Great ideas at phar­ma­cists’ con­fer­ence but they will be even bet­ter if im­ple­mented

Fiji Sun - - Comment - NE­MANI DELAIBATIKI Feed­back: ne­mani.delaibatiki@fi­jisun.com.fj

Some ex­cel­lent ideas were raised at the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Fiji Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety. With the plethora of drugs flood­ing the mar­ket, it is im­por­tant that the con­sumers are well in­formed about the prod­ucts sold by phar­ma­cies. A large amount of drugs is also sold on­line. Peo­ple have a le­git­i­mate con­cern about which drugs are safe to take. This of­ten leads to fear about generic drugs which are as ef­fec­tive as the branded and ex­pen­sive drugs. The so­ci­ety pres­i­dent, Ren­shika Sen, high­lighted these is­sues at their con­fer­ence. There are a lot of mis­con­cep­tions about drugs. Some pa­tients are used to drugs pre­scribed by their doc­tors. But when the same drugs with dif­fer­ent brand­ing are in­tro­duced by phar­ma­cies, they nat­u­rally take a step back and think twice be­fore they make up their mind to buy the new prod­ucts. More generic brands are en­ter­ing the mar­ket and some are cheaper. Be­cause they are cheaper, it does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that they are in­fe­rior. The prices are dic­tated by the com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket place and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is big busi­ness. Ms Sen says there could be hun­dreds of com­pa­nies mak­ing the same thing with the same qual­ity stan­dard and they want peo­ple to re­alise that the med­i­ca­tion is avail­able. Another great sug­ges­tion came from the Min­istry of Health, Spe­cial­ist Physi­cian, Dr Gyanesh­war Rao. He rec­om­mends that doc­tors and phar­ma­cists should meet to­gether to im­prove their ser­vices to pa­tients. Dr Rao said it was about time that doc­tors and phar­ma­cists hosted meet­ings to­gether, and in­volve each other in the as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings as well. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween doc­tors and phar­ma­cists is im­por­tant. They should work closely to­gether in con­sul­ta­tion to en­sure that pa­tients or con­sumers get the best ser­vice. Be­cause we are all hu­mans, mis­takes can hap­pen. The risks of this hap­pen­ing can be re­duced if the doc­tors and phar­ma­cists are reg­u­larly in con­tact. Con­sul­ta­tion is the key. Phar­ma­cists can sug­gest to doc­tors whether pre­scrip­tions should be re­viewed or changed if they are not work­ing on pa­tients. Dr Rao said reg­u­lar meet­ings were needed in or­der to un­der­stand pa­tient’s health and medic­i­nal is­sues. Dr Rao used the treat­ment of epilepsy as an ex­am­ple. He said most pa­tients in Fiji had a habit of us­ing mul­ti­ple drugs if the first one did not work for them. He said this should not be the case and there­fore the phar­ma­cists must be care­ful with the dosage pre­scrip­tion of their cus­tomers al­ways. Dr Rao said the cus­tomers should be sent back to the doc­tors for a di­ag­no­sis again if they com­plained that cer­tain pre­scribed medicine did not work for them. This was a very pro­duc­tive con­fer­ence for the phar­ma­cists be­cause of the ideas dis­cussed. What is im­por­tant now is the fol­low-up and im­ple­men­ta­tion.

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