Two Years Later: The Impact of Incorporating Pharmacists
On Jan. 25, 2022, the three pharmaceutical guild organizations in Mexico — the National College of Pharmaceutical Biological Chemists (CNQFBM), the National Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (ANCF) and the Mexican Pharmaceutical Association (AFM) — organized a special event to celebrate two years since the incorporation of pharmaceutical professionals into the Mexican health system.
In Mexico, on Jan. 25, 2020, the professional pharmacist was acknowledged as a fundamental member of the health team, which was clearly outlined in article 79 of the General Health Law (LGS); however, the effort to make people aware of what pharmacists started in the 1940s.
Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic have generated a greater awareness of the role pharmacists play across the health spectrum, identifying that role as a professional activity of high importance and of high aggregated value.
Today, the active participation and commitment of all pharmacists is required by our society, working on all fronts. Here are just a few examples of the roles the pharmacist plays in health emergencies:
- In the development of vaccines, medications, and diagnostic methods that help stop and control the pandemic; including the design, production, validation, quality control and quality assurance that confirm these vaccines are safe, pure, and effective.
- Development of therapies with alternate medications, allopathic and/or biotechnological, that allow those already infected to pull through.
- In the design and good use of medical devices that are important adjuvants for the monitoring and therapy of patients,
- In the execution of the pre-clinical and clinical studies that allow the assessment of the effectivity of medications or vaccines.
- In the good use, dispensation and management of medications in hospitals and in communities, hand in hand with attending physicians.
- In the pharmacovigilance and technovigilance of all the elements used in the therapies, to allow for proper and timely identification of undesirable or adverse effects, so they can be eliminated.
- In the correct management of medications in the distribution and storage chains, that ensure that they will reach patients in optimal condition for use.
- In the execution of clinical analysis for the opportune diagnosis of COVID-19 infection, and additional diagnostic studies to confirm if there are other affected or compromised organs.
- In the pharmaco-therapeutic analysis and follow-up, including the medical devices and healing materials used during hospitalizations, with close monitoring of the course of diseases and recovery of patients.
- In the active participation of many pharmaceutical professionals who are experts in the design and elaboration of the Regulations and Regulatory Sciences of Pharmaceutical Services, including our own official book, the Pharmacopeia of the Mexican United States (FEUM), which will also direct the activities and actions of the pharmaceutical professional in the exercise of our profession.
- In the development of the activities for the pharmacist in hospital management, which includes activities such as dispensation for the rational use of medications, the conciliation of inventory in hospital pharmacies and pharmaceutical care.
- In pharmacological and clinical research, in the generation of new evidence, as well as the search for information on medications.
- In the training and preparation of the new generations of professional pharmacists, so they can be ready with up-to-date information in this globalized world that continually proposes new alternatives, advances, modifications and the extraordinary need for the promotion and surveillance of health in Mexico.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (IPF) has established the following: The roll of the pharmaceutical professional involves the participation in directed actions in the promotion, protection and recuperation of health, both for the individual as well as society, using medications as an essential supply, providing for access and their rational use. This set of activities includes research, development, and production of medications and health supplies, for their selection, as well as the scheduling of acquisition, distribution, dispensation, quality assurance of products and services, as well as the follow-up and assessment of their usage.
Actions like the inclusion of the professional pharmacist in article 79 of the LGS validate the impact of the knowledge of the pharmacist, who today can collaborate directly with the treating physician in therapies and treatments, monitoring the best pharmaco-therapeutic proposal for each patient. As well, the pharmacist can be directly involved in the elaboration and follow-up of an integral health promotion plan for the population.
Without a doubt, some of the skills that professional pharmacists have developed during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic are:
- rapid adaptation to change
- resilience in the face of disruptive events, like those we have experienced in the past two years
- we have also become more critical when analyzing, interpreting and applying changes made in all regulations, always looking to favor and improve the health of the Mexican population, mitigating the possible risks that may arise along the way.
Thanks to all the colleagues in the pharmaceutical guild for doing everything in our power and more to resolve all the needs in the face of this and other health emergencies in Mexico.