UAE plans better pharmacy laws
Abu Dhabi, April 11, 2009
Protocols that will standardise operations in pharmacies found in UAE hospitals are being considered, said a leading member of Abu Dhabi’s health authority.
Dr Mohammed Abu Elkhair, head, pharma/medicine and medical products regulation section, of the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi (Haad) has revealed that plans are underway to improve pharmacy laws in the country.
“We’re working on updating new pharmacy laws in conjunction with the health ministry and the other authorities involved,” he said. “One of the challenges we’re facing is how to improve pharmacy operations in hospitals, and particularly those in the private sector. We want to introduce standard operating procedures.”
Dr. Elkhair indicated that Haad is currently conferring with private sector hospitals about the benefits of introducing new systems. The feedback, he said, has been positive.
“There is no real in-patient pharmacy based practice, and there is no real system for clinical pharmacy, not just in the medical sense, but on the supply of information side too. We don’t see this in the private sector,” he added.
“We’ve invited them (private hospitals) and shown them what the public sector do and they’re very excited. Hospital administrators might not know the full benefits, but once they see the cost savings that can be made they’re becoming more responsive.”
Dr Hashem Tarifi, head of pharmacy at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain said that issues are constantly being addressed and improvements made.
“There has been a lot of work aiming at improving the quality of pharmaceutical services. A good example is the introduction of health information system with the objective of having a network to allow for the integration of the services,” he said.
“Computerised physician order entry can eliminate most of the medication errors due to poor handwriting, or wrong doses, etc.,” he added.
“Having access to patient profile through a virtual network can revolutionise the prescribing as the health care providers can verify the medication, reconcile for errors of repetition, omission, drug-drug interaction and drug-food interactions and hence improve patient safety and ultimately therapeutic outcome.”
According to Dr Tarifi, education should be a priority to allow pharmacists to keep pace with the changes occurring in the field.
“The service is becoming diverse and there is a major departure from the old way of practicing pharmacy,” he said.
“More emphasis should be placed on improving the clinical skills of the pharmacists which can be achieved through certification, planning of residencies, internships, etc.
“The status of pharmacists needs to improve, especially with the major shortage of pharmacists in North America. This can be achieved through training and development.”
Simon Page, director of life sciences division, IIR Middle East, said that it was imperative that pharmacists be given access to as much information as possible, and stressed on the importance of continuing medical education (CME).
CME for pharmacists will be a part of the upcoming Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Middle East (PABME) later this month. PABME 2009 will be held from April 20 to 22 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. – TradeArabia News Service