GCC Pharmaceutical Congress to help pharmacists develop best practices

More than 30  international pharmaceutical experts from around the world will speak at the GCC (Gulf Cooperative Council) Pharmaceutical Congress in Dubai from October 5-8.

The conference will discuss the key developments and innovations in pharmacy practice from regulations to innovative technologies–an important step toward developing the region’s pharmacy industry.

Best practice in the GCC region’s pharmaceutical industry has seen great strides over recent years, especially in the last decade as the region’s pharmacists move toward a more patient-centric approach.

Dr. Adeline Saba, pharmacy manager from Corniche Hospital in the United Arab Emirates, said that in the past, the region's pharmacy profession had more of a "dispensary" function. Pharmacists served the basic role of simply handing over medication to patients.

In the last 10 years, though, Saba said pharmacy practice has seen a leap toward a more patient-centric approach where pharmacists are more oriented to patient care.

Dr. Lamia Yahya, also from Corniche Hospital, said the practice is now more focused on medication safety and quality of care, as well as on the advancement of clinical pharmacists and their role in the health care team.

One of the keys to that leap forward is continuous education for pharmacists to help overcome the remaining challenges in the pharmacy of practice in the region. Saba suggested that in addition to the Diploma and Bachelor of Pharmacy degrees offered regionally, pharmacists should consider several institutions that provide post-graduate studies and advanced clinical training.

The speed of information exchange and the growing number of medical conferences such as the one set to kick off in Dubai also should be taken advantage of by pharmacists, the doctors said.

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