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Eduardo L. Mariño: «Pharmacists must inform patients»

Eduardo L. Mariño.

Eduardo L. Mariño.

41st Annual Symposium of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy.

41st Annual Symposium of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy.



Barcelona will host in October the 41st Annual Symposium of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy, which will gather international experts to discuss the appropriate and rational use of medications. The central theme of the meeting will be the personalised and safe therapy.

The European Society of Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) organises this Symposium together with the Clinical and Pharmacotherapeutic Pharmacy Unit (FCFT) of the University of Barcelona, led by professor of Galenical Pharmacy Eduardo L. Mariño. The FCFT is a consolidated teaching innovation group of the UB and a research group recognized by the Government of Catalonia. This Unit assembles professionals who are exclusively devoted to university and professionals engaged in community pharmacy, primary health care pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, and even, in pharmaceutical industry. The FCFT has launched pioneering initiatives available online, such as EDEMED (on medication errors), INFORGER (a portal with information on the appropriate medication use in geriatric patients), or InfoINHALER (focused on the use of inhalation devices), among others.

We interviewed professor Eduardo L. Mariño, president of the 41st Annual Symposium of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy, and we talked about the convention that will be held in Barcelona in October.

What is Clinical Pharmacy?

Clinical Pharmacy mainly studies the relationship between medication and the patients for whom this medicine is intended with a focus on pharmaceutical care. Hence, it directly contributes to improve or treat patients, or to prevent diseases, and it develops and promotes the rational and appropriate use of medications and devices, from a cost-effectiveness standpoint and within each health system.

Who is the Symposium on Clinical Pharmacy that you chair aimed at?

This Symposium is aimed at all health professionals who are interested in the relationship between patients and medication, and especially at pharmacists from the three levels of pharmaceutical care: community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and primary health care pharmacy.

What main topics will be discussed at the Symposium?

The Symposium will cover several areas, from preclinical to pharmacoeconomic aspects, such as the cost-effectiveness of clinical pharmacy interventions. There will be 22 plenary sessions, which will have simultaneous English-Spanish translation, 29 workshops and also oral communications and poster sessions. The Symposium is organised in three modules: effective care, safe care and patient-centred care. Worth mentioning is the fact that medication use and safety is an issue that concerns governments around the world, since drugs can sometimes have side effects that are not visible until they have been used by an important number of people, and therefore they are difficult to predict.

Will these themes be tackled from a European perspective?

Yes, precisely. It is a European congress but it is also organised from our particular reality, at a Catalan and Spanish level. We are aware of the fact that we must learn a lot of things, but we can also teach many others. Some very interesting talks will be given by experts from here, for example, Neus Rams, assistant director of Pharmacy and Health Products from the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia, who will focus on the prevention of medication errors and will review a ten-year-old institutional programme in Catalonia; or Antoni Gilabert, managing director of Pharmaceutical Care and Complementary Services from the Catalan Health Department, who will tackle aspects related with the introduction of new medications into healthcare systems.

During the Symposium you will lead a workshop on Bioequivalence and Biosimilarity. What are they?

Bioequivalence is a property required by generic medication obtained from traditional medication (by chemical synthesis). Nowadays there exist biotechnological drugs, which have an active ingredient that has been obtained by using biotechnology techniques, instead of traditional chemical synthesis. Many of these biotechnological drugs are completing the period of patent protection and can now be marketed by other laboratories, most commonly known as biosimilars.

Currently there is concern regarding the safety of biosimilar products, and it will be an important topic during the Symposium. Biosimilar medication requires the approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in order to be commercially available. To receive EMA approval, criteria for bioequivalence must be met, together with more stringent requirements. This is largely due to the fact that the techniques used for obtaining biotechnological drugs are not easily reproducible.

What do you think the role of pharmacist should be?

Pharmacists are experts in medication, but under no circumstance should they replace doctors. Pharmacists, as health professionals, must inform patients about the medication. They can also track patients when they are taking their drugs. We have carried out studies and we now know that in many cases prescribed medications are not taken and end up in the dustbin, which means a ridiculous waste of money. If pharmacotherapy is monitored by pharmacists, they can contact the prescriber when things go wrong. Hence, it is a collaborative work with the other members of the health team.

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