National Pharmacy Week 2020, organised by IPA commences

Inaugurated by Prof Bejon Misra and Yogita Singh, the theme of the NPW this year is 'Pharmacists: Frontline Health Professionals'

The Indian Pharmaceutical Association-Delhi State Branch (IPADSB) in collaboration with Delhi Pharmaceutical Trust (DPT) celebrated the inaugural function of the 59th National Pharmacy Week (NPW) on November 15, 2020, at Hotel Legend Inn, New Delhi. The theme of the NPW this year is “Pharmacists: Frontline Health Professionals” and will be celebrated throughout the country from November 16-22, 2020.

IPA organises NPW during the third week of November every year to make all stakeholders aware of the presence of pharmacists in the society and to know the role played by registered pharmacists with respect to medicines, their usage, handling and dispensing.

The inaugural session started with the traditional lamp lighting ceremony by the dignitaries on the dais. Kalhan Bazaz, President of IPADSB, in his welcome address, said, “It’s time to up the ante and make a real, significant difference in days to come by acknowledging the importance of pharmacists in the society as ‘if no pharmacists, then no medicines’; ‘and if no medicines, then no Swasth Bharat’.”

The chief guest of the inaugural function, Prof Bejon Kumar Misra, an International Consumer Policy Expert & Founder Director of Patient Safety & Access Initiative of India Foundation (PSAIIF), said, “A recent survey by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network points out that nearly one in four cancer patients reported delays in their care because of the pandemic, including access to in-person appointments, imaging, surgery and other services. While we cannot wish away the current COVID-19 situation, we need to ensure that patients reach out to their healthcare professionals and follow their advice/consultation, on a routine basis. It is time that patients need to act responsibly and act now. Maintaining up-to-date records, schedules and regular consults with the doctors will go a long way in managing other health ailments with the help of the entire support system with the pharmacist as an integral part of the entire healthcare system.”

The Guest of Honour, Yogita Singh, President, BJP Mahila Morcha, Delhi Pradesh, in her address, extended all support for the various initiatives taken by IPADSB to combat COVID-19. She stated, “There is currently a shortfall in health facilities and support of entire healthcare professionals are needed including pharmacist which is an important chain of the entire health ecosystem. The healthcare services and systems in India are still developing and have challenges; however, the National Health Mission and Government’s commitment, adequate and affordable healthcare is under high pace of consideration.” She said that till the time a vaccine is available in the country, right education to the public will support the country to stand on its feet.

In his keynote address, Dr Naresh Sharma, Immediate Past President, IPADSB stated, “The main objective of this year’s theme is to acknowledge and thank all the pharmacists and pharmacy sectors who are working tirelessly during the time of great uncertainty and challenges in addition to the regular responsibilities of taking care of patients with minor illnesses or chronic diseases and making available the drugs with continuous supply chain management. Our pharmacists, as frontline workers are relieving the burden on the doctors, nurses and hospital emergency departments. I believe that society has definitely recognised the services rendered by pharmacists and the importance of pharmacy services during the pandemic situation and continues to do so hereafter.”

Prof Roop K Khar, Director, BS Anangpuria Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSAIPS), Faridabad, in his address stated, “There are three different stakeholders involved in pharma services. Firstly, NGOs which deal with patient care; secondly, the pharmacist is responsible for safe use of medicines; and thirdly, a section of the society especially political parties which are responsible for the welfare of people. These are three pillars of society which need to be integrated. Only then the objective of healthcare can be achieved.” He further informed, “Drugs & Cosmetics (D&C) Act and Rules is being revised by the Government currently. All pharmacists should participate in the revision of the D&C Act. Further, there should be introspection about what pharmacists have done in the last 50 years and what they want to achieve in the next 50 years. Even IPADSB will brainstorm and have SWOT analysis done so that the upcoming D&C Act can be given a new perspective and direction according to the regulatory point of view so that regulation can become stronger.”

Dr TV Narayana, National President, IPA, stated, “This year COVID-19 has shown the value of the pharmacists and the pharma profession add to healthcare settings. COVID-19 has shown the great potential of the pharmacy profession to contribute to public health and to the nation itself. Inspite of the challenges that the pharmacy profession is facing; during COVID-19 our pharmacists in industry, regulatory, community and hospitals worked very hard to maintain an uninterrupted supply of services. We salute the good work done by pharmacy professionals during this pandemic.”

On the occasion, Prof Bejon Misra and Prof Roop Khar released posters of the 59th NPW. Yogita Singh and Prof Farhan Ahmad released a Handbook on Pharmacy Management – Standard Operating Procedures authored by Dr Sangeeta Sharma, Professor & Head, Department of Neuropsychopharmacology, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS) & President of Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs. During the inaugural session, a stock of N95 mask (6-layered) was donated to IPADSB by Anjani Kumar Mishra, Managing Director (MD), Irvine Lifesciences for the campaign ‘Do Gaj Ki Doori Aur Mask Hai Zaroori’ and the masks will be distributed to the needy people throughout the week.

Other dignitaries present were Prof Farhan Ahmad, Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Sciences & Technology, Jamia Hamdard & Professor of Pharmaceutics at School of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi; SL Nasa, President, Indian Hospital Pharmacists Association (IHPA); Dr Mymoona Akhter, Treasurer, IPADSB; Rajesh Agarwal, Executive Council Member, IPADSB; and Dr Ankur Kaul, Technical Officer ‘B’, INMAS, DRDO, Delhi.

Throughout the week, there will be webinars on the main theme of NPW on varied topics like ‘Role of pharmacist in COVID-19 crisis in India’, ‘Pharmacovigilance in COVID-19 pandemics’, ‘Recent developments in COVID-19 drugs’ or ‘vaccines & their challenges’, ‘Good storage practices’, ‘Telemedicine in India: its regulation & challenges’, and last but not least, a topic on IPR. IPADSB Student’s Forum has also lined up a number of online competitions to mark the NPW celebrations. The Week will end with a valedictory function that will be organised virtually by IPADSB.

Bejon Kumar MisraCOVID-19D&C ActDr Naresh SharmaIndian Pharmaceutical AssociationIPAIPADSBNational Pharmacy WeekpharmacistsProf Roop K KharTV Narayana
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