Nurturing Pharmacy As An Evolving Discipline

KPJ Healthcare is promoting awareness about one of the most essential functions in health care.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 – With a total of 96 pharmacists filling up more than 1.7 million prescriptions annually, KPJ Healthcare Bhd is committed to ensuring that the role of pharmacists across its network of hospitals nationwide continue to evolve in tandem with patients’ needs. 

Often misunderstood as representing a traditional health profession, the critical role of pharmacists within the pharmaceutical industry has undergone great evolution over the years.

In addition to daily procurement, quality control, counselling patients and caregivers, and routine management of medicines, pharmacists today are involved in specialised compounding services such as aseptic dispensing for chemotherapy, and even performing prescription interventions and medication therapy management reviews in order to minimise medication errors.

Offering end-to-end support for pharmacists from education to their careers, KPJ Healthcare through its education arm, KPJ Healthcare University College (KPJUC), is providing multi-faceted growth through its School of Pharmacy, having produced close to 1,100 pharmacy assistants for the domestic and international health care sectors. 

The School of Pharmacy at KPJUC comprises four esteemed programmes, including Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Technology, Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons), Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science with Health Sciences (Hons), and Diploma in Pharmacy, with a Master of Pharmacy programme expected to be launched early next year.

Additionally, a Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences (CoEPS) was established in 2019, focusing on initiatives for academic research to be incorporated in the pharmaceutical industry.

Recently, the School of Pharmacy also secured RM200,000 in external research grants from Aafiyat Group, whereby four clinical research studies will be carried out at CoEPS and KPJ Seremban Specialist Hospital.

“The role of pharmacists has become increasingly important, be it at the hospital, retail pharmacy, purchase and distribution, academia, research, and others. Moving with the times, we have pioneered numerous pharmaceutical advancements in our hospitals, from safe storage, dispensing, computerised physician orders, outpatient pharmacy modules and overall workflow upgrading, in accordance with best practices in the industry,” said Norhaizam Mohammad, KPJ Healthcare chief financial officer during the World Pharmacists Day celebration at KPJUC. 

“Furthermore, the growing awareness of female empowerment in the pharmaceutical profession is indeed commendable, and I believe this plays a key role in enhancing service excellence and quality,” he added.

Close to 120 people were in attendance at the event, consisting of students, pharmacists, training body representatives, and KPJ Healthcare employees, celebrating the annual global theme of “Pharmacy United In Action For A Healthier World”.

Apart from its network of hospitals, KPJ Healthcare’s home-grown retail brand Healthshoppe has four JX pharmacies (located in Bangi, Kota Damansara, Vista Alam, and Sri Manjung), 10 brick and mortar Healthshoppes in various KPJ hospitals, and a self-managed e-commerce platform,

Expansion plans within and beyond KPJ hospitals are in the works, with up to 26 outlets slated to be opened by 2027, enabling pharmacists to grow their careers with KPJ Healthcare.

At the height of the pandemic, pharmacists from KPJ hospitals and retail pharmacies came together to contribute their expertise and extend much-needed assistance in coordinating supply chain management at two KPJ-operated mega vaccination centres (PPVs) located at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and The Mall Mid Valley Southkey Johor Bahru, receiving vaccine stocks and ensuring cold chain maintenance.

Their dedicated efforts in troubleshooting issues, reporting adverse drug reactions, attending to drug information requests, and managing daily statistical reports clearly reflected their critical role in the health care industry. 

By the end of 2021, with the aid of these unsung heroes, a total of close to one million vaccinations were successfully administered at these PPVs.

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