Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences, and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs
The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize medication use to provide patients with positive health outcomes. Pharmacy is also the term for an establishment where pharmacy is practised by pharmacists (synonym: drugstore).
Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia maintained by “Joe public”, clearly sees the pharmacist “as a highly-trained and skilled health care professional that performs various roles to ensure optimal health outcomes for their patients. Many pharmacists are also small business owners, owning the pharmacy in which they practice”
The Barbadian pharmacist obviously also shares this description, but has an additional defining role by acting as a vital component within the health team and Government’s public health role.
The Pharmacist is a professional and as such is registered each year and pays an annual professional fee to the Barbados Government. They must have their pharmacy inspected annually to be licensed to engage the public.
There is a folk song, sung by Sing out Barbados, the Ellerslie folk Choral and others. I do not know the full lyrics, but remember only one line or phrase. The line is ‘…save John Gill, let the ice house burn…”
When I first heard this, I had no clue who was John Gill, I guessed the ice house, was in fact an ice house and there must have been a fire.
I learnt later that John Gill was the name of the pharmacy owned by ……John Gill and that the ice house stood where the Royal Bank of Canada now stands on upper Broad Street, near Nelsons Statue.
The retail Barbadian pharmacist or the John Gills of our time are facing severe challenges to their businesses. But regardless the Barbadian pharmacist soldiers on providing timely interventions in the lives of Barbadians daily.
The Barbados Pharmaceutical Society is an organisation that was established in 1948, and so is one of the oldest, if not the oldest organised professional body. Which means that it over 60 years old, and although it has never had full membership, the fact is that it is still around, and not limping, but is developing into a respected, vibrant, progressive body. The BPS is that body that gives an amalgamated positive view of the Barbadian pharmacist,
It is a little known fact , that the BPS has spent up to $ 30,000.00 annually, through sponsorship for the retraining of its membership, because of this training , we have pharmacists who can identify certain wounds and dress them accordingly, we have pharmacists who can assist their patients in treating dermatological conditions, not by guessing and giving an all purpose cream, but accurately determining and referring such patients, we have some pharmacists who understand the impact herbal concoctions have on our patients lives, and can give correct advice on how to integrate them into daily medicine regimens. We have pharmacists who can correctly advise the size of compression stocking needed, who understand the impact of antiviral medicines and OTCs, and can advise , We have pharmacists who know the new treatments for breast cancer, and the correct dosages for these new potent products, we have pharmacists who know about the newest clothing used to assist in the treatment of eczema, and where to obtain it from, we have pharmacists who can do blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol readings and give accurate interpretations.
The local private pharmacists’ relationship with the Barbados Drug Service is typified as the public face for the Barbados Drug Service. The private participating pharmacist makes the greater contribution in the provision of this Benefit Service as a point of distribution for a subsidised prescription service, in that, the private pharmacist, first purchases the drugs to give the patient on governments’ behalf, and then awaits reimbursement.
The Barbadian pharmacy owner is in most cases a small business owner, who has taken their family’s monies and loans and invested in creating a better future for himself/herself, his/her relatives and his/her employees.
The pharmacist is considered one of the most trusted professions, and the public, has in large measure repaid the Barbadian pharmacists, by showing loyalty. This loyalty has been maintained in part despite the recent changes to the Barbados Drug Service program.
The changes in the Barbados Drug Service have impacted negatively on pharmacy, that is clear, what is also clear is that the same people who declared in the midst of the flame, smoke and heat, to save John Gill, are the same ones , if the local pharmacist give them reason to, will come to the pharmacists assistance.
The ice house had to be important, ice in a climate as ours is a needed commodity, but what was it that caused those people to forget that, and try to save a pharmacy.
This is what pharmacy is about, and as we as pharmacists celebrate our week of activities under the theme …”know before you go”. We ask that Barbadians capitalise on the knowledge around them, when seeking to make informed choices concerning their health and go to your pharmacist and ask a question, you will be surprised at the amount of knowledge available to you for free.