspects of the process of medicines use, each of which is important to achieving good outcomes from treatment. The process, according to her, begins with ensuring the integrity of the medicine supply chain, including detecting spurious/falsely-labeled/falsified/counterfeit medicines, proper storage and preparation of medicines; proper prescribing of medicines; providing instructions for use; ensuring that medicine–medicine/medicine–food interactions are prevented; and also preventing adverse reactions and other contraindications.
She emphasized that, in facilitating good pharmacy practice, it is essential to have an established national framework of quality standards and guidelines. This, she said, had been prepared and published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), under the National Good Pharmacy Practice Guidelines, 2012.
“Every pharmacist, especially the community pharmacist, must have a copy, as it is essential for good pharmacy practice. The guidelines is very comprehensive, as it includes facilities, personnel, quality policy and service strategy training, complaints and recalls, documentation system, procurement, inventory management, storage prescription handling and dispensing, patient information and counselling, medication records and patients follow-up, self-care and health promotion, development of professional role, pharmaco-vigilance and audit (including checklist for quality audit),” she urged.