The future of the pharmacy profession and, indeed, the healthcare industry is in adoption of digital technological innovations and the only option is to embrace the trend or end up being disrupted, Pharm. Clare Omatseye, president, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) has stated.
Omatseye, who is also the managing director/CEO, JNC International Limited, made this observation while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 91st Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), held at the International Conference Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State, in November.
The distinguished pharmacist noted that the wind of change, blowing across industries globally, is already reverberating in the pharmaceutical industry, primarily driven by the need for universal access to quality-assured, affordable, essential medicines.
Omatseye, who delivered the keynote address, themed “Innovative Disruption in Pharmacy in Emerging Economies: A Roadmap for Nigeria”, said that stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry must embrace new ideas, models and solutions, as well as looking beyond the traditional research and development (R&D) as the focus of innovation investment, noting that pharmacists must ensure they are not left behind in the analogue age.
She stressed that the overarching call is for all pharmacists to know that they must innovate to solve the unique challenges facing the pharmaceutical sector, adding that new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain will become quite invaluable in bridging the gaps in the industry in the coming years.
Charging pharmacists to keep their eyes on the future, the Health Federation president said that while the Blockchain technology will, in the future, be used to secure the entire value chain of the pharma industry, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for assisted drug development will become more important and drastically reduce the time spent on research and development, noting that AI is undoubtedly the next digital frontier.
Omatseye stated further that since the entire value chain of the pharmaceutical industry will inevitably be disrupted, pharmacists must leverage information systems, process automation and data analytics to keep abreast of current trends, adding that the 3D printing technology must also be embraced by practitioners as it will help enhance personalised medication and drug adherence.
The JNC boss reiterated that the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria needs disruptive innovation to leapfrog its challenges, stressing that this has become even more necessary because the pace of digital innovation in healthcare has accelerated exponentially over the past decade.
Researchers and entrepreneurs, she said, have continued to provide innovative solutions with huge impacts to provide more efficient healthcare delivery system. These solutions which pharmacists must embrace, she said, come about as a result of thinking out of the box.
Dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the conference included Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Kano State; Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, deputy governor, Oyo State; His Royal Highness, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adeyemo, the Olubadan of Ibadan; and Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, president, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy.