Dr. R. S. Thakur
Chief Editor, Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
Krupanidhi College of Pharmacy
Chikkabellandur, Carmelram Post, Bengaluru-560035.
World Pharmacists Day (WPD) 2021 will be celebrated on 25th September, 2021. The theme for this years World wide event, coined by FIP is Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health. Appropriateness of the theme is justified by the immense service given by Pharmaceutical industry and retail pharmacy outlets through the pharmacists in making medicines available to all and sundry. Be it prophylactic, diagnostic or therapeutic needs, pharmacy provided round the clock services and pharmacists maintained highest order of professional ethics. This selfless service motive of pharmacists has been highly acclaimed by authorities of various nations.
During the surge of pandemic India demonstrated its ability to play Pharmacy of the world. The amazing success of Indian Pharmaceutical industries in meeting global requirements of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) by supplying the drug to 55 countries (commercial sales to 21 countries and sizable gift supply to 34 countries including Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles etc.), during this humanitarian crisis earned Indian Pharmaceutical industries global recognition as reliable global supplier of quality medicines of international standards.
Figure 1. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) 200 mg tablet facsimile depiction.
In the beginning there were 13 countries in the priority supply list of India including Brazil, Israel and US. The 55 countries which got supply of HCQ from India includes Asian neighbours like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar; African countries namely, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Niger, Mali, and Republic of Congo, and European countries like France, the Netherlands and the UK. This in itself is sufficient indication of the rich scientific and technological ability/capacity of our industries to meet not only the domestic requirements of medicines but also come to rescue of developed, developing and underdeveloped countries in the hours of need. In fact this is enough evidence of the appropriateness of the theme of this WPD "Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health".
The pride of India was further glorified when on receiving a request from President Donald Trump 50 million tablets of HCQ was exported to US – the Superpower. To increase the production capacity of HCQ for meeting global demands, 68 new licences were issued in Gujarat. This demonstrates the preparedness and conviction of Indian Pharma Sector to reach medicines to every nook and corner. Hats off! to the sagacity of Indian Pharmaceutical industries and the pharmacists of India.
The plight of Covid 19 vaccine development was also taken in good earnest by Bharat Biotech, Biological E, Dr. Reddy’s laboratories, Gennova, Hetero Biopharma, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax, Panacea Biotec, Serum Institute of India and Zydus Cadila. A list of manufacturers and name of the vaccine is tabulated and presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Indian Pharma Companies Producing Covid 19 Vaccines
As on 22nd September, 2021 a total of 211,638,045 (15.5% population) is fully vaccinated and 615,659,928 (45.1% of population) has received at least one dose of the vaccine. It is also a matter of pride that on 17th September 2021 over 2.5 doses of Covid 19 vaccine was administered, which is highest single day vaccination so far.
Indian Pharma industry has also set new records in supplying Covid 19 vaccines to 95 countries across the globe. This has further proved the scientific, technological, research potential and knowledge capabilities of Indian Scientists, Pharmaceutical technologists and their professional proficiency. The credit goes to the sound education system, systematic research environment and commitment for Nation building. The strong foundation of Indian education system needs further fortification through active involvement of industry for designing the syllabus according to prospective needs of industry and driving the research priorities linking production, improvement of processes and continuous quality improvement to compete in the global market and establish as dominant market player. To meet these ends Scientific, technical and professional education system needs to be revisited for incorporating need based human resource development.
The direct service provider Pharmacists are the hospital and community pharmacists who make the medicines available to every patient or his care provider. The community pharmacy front needs revamping and only a registered pharmacist should get a drug license for sale and distribution of drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. This restriction is essential in the interests of health and happiness of the masses. Sale or supply of medicines cannot be compared to other mercantile. It is essentially a professional prerogative aimed at safeguarding public health as modern allopathic medicines are two edged weapon which can cure or kill depending on how they are used.
Donald W. Light in his 27th June, 2014 blog “New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk with Few Offsetting Advantages” has elaborately discussed the prominent adverse effects and events associated with medicines. It is the rational use of medicines that benefits the patient and the rationality need to be examined, analyzed and ensured by the pharmacist who is the only professionally competent person in this vocation and legally empowered universally.
An article “Are drugs responsible for more deaths than we think?” by Lisa Templeton in Medical News Today on February 2, 2020 has reported:
“In 2017, more than 70,200 people in the U.S. died as a result of a drug overdose. Some 68% of these deaths involved opioids, with the number being six times higher than that in 1999.”
These are only tip of the iceberg. Because this is the situation in a nation where organized research in this area continues to find loopholes and make people aware of the alarming situation. The scenario in India is completely different. The elite Indian bureaucrats and politicians must appreciate that every medicine must be handled by duly qualified and registered pharmacists as is the practice abroad and legal requirement in India too, but for lack of strict implementation and dominance of traders in Community Pharmacy for reasons best known to Regulatory authorities, it’s a total fiasco in India.
Take it for granted unless and until Community Pharmacy is fully manned and managed by duly qualified and registered pharmacists no force on earth can save/protect Indians from the menace of medicines and their health will continue to be ruined because of the chain of adverse reactions, side effects, toxicities, irrational therapy and treatment failures. Sooner this calamity is realized in good earnest better it will be masses that they can avail expertise services o Community Pharmacists for their day to day health needs.
This brief account of the importance of Pharmacy is enough to prove that Pharmacy is always trusted for building public health and maintaining public health. The minute intricacies of medicines must be communicated to the patients. Patient has the right to know everything about his medicines before he takes it. After all, even in a Restaurant we go through the Menu, explore all choices and then decide what to order, although foods are safe commodity. Whereas, in case of medicines, no medicine is absolutely safe! It is the rational use of medicines and observance of adequate proper precautions that can avoid devastating health hazards that is innate.
In Nutshell I must emphasize that the nation which ignores Pharmacist, ignores health of its people and ultimately compromises with financial health of that nation. Let this world Pharmacists Day give a clear message to the policy makers – “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health” avail it appropriately to prosper or ignore to peril.
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