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WB IPA organizes training programme on GPP for community pharmacists in the wake of increasing medication errors

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Finding that medication error is the third largest contributor in the case of death after heart disease and cancer, the West Bengal branch of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA WB) has decided to conduct training programmes and awareness classes to working pharmacists, preferably community pharmacies, on Good Pharmacy Practices (GPP) to improve the quality of dispensing services.

The first one of the series scheduled for this year was held on the Patient Safety Day (September 17) which was observed in Kolkata by IPA in association with IMA and WB Nurses Association. The day-long programme was conducted at the Peerless Hospital and was inaugurated by the state director of health services.

According to Prabir Kumar Bannerjee, president of the WB IPA, the programme was attended by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health officials and students and teachers of various pharmacy colleges in Kolkata. He said IPA is planning to conduct a similar programme involving all the stakeholders of pharmacy and health in all the 24 districts in the state. He said training on GPP is mainly required for community pharmacists because they are the sources most visited by patients of rural and urban areas for medications. According to him, the IPA WB will coordinate the programme with the West Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association (WB CDA) after consultation with the drugs control administration. Support of the state pharmacy council will also be solicited to involve more professionals to the programme.

Meanwhile, Dr Subhash Mondal, retired deputy drugs controller, WB, and national vice-president of the IPA, said according to statistics available with the Government of India, about 7.7 million patients are hurt every year globally due to medication errors  which involve economic consequences like extended hospital stays and further treatments. Citing the reasons for occurring the menace, he said, the major cause of medication errors is due to the illegible hand-writing of the doctors. However, errors in transcription, administration and dispensing are also becoming the leading causes of death on many occasions.   Further, errors are happening in dose calculations, especially in medications for children below 15 years and older above 65. Mondal says that there is a chance for occurring confusion in calculating doses on the basis of microgram and milligram, accordingly over-dosage can occur compared to the body weight of the patient. He said the pharmacists have a great role in addressing medication errors in terms of dispensing, compounding and counseling.   

Regarding GPP, Mondal said there are some guidelines to be followed by the dispensing pharmacists who are supposed to adhere to them strictly. But these guidelines are appropriately complied with, both in community pharmacies and in hospital pharmacies. IPA will focus on these guidelines in the training programmes. Similarly, the doctors and the nurses must comply with certain guidelines from their service-sides in order to avoid errors in diagnosis and treatments for the patients’ safety. He said the training programmes will be conducted jointly with the doctors and the nurses associations. Mondal was the immediate past-president of the WB IPA.

He said the DCGI has issued circulars to all the drug manufacturers in the country expressing concern over certain drugs whose dosages become concerns for the cause of various diseases. In February this year, the national drug regulator had issued one circular raising concern over ranitidine being contaminated with cancer causing substances. Mondal said he is working on a project on how medication errors are happening in industrial pharmacies.

According to the IPA leaders, patient’s safety is a significant aspect in the awareness programme. The association agrees that all the community pharmacies in the state are owned by educated pharmacists, but most of them engage unqualified people to run the shops most of the days. So, the IPA will invite all the people working in the pharmacies and wholesale depots to the awareness classes to attend the training programme.

 

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