Pharmacists told to uphold standards

SONY DSCPHARMACISTS in the country, have been advised to adhere to standards that regulate their profession in the availability and prescription of medicines for patients.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sylvester Anemana, who gave the advice in Accra yesterday, said practitioners have a responsibility to make available, the right medicines for patients to use and also follow the legal framework that regulate the profession.

“The health conditions of Ghanaians greatly depends on the usage of medicines made available by pharmacists. It is therefore, important that the production, distribution, storage and dispensing of medication across the country be done in the confines of the guidelines set for the profession,” he said.

Dr. Anemana was opening a day’s workshop to review the Standard of Pharmaceutical Care (SPC) policy in Accra.

The workshop brought together practitioners and representatives from regional hospitals, public and private health agencies, the Ministry of Health, pharmaceutical associations and institutions as well as the civil society to make input into the policy document.

The participants also deliberated on measures to improve the sector, while reviewing the document to cover not only the guidelines of the profession as was done in 2002, but also the ethics.

Dr. Anemana said the review would chart a new course where practitioners would be guided and monitored to deliver their services efficiently.

He said a major challenge facing the sector was the sensitisation of the usage of medicines across the country.

He bemoaned the high level of drug abuse especially by people who do not seek prescription from medical practitioners, but go to pharmaceutical shops to look for any medicine to cure their ailments.

Dr. Anemana said the appropriate thing for patients to do was to follow the prescription given by medical practitioners, irrespective of how they feel or think about them.

He therefore expressed the hope that the participants would tailor the new policy document to address those challenges, while impressing on practitioners to be professional.

A senior pharmacist at the Ghana Health Service, Ruby Awittoi, said available statistics indicate a worrying trend in the usage of medications, especially in the informal sector.

She said the statistics show that few people were informed about the proper use of medicines; from the storage to their application.

She, therefore, recommended that advocacy on the subject be intensified across the country.

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