ONE OF MY JOBS AS ASHP CEO is to spread the gospel of pharmacists’ vital role in medication management and ASHP’s commitment to the practice of hospital and health-system pharmacy and patient safety.
During my career, I’ve traveled internationally a fair bit, and it always amazes me how similar our challenges are to those of other countries. Although some countries are fairly early in their adoption of best practices and their understanding and acceptance of pharmacists’ expertise as part of multidisciplinary care teams, we all face many of the same issues.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Indian Pharmacists Association meeting. India, possessing one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is now a global player in pharmaceuticals. The sophistication of India’s technology and manufacturing sectors is impressive, and it is moving onto the world stage in a big way as a leader of knowledge-based industries and services.
But, similar to the U.S., the public health challenges related to health care in India—namely, affordability, access, medication error prevention, and quality—loom large. Hospital work force shortages and major and endemic public health needs are confronting pharmacists in India as they do in the U.S.
A growing chorus of voices is calling for reformation of the pharmacy curricula in India, changes that would allow pharmacists to take on new opportunities to improve public health. This holds exciting potential for better health care in India.
In the U.S., we continue to struggle with public health challenges related to affordable and accessible care. The rancorous public debate over national reform during the past year has revealed just how difficult it is to enact change.
We are also dealing with educational challenges that are a bit different than those of our Indian colleagues. Our Pharm.D. and residency programs consistently produce highly qualified new practitioners. But the opportunities these new pharmacists currently find in our hospitals and health systems often don’t match their expectations or training in terms of direct patient care.
ASHP is not waiting for others to tackle this problem. As you’ll see in the cover story, on page 8, the Society is undertaking a future-forward exercise called the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI).
Once again, as we did in Hilton Head over two decades ago and have at many conferences and meetings since, ASHP and the ASHP Foundation are taking the lead on practice change. We hope our international members, many of whom regularly make the long trek to our Midyear Clinical Meeting and Summer Meeting, are able to benefit as well from the national debate and conversation about optimal practice models. These valued members of our Society are always reaching and striving to take better care of their patients. And ASHP stands ready to help.
Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D.