Pharmacist in the society: Traditional vs modern role

The pharmacy profession is in its transitional state. The health care delivery pattern has been completely transformed and has acquired an all-together different image than what we have been observing traditionally. The present of pharmacy does not lie merely in dispensing of medication, but in the provision of relevant drug information and drug therapy recommendation to the people in the society.
Over a period of time, the pharmacy profession has greatly changed from being focused on managing the production and dispensing of drugs, to being primarily concerned with the safe, effective and appropriate use of medication and enhanced pharmacy services to patients. High technological advancement and information explosion have significantly raised the knowledge and quality level, due to which the pharmacists are now ready to shoulder bigger responsibilities with appreciable sense of sincerity and dedication. The role of pharmacists is now no longer a fixed and rigid one, but has been continuously changing and redefining its meaning and significance in the changing scenario, which is why the bond between a pharmacist and society is becoming stronger day-by-day and acquiring new dimensions.
Pharmacy, as a profession, has been able to make a room for it in the present day society. There are numerous reasons, which are responsible for greater impact and penetration of pharmacists into the societal network irrespective of geographical boundaries. Whether it is a metro city or a remotely located rural area, pharmacists are everywhere, discharging their duties to serve the humanity. The factors responsible for the influential role of pharmacists in the society may be summarized as below:-
1. Thrust on pharmaceutical care to patients - Pharmacists have begun to concentrate on patient care specifically after pharma care had been mandated as a patient centered practice model for pharmacy. Many pharmacists have found themselves challenged by a paradigm shift in their daily practices from product to the patient. Pharma care addresses the patient’s drug-related needs comprehensively through a scheduled outline of tasks, in which the practitioner makes sure that a drug therapy is appropriately indicated, effective, safe, and convenience. Shifting from a dispensing focus to a patient focus has been particularly challenging, which has included offering expanded patient counseling, immunisations, and medication-dependent disease management for persons with certain chronic conditions. Pharmacists are now covering a wide range of clinical and management functions like tracking adverse drug effects, participating in programmes to reduce medication errors, monitoring patients’ compliance with medication use, and conducting medication management programmes.
2. Redesigning the medication-use system - Pharmacists have taken into consideration the need to 're-engineer the medication use system' to reduce preventable drug therapy–related adverse outcomes; to identify well-functioning models and to develop strategies to evaluate and implement additional models; and to encourage inter-professional collaboration. The task is not so easy and they may come across certain kind of problems like lack of patient medical information, patient confidentiality concerns, limited professional communication, multiple approved formularies etc.
3. Continuing professional development (CPD) - Today’s pharmacist believes that professional attitude is an indispensable tool to make the profession just as significant for the society. A pharmacist must maintain his/her competence and effectiveness by keeping up-to-date with changes in pharmacy practice and with relevant knowledge and technology. CPD has been able to bring the society nearer to pharmacists when there comes a question about society welfare.
4. Adherence to pharma code of ethics - Sticking to ethical rules has helped a lot to establish the pharmacy profession as a noble one among the society, and pharmacists are advocating the adherence to the pharma code of ethics more strongly and loudly in the present scenario.
5. Authentic source of pharma information - The information pharmacists give plays a vital role in providing relevant and up-to-date drug information to people as and when required.
6. Adopting new concepts - The changing global scenario has prompted pharmacists to adopt new concepts for the welfare of society. Such concepts include antibiotic pharmacist, retail pharmacist, academic pharmacist, pharmaceutical journalist etc.
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