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Indian Pharmaceutical Association Hospital Pharmacy division has chalked out an action plan to orient existing pharmacists employed at hospitals to enhance skills, capabilities and knowledge to improve the desired therapeutic outcomes in patients. This would ensure sustainable compliance of medication therapies.

A big challenge is that the concept of clinical pharmacy is not well versed across the Indian healthcare landscape. Even if there are pharmacists employed, they are mainly for drug dispensing and not many working towards providing care to patients. We have also noticed considerable skill gaps among the hospital pharmacists, Dr. Ramesh Adepu, chairman, hospital pharmacy division & vice president, Indian Pharmaceutical Association and Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, JSS Pharmacy College, Mysuru told Pharmabiz.

The medical professionals even now need to be convinced that pharmacists could play a supportive role to clinicians in monitoring the medication therapy and help patients to improve their health. Further, under the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India, hospital pharmacists could chip in the much-needed information on adverse drug reactions, he added.

It is therefore vital to first train and upgrade skills of existing pharmacists already working in healthcare settings. From our observations of hospitals in the country, pharmacists did not appear to provide any professional, educational, or clinical services to patients or physicians. We are connecting with the corporate hospitals across India to convince that a dedicated team of qualified pharmacists should accompany doctors on their hospital rounds to assess drug related issues in patient treatment and advice suitably to optimize the therapy. Besides pharmacists should provide unbiased information to clinicians on medications and monitor the patients for adverse drug reactions, said Dr Adepu.

Therefore, there is a paucity of clinical education and recognition of pharmacists in contrast to their counterparts employed in the industry and government services. In an age of new therapy formats, along with the advent of novel drugs and advanced drug delivery system, training of pharmacists is vital, he noted.

This is where IPA’s hospital pharmacy division embarked on the ‘Ignite’ project which is an intensive training schedule for pharmacists. Early this month, it organised a two-day workshop at Udaipur where 32 hospital pharmacists pan India participated. The objective was to sensitize pharmacists working at hospitals on pharmaceutical care practices, patient counselling, and enlighten them about drugs & poison information services.

Currently, an updated pharmacy practice syllabus focuses on better healthcare practices. In order to stall irrational drug therapy, incorrect handling of drugs, improper patient counseling, adverse drug reaction, medication error, lack of drug information services, poor quality assurance of drugs and incorrect dispensing of medicines among pharmacists working in hospitals Ignite programme was devised to highlight the advancements. The event had Dr Sai Pawan to discuss about the case studies and Dr Adepu to present the concept.

The training of working hospital pharmacists will improve their ability to methodically and accurately handle medicines and doses. This is critical because medication errors can prove to be fatal. In addition, such guidance and instructions increase the general clinical awareness, said Dr Adepu.

Prajith PharmD

Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduates are disappointed as the government has not issued orders to absorb them in clinical pharmacy . Govt of India or PCI (Pharmacy Council of India) Must go and study and analyses factors to create jobs for Pharm.D graduates. However, so far, there is no progress on the issue
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