Is the Pharma Guild in Solidarity With People’s Health?By Deyanira Chiñas | Wed, 12/22/2021 - 09:14
On Dec. 1st and 2nd, we celebrated the Day of the Chemist with public in-person events, as well as virtual experiences, directed at the pharmaceutical chemists’ guild. The Mexican National College of Pharmaceutical Biologist Chemists, which I have the honor of presiding over, organized the delivery of the Recognitions of Pharmaceutical Excellence from years 2020 and 2021, which were awarded through a deep and extensive evaluation of those pharmaceutical chemists who have done outstanding work in the health sciences, thanks to their research, academic, or industrial endeavors throughout their entire professional life, which in all cases spans over three decades. This speaks to the passion, commitment, discipline, tenacity and even tolerance to frustration in the performance of their duties, thus achieving recognition from their own guild, which for a professional, is the best recognition. On the same day, the National Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences held a special event to celebrate and recognize pharmaceutical chemists, giving added value to our guild.
Likewise, on Dec. 3, we attended the annual report on activities of the Permanent Commission of the Mexican Pharmacopeia (CPFEUM), where the 13th edition of the FEUM was presented. The FEUM consists of three volumes, as well as the third edition of the Herbalism Pharmacopeia, which is the most important document in the chemical pharmaceutical world, since it establishes all the rules and guidelines for the analytical and operational activities related to medications, raw materials, and materials used in the country. To update the pharmacopeia, 167 collaborators from 43 institutions and COFEPRIS participated, all of them from the chemical pharmaceutical guild and all of them with a great amount of experience in the topics included in this document. These collaborators come from all areas: industrial, regulatory, academic, research, development, clinical and biotechnological, for example. The most interesting element is that they all collaborate on and support the endeavor by giving their time and experience, without any interests and receiving no compensation of any kind. This great quantity of collaborators is really committed to always keeping our activities updated and at the forefront of all the activities that are being developed and executed around the world.
Nevertheless, some have questioned on several occasions whether all the members of the chemical pharmaceutical guild are truly working in solidarity with the health of the population.
This concept has been spinning in my mind, especially because criticisms and questions are received in different areas constantly, which, given a lack of understanding, leads to the spreading of rumors and misinformation that flow especially in social media.
I have spent 43 years of my professional life in the pharmaceutical guild, and I have a deep belief that in our area we have a lot of colleagues who distinguish themselves not only by their leadership and humanity, but also because beyond their interests, they give part of their life to the guild to which they belong, and they always do so with the priority of supporting the health of the population. They are professionals who love their careers deeply, who worry about the sector’s growth and who will do anything possible to contribute to its progress. Again, I repeat, with the goal of improving the health of the population.
With these ideas in mind, I would like to clarify some important concepts that have been misrepresented in the media, and that are definitely worth rectifying.
The pharmaceutical industry is NOT devoted only to enriching itself, as it has been wrongly reported. Like any manufacturing industry, it is a business. It is committed to manufacturing high-quality products, as well as paying its suppliers and collaborators; but, in its essence and in its foundations, the objective has always been to find and develop medications that solve the health problems of the population.
It is precisely because of the depth and enormous importance of this commitment that it is indispensable to assure the public that everything that is manufactured at a pharmaceutical plant is safe, pure and effective, since it must fulfill a particular function. This is why all raw materials supplied must undergo strict quality controls before they are used; why all manufacturing areas and installations must have strict controls over everything: air, water, personnel flow, equipment and materials; why all manufacturing and packaging processes must be completely defined, so they can be standardized and validated using the best high technology and well-trained expert personnel. Finished medications or products must be analyzed with stability studies to demonstrate they meet the requirements of all criteria defined for their approval and valid during their entire shelf life and until they expire. As we can all verify, fully complying with all these criteria does not allow a drug to be available for distribution and/or sale through "fast track" processes, since we do not skip any control and/or evaluation, for any reason.
For these reasons, it is extremely important for pharmaceutical chemists to know that all variables capable of affecting the products are under control; for example, the transport and storage of medicines. These two processes can dramatically change the quality and shelf life of drugs as a result of moisture failure, light exposure or if ambient temperatures occur. Today, the people responsible for the logistics of delivering medications to hospitals across the country, including the “last mile,” must know there is no room for mistakes. It’s as simple as that.
Each of these activities is carried out with the total commitment of the pharmaceutical chemists who participate in the jobs related to our guild, and in many more activities that I will explain at another time. The most important factor to clarify, is that thanks to the solidarity and commitment of my many colleagues in the pharmaceutical guild, our jobs bring value every day to the health of the population.
Thanks to all my colleagues for their valuable contributions and support; let’s continue making the work of the pharmaceutical chemist that we all represent shine