The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Friday, 4th March organized a workshop in Kumasi for community pharmacists on medicine safety monitoring in community pharmacies in preparation to launch a program, Patient Engagement in Medicine Safety.
The workshop which was well attended by community pharmacists across the upper sector of Ghana (Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions) was to afford the country’s drug regulatory agency the opportunity to introduce community pharmacists to the agency’s new concept of reporting Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) by users of community pharmacies.
In his welcoming address, Mr. Vigil Prah Eshun, who spoke on behalf of the authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Pharm. Hudu Mogtari, noted the significant and potential role community pharmacists can play in engaging patients to monitor and report on the safety issues of their medication. According to him, the workshop aimed at equipping the pharmacists with the relevant skills in order to successfully implement the agency’s new concept of reporting.
In a presentation, Mrs. Adela Ashie, explained the rational for engaging patients, who form the focus of the medication use process, to directly report on adverse drug reactions they experience while taking their medications. She explained that patients stand a better position to fully communicate any experience encountered while taking medications. A study to evaluate adverse drug reactions encountered by patients underlies the idea of patient engagement. She said, the study sponsored by FDA and published in 2014 revealed that patients tend to report more complaints compared to complaints submitted on their behalf by health care professionals.
To rollout the Patient Engagement in Medicine Safety program, the FDA has selected the pharmacies of the participants as Patients Safety Centers (PSC) to administer BlueForms® (a form for capturing adverse drug reaction reports) to patients and collate such completed reports.
Mrs. Abena Amoako, an officer at the FDA, intimated that PSC who show exceptional commitment throughout the implementation of the program will be identified through pre-specified indicators and due recognition and rewards will be accorded to them.
Mr. Charles Allotey, the current chairperson for Community Practice Pharmacists Association (CPPA) in a presentation, encouraged community pharmacists to fully take up the opportunity to contribute to national data on the safety of medicines. According to him, the program by the FDA offers a unique opportunity for the branding of one’s community pharmacy as a PSC, adding, it will serve to enhance public confidence in pharmacists actively involve the program.
As part of the Patient Engagement in Medicine Safety program, the FDA intends running advertisements on various media—radio, tv, billboards—to increase awareness of the program and its significance.