GSK and MPS are on a mission to ensure safe and effective medicines for all writes Meera Murugesan
PHARMACISTS are key members within the healthcare community as they are one of the most easily available and accessible healthcare professionals.
According to the 2015 National Survey on the Use of Medicines (NSUM) by Malaysian Consumers, up to 70 per cent of patients on regular medication are turning to pharmacists for information on medicines. The survey also revealed that more than 90 per cent of the respondents perceived medicine labels as adequate and did not report any difficulties in reading labels.
The trust placed by patients on pharmacists means pharmacists must demonstrate integrity in their operations by only dispensing medication that has been approved by the Ministry of Health while simultaneously ensuring all communication with patients emphasises adherence to appropriate use and dosage of medicines.
PUTTING THE PATIENT FIRST
According to Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president, Amrahi Buang, a pharmacist’s role revolves around patient safety.
“It is important for us to place patient safety first in everything that we do. Traditionally, pharmacists served as the bridge between patient and doctor by checking the prescriptions from physicians before dispensing medication to patients. That role has not changed,” he says.
But in order for pharmacists to effectively discharge their roles, patients must be open in their communication with them.
World Pharmacists’ Day which was celebrated on Sept 25 last year with the theme ‘Safe and Effective Medicines For All’, saw GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Sdn Bhd (GSK) and the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) reaffirm their commitment to uphold high standards in ensuring consumer safety in their products and supply chain.
This commitment will see close to 1,000 pharmacists from the MPS joining GSK through pledges made in the form of displaying “commitment stickers” placed at their individual premises. The pledges serve as a reminder to both patients and pharmacists that patient safety, through proactive and clear communication on adherence to the correct use of medicine, must be prioritised.
Amrahi says an ongoing issue that affects patient safety is compliance and through this pledge with GSK, they want to show that pharmacists are committed to initiate conversations with patients to encourage proper adherence to their medication and to discuss what is best for them.
He adds that for various reasons, some patients may not be able to adhere to instructions with regards to medicine use, thus affecting their safety.
“We want patients to voice out their concerns about their medication so we can advise on the right course of action.”
GSK Consumer Healthcare, general manager, Bryan Wong says GSK, on its part, has extensive safety controls throughout its production and supply chain, and these are enforced throughout all the markets in which it operates.
Furthermore, its research focuses on the needs of consumers by tackling the health issues that affect them and leading to products that meet those needs.
“All these measures are part of our responsibility as a global pharmaceutical company to ensure that the health of our consumer is not compromised in any way,” stresses Wong.
SAFE MEDICINE USE
*Always know the name and dose of all your medicines. Make a list if necessary.
*Read and understand the labels.
Understand why you need to take the medicine and what condition it treats.
*Be aware of potential side effects.
*Be aware of drug interactions if you take multiple medicines.
*Always follow the prescribed dosage and ask your doctor what to do if you have missed a dose.
*Keep medicines in their original bottles with the labels and expiry dates intact.
*Keep medicines away from direct sunlight and store those that need to be refrigerated in the fridge.
*Don’t keep different pills or tablets in one bottle.
*Don’t crush or break tablets before consuming.
*Use the measuring cup or syringe for liquid medicines.
*Don’t share medicines.