The role of pharmacists in society

While some would refute the stance that pharmacy, the most noble profession, is the backbone of all health professions numerous indisputable facts corroborate it. Of all the health professions, it’s only pharmacy that produces something palpable on which all the other professions depend, as Prof AT Mora said, the emergence of coronavirus has alluded to this notion, because all attention went to pharmacists to provide vaccine to the virus, while using some drugs recommended by the pharmacists as remedy to the virus. That is how the trend has been, it stretches back to ancient times.

After discovery of a disease by scientists, the arena is always left for pharmacists to provide remedy to such diseases. The analogy between the role of pharmacists and that of the other health professionals- medical doctors, nurses, dental surgeons and technicians, 0hysiotherapists, radiologists- is like a journey and a destination. All the services rendered by health professionals are a journey and the destination is drug.

After medical diagnosis and probably conducting laboratory test by a medical lab scientist or CT scan by a radiologist or both, prior to the diagnosis, drugs are prescribed to a patient by a medical doctor, and pharmacists are the only professionals that dispense the drugs, after all it’s their colleagues that formulated the drugs in pharmaceutical industry, as they are ambidextrously blessed with the uncanny ability to formulate and dispense. And not only the dispensation but guide on how to administer the drugs, and counsel to the patients especially on food as it’s among the factors that affect the pharmacokinetics of drugs. And it’s their role to ask the patient to whom the drug is prescribed whether they are taking any drug so as to consider drug-drug interaction.

In event where a certain disease develops resistance against a certain drug/therapy, pharmacists work relentlessly to discover another drug/therapy that is more effective, yet with less side effects, to replace the former, as in the case of HIV/AIDS, when it developed resistance to some antiretrovial drugs such as Azidothymidine and Zalcibatine which also have serious side effects, pharmacists resorted to the use of Chemotherapy in suppressing the resurgence of the virus.

The cotton, gauze, plasters, bandages, sutures and other surgical dressing materials that are used in surgery and A&E units are prepared and manufactured in pharmaceutical industries. Also, dentists could not do without pharmacists, the antibiotics and analgesics, mouthwashes and gargles that are prescribed to toothache patients are only formulated in pharmaceutical industries and dispensed by pharmacists. 

The role of pharmacy cannot be over emphasized and is not limited to humanity, it extends its tentacles to veterinary medicine as doctors of veterinary medicine always depend on pharmacists for the cure of animal diseases and the multivitamins giving to animals. The Malaysian director of pharmaceutical services summarized this by saying: ” Pharmacists are the backbone of the health care system because they are involved in all aspects of medication delivery system”. Therefore, it’s evidentl that pharmacists have contributed their quota in fighting the deadly coronavirus pandemic. As we celebrate the Pharmacy Day may God continue to protect our health personnel.

Abubakar Suleiman Danazumi, 300 Level, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

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