When the debate over whether medical professionals or highly qualified pharmacists (Pharm D graduates) should conduct the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) is still continuing among doctors and pharmacists, different views and opinions are coming out from both the professionals and academicians in the fields.
Dr P S Bhagavan, former deputy director of pharmacy in the ministry of health in Karnataka government has observed that PvPI should be headed by a pharmacist, preferably a clinical pharmacist with Pharm D qualification. He said pharmacovigilance is an activity under pharmacy practice and not under medical practice.
According to him, the term pharmacovigilance has come from the concept of ‘pharmacy-vigilance’ and not from an idea of pharmacologists doing vigilance work. “If it were to be ‘pharmacologists do vigilance’, then what they were doing all these years confining to lab experiments” he asked.
Pharmacovigilance is both a monitoring of adverse reaction as well as an audit programme. It is a program based on documentation, he commented. According to him, the doctors should shun their idea and mindset that pharmacists should work under their control. It is this irrational mindset that leads to non-medical and non-pharmacy administrators to head the drug logistic in the government sector.
Whereas, Dr Binay Kumar, assistant professor, department of forensic medicine and toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna observed that the Indian Pharm D graduates were not capable of doing anything other than dispensing drugs prescribed by physicians.
“They are not even able to recognize signs and symptoms in patients. They should work under the supervision of physicians, pharmacologists etc. Many experienced MBBS doctors are very competent. So it is not correct that MBBS doctors should be debarred from prescribing new drugs as stated by Dr Atmaram Pawar”, he commented.
Dr M C Gupta, medical-lego consultant from New Delhi said ADR reporting is very important, but usually non-existent in Indian hospitals because of lack of knowledge, time and attitude on the part of doctors.
“When 150 PvPI centres are existing in India, they need to pool their data and views, and issue a consensus statement as to how ADR reporting should be strengthened and by whom. There is nothing basically wrong in Pharm D personnel helping in ADR”, Dr Gupta said.