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‘Pharmacists worked more than 18 hours a day in the lockdown, they deserve our gratitude’

The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Apeejay Stya University hosted a webinar on World Pharmacy day

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On the occasion of World Pharmacist Day, The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Apeejay Stya University organized its second international conclave virtually on the theme “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your Health” on September 25

Prof R S Dhankar, Vice chancellor, Apeejay Stya University gave the welcome address. He stated that India has always been a nation with an alternate system of medicine such as naturopathy. It is not only cost effective but also has zero side effects. Thus it often supplements allopathic treatment in contemporary times.

Prof Dhankar added “Wellness must come before cure. It is very important to examine the psychology of the patient. I observed thus during my tenure in Canada as a visiting professor. Listening to music, staying close to nature all these give one faith, patience and a positive mindset which enables the medicines to work effectively in the body.”  He thereby motivated the students to follow a path of general wellness and proper healthcare.

Dr Anupama Diwan, Dean, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Apeejay Stya University kicked off the proceedings with an insightful opening address.  Trust is the basic premise of any relationship and as pharmacists it is essential to build trust with people and patients, said Dr Diwan.  

Dr Diwan pointed out that on certain occasions, pharmacists worked more than 18 hours a day during the lockdown. They even delivered oxygen cylinders and medicines to patients. “We must begin the session with folded hands and a heart full of gratitude and remembrance towards all pharmacists who served people selflessly during the pandemic,” she added.

Dr Amanpreet Kaur, Associate, Cheeky Scientist and Former Senior Research Scientist and CRO Coordinator, Centre for Plant and Life Sciences, Bio Bench CRO, St Louis Community College, USA was the first speaker of the webinar.

Her talk focused on the potential of lipid-based nanocarriers in topical and transdermal drug delivery systems. Dr Kaur discussed the chief differences between small molecules (chemically derived drugs) and large molecules (biologically sourced), the latter being more cost-effective and administered intravenously.

She explained that in topical delivery, one can achieve dose reduction and drug targeting. There is an ease of self-administration, better patient compliance and minimal side-effects. She further stated that it is wiser to improve the efficacy profile of existing drugs as the drug development process takes years. Nanocarrier based drug delivery systems are useful in this regard. “A nanocarrier” Dr Kaur explained, “is a colloidal solution that helps in transferring the drug from the skin to deeper layers. Nanocarriers are more effective since they have entrapment diversity, unique solubilisation capabilities and toxicity moderation.”

Dr. Vivek Kumar Singh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MGH Center for Ultrasound Research and Translation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA delivered a talk on “New Height for Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging and Drug Discovery: Challenges and Opportunities”.

Dr. Singh emphasised that computer-aided diagnostic systems have the potential to decrease the false negatives rate by more than one third. He further elaborated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medical sciences helps in the analysis of specific areas which require further research. In the field of detection, AI often finds a lesion that may not be perceptible to radiologists. He gave the example of a thermoscopic camera that is applied in the case of skin lesion diagnosis.

Dr Singh further told students that in the next 15-20 years, most diagnostic imaging will be done by computers. “So, there will be a great demand for AI jobs in the market. You will see a great rise of jobs in this sector.”

Mr. Iqbal Singh Gill, Staff Pharmacist, Walmart Pharmacy, CA, USA, delivered a talk on the importance of paediatrics vaccine.

Mr. Gill said it is the duty of parents and teachers to make their children aware about vaccinations. He stressed that a pharmacist is also an immuniser. He said “Every institute must have a certificate course for immunisation. In today’s time it is a must for all and crucial for a pharmacist”.

 Ms. Bharti Birla, Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager in International Labour Organization (ILO), UN spoke on “Avenues for Pharmacists in IPR and beyond”

Ms. Birla focused on the role of pharmacists in Intellectual property domain (IPR) and discussed some career opportunities in this field. She told students that every pharmaceutical company requires a symbol and an industrial design for its products. She stated “So many of you can apply as patent agents, examiners and consultants. Some of you may apply as licencing and valuation experts. This is a booming sector.”

 Dr. Sabina Yasmin, Assistant Professor, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia gave a talk on “A Rational Way: Design & Development of PPAR Modulators.” Dr. Yasmin discussed Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors- (PPAR) Modulators and their role in Diabetes. She explained in detail about the design and development of PPAR Modulators by using computational chemistry such as QSAR, Molecular Docking etc.

Dr. Nazima Haider, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia, spoke on “Breast Cancer: Molecular Classification & Role in Prognosis”

Dr. Haider discussed some of the causes of breast cancer with special emphasis on the genes responsible for it. Molecular Classification & Role in Prognosis were also discussed.

“On this day if we do not pay gratitude to all medical and pharmaceutical teams for working extra miles in a pandemic, this day can’t be celebrated. All the budding pharmacists at Apeejay Stya University pay gratitude to all of them across the world. On World Pharmacist Day, today, we pharmacists pledge to continue serving society.

 “A doctor gives life to the patient through medicines. A Pharmacist gives life to medicines through his knowledge and skills”.

I am proud to be a Pharmacist”

Anupama Diwan,
Dean, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Apeejay Stya University

Arijit Roy is a trainee correspondent at Apeejay newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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