QFB Professionals Key For COVID-19 DiagnosisBy Miriam Bello | Mon, 08/17/2020 - 12:07
Q: How would you describe the contribution of pharmaceutical biologists (QFB) to the Mexican healthcare sector?
A: Our work and presence in the sector is extensive. QFB professionals can work in pharmaceutical plants, validation services, hospitals or pharmacies. Those working at pharma plants are in change of analyzing processes, validating products, developing solutions and managing sanitary standards. These professionals check manufacturing process, quantitates and correct management of components, the correct integration of new raw materials to existent formulas and the development of new solutions.
QFB professionals working in hospitals are in charge of medication supply. They determine doses, times and medicine combinations for each patient.
There is a misconception that QFB professionals are not essential in the COVID-19 response. However, these professionals are exposing themselves to contagion with every sample for diagnosis they take or plasma extraction they perform. Without clinical QFBs on the frontline, diagnoses would not be happening. In fact, they have a great responsibility: delivering a false negative result would have a significant impact. Moreover, the people working on the development of a vaccine are specialized QFB professionals. Similarly, clinical and preclinical trials for these vaccines are performed and supervised by QFB professionals.
Q: What benefits do professionals get from becoming CNQFB members?
A: Before 2019, QFB professionals were considered technicians, so most of our work at CNQFBM was to push for higher recognition. We are focused on uniting and consolidating our guild to levels of excellence levels because the impact of our work has great repercussions on the population’s health. QFB professionals manage very high ethical standards and are always involved in medicine development processes, from the raw materials, to the production, validation and the patient’s reaction to the product.
The Mexican pharmaceutical industry has evolved in terms of technology, knowledge and research. This industry has reached excellence, which is why CNQFBM pushes for the best training for our professionals through collaboration with different actors in the sector. We have commissions that are in charge of organizing trainings, congresses, conventions and any other event or action that would benefit our members. Additionally, we are integrating a new commission that will cover the medical devices sector because QFB professionals also contribute to their development.
We are also involved with multinational and national institutions, such as AMELAF, AMIIF and CANIFARMA. We have a professional certification model for our QFB members, through which we are able to certify the degree of expertise of professionals working in the pharmaceutical, clinical or hospital sector.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of the international competitive bidding for medicines that the government proposed earlier this year?
A: This has raised concerns and we approached the government to express these. Allowing the entrance of new foreign products to the country is difficult because it is hard to know how safe or regulated the manufacturing, tagging and distribution processes were. All that information would be unknown to the country. We recommended the government conduct an appropriate analysis and develop a risk-management strategy to measure the risks of those acquisitions.
Q: What are the challenges of the new centralized purchasing scheme for medicines?
A: The first challenge would be in logistics because there can be failures like those we saw at the beginning of the year when some institutions faced drug shortages. The Mexican pharmaceutical sector is able to cover the national supply but there needs to be an organized process to properly manage stock.
Q: What are CNQFBM’s short-term goals?
A: We want to ensure that we are able to deliver the best training to QFB professionals and keep them up to date. We are very committed to our members, and to supporting them during their training to bring them closer to all the trends in the sector. Mexico is a very competitive country and technology is reaching every aspect of life. Healthcare is no exception. Technology and innovation in healthcare are forcing all professionals in the sector to constantly be learning and staying up to date. Right now, regulatory processes are changing, along with raw material logistics due to COVID-19, so all our professionals need to be up to date to help the sector act and react.
The college is committed to launching more digital communication channels and using digital tools to share knowledge. We had been looking forward to implementing digital communications even before the pandemic and now that is the only way in which we are able to stay in touch. Lastly, we are looking forward to encouraging education in the QFB area and seeing an increase in the number of QFB graduates each year, which is currently not very many. We also need to continue supporting those already in the field and helping them to grow professionally.
The National College of Pharmaceutical Biologists Mexico (CNQFBM) works to ensure that the profession, based on its knowledge of medications and patient care, is recognized as a key segment within the Mexican healthcare system