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From dispensing to donating

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Are we, as pharmacist, making the most of being a pharmacist?

We provide patients with advice on how to take warfarin, our extensive use of the BNF allows the identification of a black dot interaction readily and if we are encountered with an emergency, our first aid skills allow us to act and help…but are we really pushing the boundaries? Are we empowered to make changes in our local, and even national, communities?

Throughout our pharmacy degrees, along with the necessary clinical knowledge, there is much emphasis placed on ‘ethics’. Ethics are a key element for all health care professionals. To sum, it is what separates humans from robots-without ethics potentially self-service robots could become pharmacists!

My law and ethics exam ensured that the seven principles had been drilled into my system; indeed, ‘make patients your first concern’ is something that now rolls off my tongue. But when does a patient become a patient? Is it when that individual walks through the pharmacy door? What about the millions that have died during civil wars. Are they patients? Should we not emphasise the importance of donating to charities as part of this patient concern? Or better yet, should pharmacies themselves donate to aid medical services in affected areas?

Drug companies are notorious for their bad image; their tactical business strategies provide revenues of billions every year. PCTs count the days when a drug is taken off patent and cheaper generic equivalent are available on the market. But did you know according to Forbes, drug companies are becoming the most charitable industries, donating sums of millions every year? If large companies, driven by shareholder demands, are able to act with such generosity, then the onus should be on us to do the same.

With so many multiples dotted all over the country running profitable schemes, community pharmacies are in a much stronger position to also readily donate to charities. Community pharmacies should not just be centres within the community to gain healthcare advice from, but can begin to have national, or even international effects, by increasing awareness for the need of charity alongside becoming more charitable organisations. Not only will this have an impact directly on those in need, but it could also prove a measure of how effective community pharmacies really are! As pharmacists, we should use our initiative in finding ways to increase the role of community pharmacies further; taking advantage of their potential and bettering the world, one step at a time. In this way, we can make the most of the special set of skills that we posses.

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