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Pharmacists want harmonised drug prescription system for improved patient care




Community Pharmacists have called for a harmonised drug prescription system that would pave way for easy identification of source and verification of prescription as part of efforts to improve patient-care in the country.

The pharmacists, under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State branch, urged the Federal Ministry of Health and regulatory councils of professional bodies to come up with a standard prescription template for use nationwide.

Lagos ACPN Chairman, Biola Paul-Ozieh, at the ACPN 2015 Community Pharmacists Education Conference recently in Lagos, observed that the current mode of prescription in the country is chaotic, because “there is often no way to verify or authenticate prescriptions.”

According to Paul-Ozieh, “We want harmonised system where public and private hospitals and other health institutions have their prescription format because the patients must of necessity make use of the community pharmacists to service their drugs needs. And if you are on a chronic ailment like High Blood Pressure, diabetes, you don’t have to go back to the hospital every time you want to refill. You need to be able to refill, and you must have a prescription to be able to do so,” she said.

The chairman recommended that the Federal Ministry of Health should work together with all the councils to come up with a format that would be recognised anywhere, be it public or private sector.

She added that to have an effective system, there is need to also harmonised all the lists of registered health practitioners; be it physicians, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory scientists, radiographer among others.

“We can harmonise their registration status and identities. That way, you can trace any prescriber. There are sometimes at the community level when we need want to confirm prescriptions. When the government has done what they supposed to do and the data base is available, then, the community practitioners can put a call through and find a way of accessing that public health institution personnel and then you can confirm at once what needed to be done. You don’t have to send that patient back to the hospital and that way, there will be no time wasted because when people are at critical stages of sickness, time is important.”

She stressed that harmonisation of prescription drugs would benefit both patients and practitioners, as it would minimized time waste, make clarifications of prescription and referral easy.

Speaking on the theme of the event tagged: “Positioning Community Pharmacists for Evolving Opportunities”, Paul-Ozieh explained that the theme was chosen for their members to look into electronic means of offering services in order to serve their customers better.

She said annual continuous education of ACPN also aimed at building capacity of their members as well as update their members of current practices in the practice of pharmacy.

In his keynote address, Ike Ugwu, noted that pharmacy practice was no longer dispensing drugs alone said pharmacists are expected to partake in research works and play key roles in healthcare.

He lamented lack of drug prescription at the community levels blaming it on activities of medical doctors who now prescribe and at the same dispense the drugs.

Ugwu said pharmacists ought to authenticate prescriptions and know the source before the drugs are dispensed. He regretted that what is currently seen in the country is a situation whereby prescriptions come without identifications, validation and has little or no information of who prescribes.

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