Pharmaceutical Promotion Seminar Educates Pharmacy Students
Photograph by Jasper Gabriel Ramirez
The School of Health Care Professionals organized the Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion Seminar yesterday at the Nursing Arts Laboratory, Robert Hoeppener Building.
The seminar aimed to instill critical analysis on pharmaceutical promotion and obtain quality yet unbiased information about medicines. In was participated in by pharmacy students from the University of San Carlos, University of Southern Philippines-Foundation, University of Visayas and Southwestern University.
The first speaker was Ms. Cecile Sison, coordinator of the Medicine Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Philippines. Ms. Sison’s topics included The Reasons of Discussing Pharmaceutical Promotion, The Global Context: Literature and Evidence, The Philippine Context: Recent Developments and Next Steps and The Challenge: How not to do the Pharmaceutical Industry Tango?
Ms. Sison discussed on the tactics crafted by pharmaceutical companies when it comes to promoting their medicines such as poor innovation – having little therapeutic advantage to patients, branding medicines as “new” even though similar or identical drugs have already been released and creating markets without answering the actual needs of the consumers.
Aside from that, she also addressed an unethical issue to physicians who succumb to the influence of these companies offering them gifts and freebies just to increase the prescription of the promoted medicine without minding its effects to their patients.
Moreover, Sison also explained a summary of the Mexico City Principles or voluntary code of ethics for the ethical conduct in the medicine business adopted by the Food and Drug Administration.
The second speaker was Roderick Salenga, a national professional officer of the World Health Organization-Philippiens, executive secretary of Philippine Pharmacists, Inc. and an associate professor of the University of the Philippines-Manila. The subject of his talk was on Counterfeit Medicines Education and Vigilance in Health Professions Education.
Mr. Salenga stated an alarming issue on the rising number of Spurious/Substandard/Falsely-labelled/Falsified/Counterfeit (SSFC) medical products globally, nationally and regionally. In fact, he said that Philippines itself has an outdated law on Counterfeit Drugs and the lack of adequate drug legislation, regulation and political will.
According to Salenga, many branded, and even generic, medicines have already been counterfeited which poses ill-effects to patience such as inefficacy of products, health complications and even death. Sadly, most Filipinos prefer cheap medicines which are prone to being SSFC. Lastly, he urged health professionals to take an active role in ensuring quality of the medicines along with the pharmaceutical supply chain.
The event was concluded with the awarding of certificates to the two speakers.