Pharmacy Front-End Operations

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Pharmacy operations management takes into count the running of a business enterprise along with being part of the healthcare system and services. Thus pharmacy operations include both tangible and intangible characteristics. Healthcare pharmacy services are knowledge-based and require continuous customer-interaction and that makes for its intangible component in operations. The logistics and supply of services that form the crux of the functions in operations management remain the evident and tangible features of the pharmacy business.

It is the human workforce of a pharmacy that actually forms the interface between the customers and the management. There is little doubt that this is the most significant part of the pharmacy operations. It is the workforce that represents the organisation to the customers. It is this end of the business force that must remain responsible for the pharmacy to be seen as functioning in an optimal manner. It is imperative to have technically trained personnel who facilitate smooth operations management in synchronization with the realities of human behavior.

To keep the team well informed and keyed to their roles, management should follow on all inputs necessary for their peak performances. In this connection it would do well to be constantly reinforcing the Pharmacy Practice Regulations. The PPR-2015 that has been enforced by Pharmacy Council of India is meant to regulate pharmacy practice in India. Here are a few pointers that may always be kept in mind. As per the rules,

  • Dispensing of drugs should be carried by the qualified registered pharmacists only.
  • Renting of registration certificated to pharmacy owners is strictly prohibited.
  • Pharmacists who rented their registration certificates without attending dispensing services considered as misconduct and subjected for cancellation of their registration certificates permanently.
  • Pharmacists during working times should wear a white clean apron, black badge plate with name and registration number of pharmacists.
  • Registration certificates should be displayed visible to the public.
  • Along with dispensing services pharmacists should provide their professional services like patients counseling, adverse drug reactions reporting, and primary care to all uncomplicated simple illnesses. For this purpose a separate cell may be arranged within the pharmacy.
  • If any case of drugs dispensing carried by unqualified persons instead of qualified pharmacist, public may lodge their complaints against pharmacist directly to the registrar state or central pharmacy council.

For a while after this notification was introduced, social media went mistakenly rife with comments that pharmacists were empowered to open pharma clinics to diagnose disease and prescribe medicines. However no such provision is mentioned in Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015. A registered pharmacist is required only to dispense medicines on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner and can only counsel patients or care-givers on medicine to enhance or optimize drug therapy.

Patient counseling usually includes the following features:

  • Name and description of the drugs
  • Dosage form, dose, route of administration, and duration of drug therapy
  • Intended use of the drug and expected action
  • Special directions and precautions for the drug
  • Common severe side effects, adverse effects, interactions, therapeutic contraindications that may occur, including their avoidance and action required if they occur
  • Techniques for self-monitoring drug therapy
  • Proper storage of the drugs
  • Prescription refill information
  • Action to be taken in the event of a missed dose
  • To ensure rational use of drugs

In view of above it then becomes clear that under no circumstances may a registered pharmacist consider himself empowered under the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015 to practice medicines or open clinics to provide medical care. Rigorous training is therefore part of HERD Pharmacy management procedure to keep pharmacists aware of their essential roles and responsibilities.

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