AstraZeneca launches iPHARMACY, a program to up-skill pharmacists across India

AstraZeneca India launched their up-skilling program for pharmacists, iPHARMACY, today. In the first phase of this program, they have partnered with Neethi, a Kerala state cooperative consumers federation limited company, to run this program in Kerala. As a next step, the company is planning to collaborate with large pharma-retail chains from across India to expand this program to other parts of the country.

The program will focus on inventory management, good pharmacy practices, customization of pharmacy for patient of future, and management of pharmacy during covid. The content and modules for this program are created by the team of experts from AstraZeneca and their partners, which will equip the pharmacists across India to provide standardized and quality counselling, and support to the people.

Commenting on this initiative, Dr. Anil Kukreja, Vice President- Medical Affairs and Regulatory, AstraZeneca India, said “There is an urgent need to bridge the gaps in existing healthcare infrastructure and ensure that support reaches healthcare stakeholders and patients are empowered to address gaps thereby improving patient’s outcome. Being a patient-centric organization, we promptly identify the challenges in patient-healthcare professional (HCP) connect and swiftly develop tangible solutions with the help of technology. Pharmacists being one of the major pillars of the healthcare system plays a very critical role in enabling patients to understand a disease and medications for that. By understanding that, we have partnered with leading cooperative pharmacy chain in Kerala, Neethi Medical Stores to educate and upgrade the knowledge of pharmacists for better patient outcome. Through this initiative, we are trying to bridge the knowledge gap that exists at the point of care for patients. The curriculum of this program is carefully designed to enable pharmacists to deliver essential support services and standardized counselling for patients.”

AstraZeneca India has chosen Moodle as the learning platform to run this course. The entirety of the course module will take place digitally. The pre-requisite for every participant would be to register themselves, and subsequently a unique credential would be created for every individual to run the course. This e-learning mobile compatible program has four modules which can be completed at ones’ own pace. The program will remain active till end of this year for the pharmacists from Neethi. The course can be completed within this time period, further to which each student will be awarded a completion certificate by European body of CME/CPD Academy. The total number of participants from Neethi at this phase would be around 200.

Commenting on the partnership, M. Salim, MD-Kerala State Co-Operatives Consumers’ Federation LTD. Undertaking by Government of Kerala said, “We are thankful to AstraZeneca for supporting the patient community in Kerala, by up-skilling our pharmacists. The pharmacists are currently redefining their profession and the neighbourhood pharmacist is a gateway to the healthcare system. The up-skilling of pharmacists will bring instant and long-lasting benefits to the healthcare system. Having highly qualified pharmacist to optimise medication therapy management will improve acute care in a healthcare setting. This will also improve patient’s morale and likeliness to follow prescribed treatment. Basically, the value of having up-skilled pharmacist benefits patient care indefinitely.”

Neethi Medical Stores were started by the Consumer’s Federation in Kerala with assistance from the Kerala Government in 1998. It supplies medicine to the population at a price which is less 18 to 40% of the MRP.

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