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Pharmacists seek Minister’s intervention on FEC’s approval of Doctorate programme


AS part of efforts to improve pharmacy education in Nigeria, pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has solicited the immediate intervention and assistance of the Minister of Education, Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau, to get the Federal Executive Council to approve the B-MAS of the Pharm D programme canvassed by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).

PharmD is the Doctor of Pharmacy professional degree for pharmacy practice.

The PSN is the umbrella body of licensed and registered Pharmacists in Nigeria, representing about 20,000 pharmacists. Founded in 1927, the PSN is one of the oldest professional bodies in Nigeria.

President, PSN, Olumide, yesterday during a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja said the implementation of patient-based care model relies upon advanced training and education of pharmacists.

Akintayo said the growth of the practice of pharmacy has led to a need for modification of the training and educational requirements of pharmacists. Advanced training prepares pharmacists to assume patient care roles within the healthcare team in order to meet the increasing demands of healthcare delivery.

Akintayo said the first major step towards educational advancement in the United States was the transition from the Bachelor of Science degree to the PharmD degree as the sole entry-level professional degree for pharmacy practice.

He said the PharmD curriculum provides pharmacists with specialized clinical training that focuses on the development of professional competencies and confidence in the provision of evidence-based patient-oriented care. “Specifically, the advanced training prepares pharmacists to better manage the utilization of healthcare resources, to optimize medication related health outcomes, and to promote wellness and disease prevention, all in collaboration with the healthcare team. Additionally, opportunities for participation in clinical research, as well as training in the analysis of clinical research, are heavily emphasized in this curriculum,” he added.

Akintayo further explained: “Over the years, the practice of pharmacy has evolved with significant growth and development mirroring the trends in health care delivery. Traditionally, the pharmacist fulfilled the role of apothecary, druggist or chemist by extemporaneously compounding and formulating medicinal products for wholesale or personal use by consumers. These activities have become limited as a result of the emergence of large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturing and the introduction of new regulatory standards.

“In recent years, the responsibilities of the pharmacist have grown from the traditional roles of dispensing and compounding, to collaborative medication management with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure optimal health outcomes. By some estimates, approximately one-half of patients visiting a community pharmacy or a clinic have experienced suboptimal or inappropriate drug therapy, thus, necessitating the aforementioned changes in of the role of the pharmacist. The transition of pharmacy practice from one focused on the provision of medication-centered care to one based on providing patient-centered care was heralded by the introduction of pharmaceutical care in the 1960s.

“Patient-centered care is defined as a practice involving the observation of the patient and his or her contribution to the selection, modification, and monitoring of patient-specific drug therapy through collaborative practice with other healthcare professionals. This model considers pharmacists to be essential members of the healthcare team and has led to an expansion in the scope of pharmacy practice, including legislature for collaborative drug therapy management in some jurisdictions.

“The goal of the various initiatives is to maximize the pharmacist’s role in direct patient care, thereby empowering the pharmacy team to take responsibility for medication-use outcomes by improving health-care team integration, promoting pharmacist credentialing and training, and taking leadership in medication use.”

According to the PSN boss, as part of the PharmD curriculum, the American College of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) requires students to have approximately 1500 hours of pharmaceutical care through Advance Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) in the fourth year of study. Several publications have demonstrated the impact of pharmacy student’s interventions in collaborative settings, including cost savings and patient care improvement.

He said Shogbon et. al., in one study, evaluated the collaborative clinical interventions of 120 4th year pharmacy students undergoing APPE in medication safety and internal medicine over a three and half-year period for cost savings and acceptance by the healthcare team.

Akintayo said: “In all, 2170 interventions were evaluated and the acceptance rate was 97 per cent. Cost savings were estimated at $280,297. The above study further supports the PharmD curriculum in training students to assume clinical roles in a collaborative care setting and contributing to patient care and reducing healthcare costs.”

The pharmacist said there is a growing body of evidence that supports the significant positive impact of clinical pharmacy practice upon healthcare costs, quality and efficiency. Studies, he said, have shown that collaborative practices between pharmacists and other healthcare professionals improve preventive care outcomes and medication interventions as a result of better accessibility to healthcare.

Akintayo said pharmacists’ interventions encompass multifunctional roles including medication review, patient assessment, and counseling. “Data supports collaborative clinical interventions in both acute and ambulatory settings to improve patients’ quality of life and increase cost savings for payers,” he said.

The PSN President added: “Honourable Minister, we wish to place on record our deep appreciation to you for finding time from your busy schedule to receive us today. It is our solemn pledge that we shall continue to partner the Federal Ministry of Education as it champions education reforms in our country.”

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