The World Health Organisation has revealed that more than 50 percent of medicines are inappropriately prescribed, dispensed, or sold, and 50 percent of patients fail to ingest medicines properly.
According to the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Mr Benjamin K. Botwe, more pharmacists are needed to assist patients with the right dosage.
He said, “A Pharmacist is required to ensure that appropriate medicines prescribed to patients are correct as well as the use of medicines”.
Mr Botwe who disclosed this at the 2018 media launch of World Pharmacists Day in Accra, said each year, September 25 was set aside by the International Pharmaceutical Federation Council to be celebrated as World Pharmacists Day.
The day is meant to highlight the role of pharmacists in ensuring patient’s safety through responsible supply and use of medicines.
This year’s theme was “Pharmacists are your medicine experts” and it focused on the extensive expertise that pharmacists have and put to use every day to ensure better health for patients.
Mr Botwe said the role of pharmacists in patient’s adherence and compliance to prescribed medications could not be overemphasized as patient education and custom blister-packed medications could substantially and sustainably improve medication adherence among elderly patients receiving complex medication regimes.
He noted that medication error was a significant source of morbidity and mortality among patients, adding, “though data about the Ghana situation are not readily available, they may reflect the result of many studies elsewhere including a systematic review of the economic impact of medication errors by Wash et al (2017).”
“This study provided clinical and cost-effectiveness evidence for the implementation of quality-of-care interventions. The mean cost per medication error is from $3.02 dollars to $130,619.24 dollars,” he said.
Mr Botwe said reduction of error-related cost was a key potential benefit to the National Health Insurance Scheme through the use of interventions to address medication errors.
“Every year in the U.S., serious preventable medications errors occur in 3.8 million in-patients’ admissions and 3.3 million out-patient’s visit. The Institute of Medicine, in its report ‘To Err Is Human’, estimated that 7,000 deaths in the U.S. each year were due to preventable medication errors,” he added.
The President of PSGH said globally, the roles of pharmacists continued to expand beyond the traditional role of being makers, preparers, dispensers and custodians of medicines to evolve into being subscribers in group practice with general medical practitioners to provide vaccination and immunization services in community pharmacies in developed countries.
He said with the shift in pharmacy practice from being a products-centred practice to a patient-focused practice, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has recommended that undergraduate pharmacy education should be restructured to meet the demands of this new reality.
WHO has developed a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum which member states should adapt and use in the training of pharmacists in all Pharmacy Schools in West Africa.
Mr Botwe said the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) took up the challenge in 2012 and admitted the first batch of PharmD students to pursue a six year Doctor of Pharmacy Degree and had graduated the first batch in July this year.
He, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health and related agencies to give the graduates the needed recognition and incentives to motivate them to help in the delivery of effective pharmaceutical care.
Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, the Deputy Minister for Health, said this year’s theme was a bold declaration of the expertise and competencies of the pharmacists and urged them to put in their very best in helping to meet and address the needs of every Ghanaian who needed their services.
“With this expertise, it should be the resolve of every pharmacist that no patient who is prescribed medications should leave the healthcare facility without seeing the pharmacist… With your expertise, I challenge you to devise strategies to treat patients with co- morbid and complex conditions by tailoring your education to optimize patient care,” he added.
He pledged the Ministry’s preparedness to continue to make policies that would aid in continuous improvement in the skills, competencies and expertise of the Ghanaian Pharmacists.
There would be activities such as deworming exercise in Orphanages; public education, health talks on various Radio stations, medical outreach across the entire 10 regions to commemorate the week-long celebration.