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Pharmacy should move to a ‘wellness-based’ service

There’s a greater preventative role for pharmacists, says RPS
Ash Soni Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Pharmacists can play a far greater role when it comes to preventative medicine and the profession should move from being part of an illness-based service to being one based on wellness.

That was the message from the president of the UK's Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Ash Soni when he appeared at an event put on by Merck Consumer Health last month.

Soni, who is the clinical network lead for Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and practices as a pharmacist himself in London, said that, with current shortages of doctors and nurses across Europe, pharmacy was poised to play a wider role in the region's healthcare ecosystem.

“Everybody, everywhere - globally - says that pharmacy is underutilised. It is an opportunity that is being missed - the challenge is working out how we pay for it,” said Soni (pictured above).

He suggested that an expansion of pharmacists' roles could see them take on a prescribing role for certain conditions.

“I don't think the source of the prescription, going forwards, will necessarily be the GP - pharmacists will carry much more responsibility in how we manage the care of patients and the public. One of the big challenges for governments is to move from what has historically been an illness-based service to a wellness-based service.”

Wellness requires you to start to intervene with people who are healthy and well, he added - pointing out that this is something for which pharmacy is already well-placed.

But thinking ahead to how such changes could effect relations with pharma, Soni warned that the industry would have to be careful not to repeat past mistakes.

“Historically the pharmaceutical industry used to talk to doctors about products and drove the markets in certain ways and that came to be seen as inappropriate - and there's been more and more stepping away and talking to doctors and about therapeutic benefits and the evidence base to support what is going to be used.”

He concluded: “There are some real opportunities for industry and the profession, but the challenge will be for the industry to support the profession in its development and not necessarily to do it in a way that is product specific, but is disease and wellness orientated.”

9th December 2014

From: Healthcare

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