Friday, June 18, 2010

Continuing Pharmacy Education

Continuing Pharmacy Education

The other day, my esteemed friend from Mysore, Mr. Vivek Balse, PSO, Pfizer rang me up and asked a quickie ... DOES METFORMIN INCREASE THE BODY WEIGHT OR DECREASE IT?

He wanted the answer, preferably, fast and accurate. He had confidence in me due to my identity as a pharmacist, and my qualifications. Hence, he expected a good answer from my end.

On many other occasions, when I visit my relatives or friends, health issues are discussed, lab reports, and prescriptions are shown, and they seek clarifications or explanations. The other day, my couzin, rang up and asked why the brand of sitagliptin he is consuming is costly, and why there are no cheaper branded generic alternatives. Then we had a telecon on Indian Patents Act, 1970 and its modification in 2005 to include product patents, preventing reverse engineered copycat brands.

The above are typical and regular situations that pharmacists find themselves in.

In the eyes of relatives, friends and acquaintances, a pharmacist is a trained healthcare individual and he or she expects a certain level of expertise power in a pharmacist. Hence, the image of a pharmacist depends on the way he handles such transactions.

In this context, it is unfortunate to note that we, the pharmacists, do not have a viable continuing pharmacy education program. It is all up to us to learn and keep ourselves updated. For eg., when I checked my Satoskar and Bhandarkar (a textbook of pharmacology purchased by me during my B Pharma years) there was no mention of Metformin! Phenformin was mentioned. Wikipedia did help me to learn more about Metformin. But the point is we pharmacists need a nice, inspiring, motivating and engaging continuing pharmacy education program ...

Now let us dream: !magine!! The Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, GOI, IPA (Indian Pharmaceutical Association) and PCI (Pharmacy Council of India) get together to launch a cogent annual Continuing Pharmacy Education program for pharmacists - THIS INITIATIVE WILL NO DOUBT DO YEOMAN SERVICE TO PHARMACISTS.

How can it be done?


The business model of an interesting journal called Current Medical Journal (CMJ) can be used for the purpose of embarking on a Continuing Pharmacy Education program.

CMJ is a monthly published from Chandigarh. CMJ positions itself as the journal of Continuing Medical Education (CME) program to improve the day-to-day clinical practices of family physicians. It is a knowledge packed journal written by invited medical experts. CMJ claims to be the only medical journal in the world to give MCQs (multiple choice questions) for every article. CMJ is in its 16th year of publication.

CMJ, as it appears, is not a glitzy print product, publicity hungry venture, it is a quiet no-nonsense knowledge oriented journal. It is a good model for us to follow.

The suggestion here is for Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, PCI and IPA to jointly create such a monthly journal with MCQs. The proposed pharmacy journal should be general and not oriented only for clinical pharmacy, retail pharmacy, etc. It should cover all pharmaceutical topics so that the world view of the pharmacist reader expands and the pharmacist becomes a contemporary person. Topics such as biopharmaceuticals, latest developments on the regulatory front etc, should be present.

It is well known that after completing formal pharmacy education, the pharmacist becomes a frog in the well, a marketing pharmacist is more in to marketing, and a decade later loses touch with industrial pharmacy ... and so on! Hence, it would be ideal for Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, PCI and IPA to create a continuing education pharmacy journal with a global view.

So what happens after a pharmacist reader goes through one calendar year's supply (ie., 12 issues) of this journal?

Well, the subscriber pharmacist becomes eligible to write an objective cum descriptive exam on the topics covered. This exam can be conducted at various locations in India. It will also be exciting for pharmacists to gather under one roof under this pretext. Learning together becomes fun!

If the exam is internet based, you are not sure whether the examinee is copying and writing or taking help of other people. So a written traditional type of annual exam is ideal.

Why should a pharmacist write the exam?

This voluntary participation in the exam will offer the pharmacist cum continuing pharmacy education learner a chance to pass the exam and get a CERTIFICATE endorsed by Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, GOI, PCI and IPA. This certificate will certainly be worthy of displaying at the premises, or office, and the pharmacist will cherish it.

Why will such a venture succeed?

The main reason is that this CPE (Continuing Pharmacy Education) venture will provide an opportunity for pharmacists to update ... and it will fulfill many other psychological needs.

As per Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, individuals have the following needs: physiological needs, security, social, esteem, and self-actualization. This exam and journal experience will provide pharmacists a platform for all the above needs. Hence, the success of this project has bright chance.

Security (safety): Knowledge is power! The ability to influence and control events, resources, and behaviors requires knowledge, and updated knowledge through the CPE program will improve one's sense of security!

Love/belongingness: This exam will certainly promote belongingness to the profession of pharmacy, and professional friendship. But may not promote sexual intimacy directly!!

Esteem: is an important need, and the knowledge polish that this exam can apply will make the pharmacist shine!

Self-actualization: to tap one's potential is an innate need in us. This exam will provide a power boost to the career of pharmacists.

Why should Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, PCI and IPA do it?

It is important to understand that authorities have a lot of influence. If the continuous pharmacy education student receives his certificate having PCI, IPA and Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India logos, then we can imagine the immense positive impact it will have on the pharmacist community.

If we examine the root of all thoughts - the single common thread is the HUNGER FOR PROGRESS in all of us. Career progress, the growth of our children, advancements in the organization, increase in family income ... and so on ... all these thoughts are centered on a common platform: progress. Certainly the CPE will make the pharmacist community progressive, it will then play a major role in educating society; empowering pharmacists through CPE is a major constructive program. I hope the Dept. of Pharmaceuticals, PCI and IPA will come together to create CPE program, and markets it well so that CPE becomes a major part of pharmacy life.

Some more progressive thoughts!

IMA: a misleading name!

I do feel Indian Medical Association (IMA) is a misleading name. IMA should actually be renamed as Indian Allopaths Association. How can allopaths take control of the word MEDICAL? This is a global name. Ayurvedic doctors, and Siddha medicine practitioners are also medical specialists. IMA is a misleading name, as it is an association of only ALLOPATHIC PRACTITIONERS.

BAP: a mantra of entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur disclosed his basic formula of business success. It was BAP standing for:

a) Bulletproofing: ensuring protection of his business process, through legal, marketing and other processes.

b) Asset value increase, including the brand asset value

c) Profits

Thanks for reading these progressive thoughts on pharmacists, IMA and entrepreneurship, please do read all other blogposts, kindly recommend my blog to your acquaintances.

No comments: