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?

Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

By Louisa Davies, Senior Clinical Oncology Pharmacist at University College of London Hospital

I love my job! I’ve been a qualified clinical pharmacist for 12 years and am very fortunate to work at the wonderful Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital in London as a specialist oncology pharmacist. I find it immensely rewarding as every day is an opportunity to support someone along their cancer journey.

I have a personal interest in wellness and the growing use of supplements for health and over the past few years I have seen more and more patients adopting an integrative approach to their cancer care. At UCLH we recorded that around 35% of patients we saw in clinic were taking or wanted to start taking supplements to improve their side effects or boost their immunity whilst on anti cancer therapy. Read more Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

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?

Antimicrobial stewardship and the role of community pharmacy

Dr Jacqueline SneddonArticle by Jacqueline Sneddon, Project Lead for SAPG Chief Executive, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

As healthcare professionals, you will be aware that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health issue and an important threat to the future of healthcare. The need to accelerate progress in tackling AMR is well established. European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November, now part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, is an excellent platform for raising professional and public awareness of the problem of AMR and what everyone can do to use antibiotics more wisely. Read more Antimicrobial stewardship and the role of community pharmacy

Pharmacy teams integral to good dementia care


Francesca AaenArticle by Francesca Aaen, Independent Pharmacist Consultant and Pharmacist Prescriber

Ten years on from the launch of the first Dementia Strategy by the Scottish Government, the second refresh of the document has now been published. The focus firmly remains on delivering timely, person-centred and consistent care and support for every person in Scotland living with dementia, from diagnosis to end of life, in any setting. The greater emphasis on primary and community care in this strategy is an opportunity for pharmacists and their teams working in the community and in the GP practice setting, as well as in acute and long-term NHS care,  to contribute to safe and effective care for their patients living with dementia, most of whom will take medication and access pharmacy services on a regular basis. Read more Pharmacy teams integral to good dementia care

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?

Pharmacy’s future is digital

By Sibby Buckle, Chair of the RPS Digital Forum

 

What is the RPS Pharmacy Digital Forum?

It’s where the profession comes together to forge the future.  We are an enthusiastic and committed group of 30+ members who agree that digital literacy across the profession needs urgent attention.

With representation from across the UK, and from all sectors of pharmacy – community, primary care and hospital, PMR suppliers, NHS Digital, DH, PSNC, PRSB, and NHS Improvement –  there is a real appetite to create the change needed to enable pharmacy to be truly integrated into the NHS and healthcare. Read more Pharmacy’s future is digital

Strengthening Pharmacy in Scotland

Rose Marie ParrArticle by Rose Marie Parr, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Scottish Government

On 21 August 2017, I launched the new pharmacy strategy for Scotland: Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care which sets out the priorities, commitments and actions for improving and integrating pharmacy services in Scotland.

During the launch I had the pleasure of visiting both a community pharmacy and a GP practice in Port Glasgow to meet health and social care practitioners to talk about the way pharmacy services are adapting and enhancing care in the NHS. Read more Strengthening Pharmacy in Scotland

My week at RPS

Roshnee Patel, MPharms Student at King’s College London

What’s happening behind the scenes? As a pharmacy student it is very difficult to understand and know what is being done for us outside the four walls of our university. My week at RPS demonstrated to me how much support there is available after we graduate but also during our studies. Fortunately, I was able to spend some time within the marketing team and I got to see it all.

From just about knowing how to use Google calendar to now being able to structure, format and schedule social media posts, my time at RPS has enabled me to develop a wide range of my skill sets. In the RPS, opportunities are always knocking on your door. I was given the opportunity to write an email to students in Birmingham. Having had no previous experience in writing emails to such a large number of recipients, I was taught the do’s and don’ts and how to template my email. Within the marketing team, I also got to witness the amount of hard work which goes into planning and preparing for anything to be sent out to the public and making sure that whatever is being sent out is for the correct audience with the most useful information. Before anything is sent to the public it is prepared and checked way in advance. The FIP World Congress next year is being held in Glasgow and is being hosted by the RPS. Even though the event is over a year away, a tremendous amount of work is currently being done to make sure the event is the best. Having also got the chance to sit in on a meeting, I saw how the RPS have and are still developing programmes to help pharmacy students from their first day till their last and beyond that as well. When we’ve just finished our pre-reg year or we’re over 10 years into our career it is comforting to know that the RPS will be there to support and guide us if we need them. It was also great to see how the RPS are always highlighting the importance of pharmacists in the community and are continuously changing themselves to make our journeys easier.

Read more My week at RPS