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Guyana: Minister Lawrence urges pharmacists not to exploit patients for money

at Pharmacists’ Association annual convention

OVER 200 local pharmacists participated in the Guyana Pharmacists’ Association’s (GPAs) 17th Annual Convention on Sunday which addressed gaps in the pharmaceutical industry and strategies for improvement.

The convention hosted at the Pegasus Hotel under the theme ‘Universal Health: The Pharmacist as a key player’, was attended by representatives of the public health sector and international specialists.
Delivering the feature address, Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence reminded the attendees of the role and responsibility of the pharmacist in the provision of medicine and its management.

“Pharmacists, to put your role into perspective, you are tasked with a huge responsibility of ensuring that drugs are available; that our people have access to the highest quality of medication; that medication is utilised in the correct way to produce the desired results, and most importantly to ensure that our patients adhere to prescribed medication and not self-prescribed drugs so as to offset consequences of death, paralysis, poison or serious allergic reactions,” she said.

The minister stressed that pharmacists must be cognisant at all times of the ethics of their trade which include a firm value system, transparency, accountability and meticulousness when supplying medication.
She expressed her satisfaction in the fact that topics such as pharmacovigilance, which deals with the awareness of counterfeit drugs and their side effects, would be addressed at the convention.

“Ethically, you are dealing with drugs and people and you have the responsibility to protect your patients at all times, to dispense the medication with the dosage required and not to take advantage of the patient financially or otherwise for economic gain,” she said.
Meanwhile, the GPA President Rosana Narine told this newspaper that Guyana still faces challenges with counterfeit drugs due to the country’s porous borders. The body is, however, working along with the Government Analyst – Food and Drug Department (GAFDD) to address the situation.

Speaking on her hopes for the convention, Narine said: “What I would like is for pharmacists to remember that we are a key member of the health care team, and we should act accordingly and always remember our place. Because sometimes we tend to be overlooked so it is up to us to cement our place in the professional arena.”

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