Prescribing a revolution

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

During my career as a pharmacist, who is able to prescribe has changed beyond recognition.

From nurses through to pharmacists and allied healthcare professionals, more and more of us are studying for a prescribing qualification. It’s driving a revolution in healthcare and increasing access for patients.

The NHS needs solutions to the pressures it faces and maximising the skill mix of the existing workforce as part of the push for more integrated care is giving the profession significant opportunities. Read more Prescribing a revolution

Daniel Hanbury: family, the RPS and beyond

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian

(with painting of Daniel Hanbury)

Daniel Hanbury’s family connections to the RPS extend back to the Society’s inception.  His father, Daniel Bell Hanbury, and uncle, Cornelius Hanbury, were both founder members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 1841.  They were nephews by marriage of William Allen, the Society’s first president and, like other founder members, they were Quakers.

The Hanbury brothers and William Allen had further ties as business partners, along with John Thomas Barry, in the long-established pharmaceutical firm Allen, Hanburys and Barry – later Allen and Hanburys. Read more Daniel Hanbury: family, the RPS and beyond

The Hanbury Collection at the RPS Library

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian 

(with painting of Daniel Hanbury)

Daniel Hanbury (1825-1875) was a leading British pharmacologist. Since 1892, his notable book collection, predominantly on pharmacognosy and botany, has formed part of the RPS Library collection.  So how do we come to own it and what are we doing to make it more accessible to members?

Thomas’ and Anna’s loss, our gain …

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society might never have been in possession of Daniel Hanbury’s books if his sister, Anna, had not moved house. Although his brother, Thomas, had intended to give them to the Society, he had found it difficult to part with them.  The books had been housed with Anna after Daniel Hanbury’s death in 1875, and her imminent move meant that a final decision had to be made about their future location. Read more The Hanbury Collection at the RPS Library

The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

By Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

‘Removes blotches,’ ‘clears the complexion,’ ‘removes freckles, pimples, and all spots.’

Turn on your TV or open a magazine and you might see these words advertising the latest beauty product, but in fact they come from the Roman writer Pliny the Elder’s description of a substance called crocodilea – the dung or intestinal contents of a crocodile.

As well as its uses in skincare it was recommended as an eye salve, taken internally for epilepsy, and as a pessary for stimulating menstrual flow.

Partnerships
In 2016 the RPS Museum became a partner in a research project on ancient skincare, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Science in Culture strand. Now, as the study reaches its conclusion, the team – including researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Glasgow and Keele – are going to showcase some of the findings in a series of events at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on 15th and 16th  February. Read more The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

Antimicrobial resistance – how we can help you

By Professor Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Decades of inappropriate use of antibiotics, combined with a dearth of development and discovery of antimicrobials, has led to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerging as one of the most critical risks to global public health requiring action by governments around the world.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in meeting the challenge set by the UK Government in 2016 of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50%.

That’s why this year we focused providing professional resources to support you to help protect antibiotics for the future. Most are on our AMR hubpage but here’s a quick round-up in case you missed them: Read more Antimicrobial resistance – how we can help you

Pharmagraphics

By Briony Hudson, Pharmacy historian, curator and lecturer

What do mandrake, medicinal treacle and the RPS headquarters have in common?

They all feature in Pharmagraphics , a new online “digital story” from the Wellcome Collection that explores the relationship between pharmacy and design across time.

I started work on the project with Julia Nurse, Wellcome Library’s Collections Researcher, earlier this year to produce six “chapters” that looked at different aspects of pharmacy history and how graphics, design and imagery played their part.  The aim was to link with the Wellcome Collection’s current exhibition ‘Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?’, and to draw on the fantastic collection of images both within Wellcome’s own collection and elsewhere including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum . Read more Pharmagraphics

Biologics and biosimilars – what are they?

By Jayne Lawrence, Head of Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, University of Manchester.

The Commissioning Framework for Biological Medicines announced recently by NHS England will both help guide improvements to developing better medicines for patients and provide a guide to ensuring the NHS gets best value for money from these innovative, exciting medicines.

What is a biologic?
Biological medicines have made many new, groundbreaking treatments possible, significantly im-proving the lives of many patients with long term conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, anaemia associated with chronic kidney failure, and types of cancer.

They are extremely expensive, in part due to the complexity of their production. For example, a course of a new immunotherapy drug typically costs more than £100,000 per patient per year. Furthermore, as biologicals currently comprise approximately 50% of all new drug approvals, it is likely that the high cost of new medicines is with us for the foreseeable future. Consequently, any way of reducing the cost of these important medicines is vital. Read more Biologics and biosimilars – what are they?

Why is handwashing important?

By Professor Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Every day we carry millions of bacteria, some of which are naturally found on our bodies and some of which are germs that can make us ill or infect others.

Every day we have contact with people who don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet, or preparing food.

Our survey on handwashing shows 84% of British adults don’t wash their hands for long enough to clean them of bacteria which can cause infections such as upset stomachs or pneumonia, or viruses which can cause colds and flu.

Regular handwashing with soap and water is the single best way to protect yourself and others from infections. The recommended time to spend washing your hands is 20 seconds, as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ twice. Read more Why is handwashing important?

Creating a profession where you feel comfortable to be yourselves

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

Recently I wrote a blog about  LGBTQ Pride celebrations describing how upset I was that LGBTQ young people were still suffering high levels of abuse, discrimination and mental health issues as a result of their identity. I promised to reflect on what more the RPS could do to support pharmacists to help young LGBTQ people and we are exploring how our future RPS campaigns can deliver this. Read more Creating a profession where you feel comfortable to be yourselves

What do pharmacists need to know about heartburn?

By Dr Pulak Sahay, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Senior Lecturer of Medicine, Leeds University

What is reflux?

It is estimated that there are over 10 million adults in the UK who suffer from heartburn (sometimes known as reflux disease or Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)).  If left untreated or poorly controlled, this can cause considerable discomfort and lead to a poor quality of life. In extreme situations, untreated heartburn can cause a host of both gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI complications, including severe complications such as Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma (OA) – known as Oesophageal Cancer. Read more What do pharmacists need to know about heartburn?