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Maximal Results in Treatment with Minimal Consequences
A doctor and a pharmacist should work as a united team in achieving the most important goal – the optimal treatment of patients. This is the main appeal of the Extended Global Concept of Pharmaceutical Practice, which demands a higher degree of pharmaceutical care and a more active role of pharmacists in the treatment of patients .

The role of a pharmacist has been considerably expanded in healthcare systems of developed countries over the past two decades. Pharmaceutical Care, i.e. the Contemporary Extended Concept of Pharmaceutical Practice, does not only demand more engaged work in the field of healthcare education and health promotion from the pharmacist, as an expert in medicinal products, but also his/her active engagement in monitoring the prescription of drugs, their use, as well as monitoring the efficacy and safety of treatment in patients.

‘The traditional role of a pharmacist in preparation, distribution, and issuing of drugs has changed significantly with the new concept and expanded in the sense of providing a better quality pharmaceutical and therapeutical service. The model of extending the focus from the medicinal product to the patient, which is demanded by the new Global Concept of Pharmaceutical Care, brings increased responsibility and more commitments before the pharmacist, along with a need for continuous improvement. On the other hand, this is also a way towards better patient care and higher patient security. This is especially important in patients who take newer medicinal products, so that possible side effects or unexpected events could be spotted on time’, says Katarina Barudžija, MPharm, Regional RX Product Manager of Hemofarm.

A doctor and a pharmacist should make a united team, with an obligation of the pharmacist to ensure that all the safety measures regarding use of a particular medicine are applied on the occasion of prescribing the medicine. The pharmacist should also be familiar with all the risk factors regarding a particular patient.

‘An individual approach to the patient makes an integral part of expanding the concept of personalised medicine and is certainly a route towards a more successful treatment, and a basis of applying an efficient and safe pharmacotherapy in order to obtain maximal results of treatment with minimal side effects. Nowadays, new technologies enable doctors to understand the nature of certain diseases much better, but also provide a possibility of specific targeted therapies which may be efficient in certain types of diseases. Special categories of patients, including: pregnant women, children, persons with impaired liver or kidney function, patients with chronic diseases, require additional attention in selecting a medicinal product or in determining a dose of a medicinal product’, explained our colleague.

The new expanded concept of pharmaceutical practice requires active contribution of the pharmacist in professional improvement of other healthcare professionals on the issue of efficacy of medicinal products and safety measures in their use. In the pharmacy, the pharmacist should build a relationship with patients based on understanding, compassion, and disposal, as regards the efficacy of medicinal products and safety measures in their use.

‘Undesirable effects of medicinal products can be minimised by use of the safest medicines from certain therapeutic group, through dose optimisation, as well as by appropriate method of use. One of the key prerequisites for success of any therapy is that the patient or the patient’s guardian be well informed by the pharmacist on proper methods of medicine use, which is also an excellent way to develop a feeling of safety and trust in a patient’, explained pharmacist Katarina Barudžija. It would also be desirable if, in a conversation with the patient, the pharmacist pointed out the importance of regular taking of the prescribed therapy. Patients in Serbia are not always responsible in this matter. Patients suffering from high blood pressure make an illustrative example, with only a third of them treating this condition, and with only one tenth of them whose blood pressure is adequately corrected. Consequences of health ignorance can be disastrous.

‘Patients who tend to neglect their doctors’ advice and who do not take their medicines in a proper manner can suffer consequences, such as deterioration of their clinical picture, a greater number of complications, disability, and even mortality. The healthcare statistics warns us that untreated blood pressure causes 84% of strokes and 2/3 of myocardial infarctions, while these could have been prevented, since the contemporary pharmaceutical industry has been developing highly efficient medicines so that even the gravest forms of hypertension can be controlled successfully’, regretfully stated pharmacist Katarina Barudžija.

Ready to pay extra for pharmacist’s advice

The 2023 health survey conducted by STADA, which involved 16 states including Serbia, reveals that the citizens of Serbia more than any other visited pharmacies –79% of them who went to a pharmacy at least once a month, followed by the Italians (73%) and the Spaniards (72%). Each fourth European wished they had an opportunity to get individual health advice from their pharmacist and they are even ready to pay extra for such a service. Each second European would ask for advice on diet in a pharmacy, 53% of them would like to have their vitamin status measured, 65% would check their blood sugar levels or their blood pressure, while 61% of Europeans would be willing to pay for their pharmacist’s advice on more discrete health problems.