Mr. Roman Rosales and Ms. Isabelle Teo, Co-Chairpersons, Singapore Pharmacy Week 2021 Organising Committee,
Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore,
Ms. Yong Pei Chean, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore,
Distinguished speakers, Ladies and gentlemen
1. A very good morning to all. I am delighted to join you today at the Singapore Pharmacy Week 2021 organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore (PSS).
2. This is the second time that the annual Pharmacy Week carnival has gone virtual. I am heartened to learn that the inaugural virtual Pharmacy Week carnival held last year won the International Pharmaceutical Federation 2021 Health Promotion Campaign Award. My heartfelt congratulations to the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore for their innovative approach to educate and empower the public to improve their health.
3. As trusted healthcare professionals, pharmacists provide expert advice on disease prevention, and the safe and effective use of medications. This year’s Pharmacy Week theme of ‘Partnering You In Your Health Journey’ highlights the importance of partnership between pharmacists and patients of all ages and in various care settings, to achieve the desired health outcomes.
4. Community pharmacists, being most accessible to the public, serve multiple roles in partnering the public in their health journey. The public can walk into a pharmacy to receive advice on health-related queries such as nutritional needs, vaccination, and preventive health. This includes the Start To S.T.O.P. Programme championed by our community pharmacists, which helps patients to quit smoking through personalised counselling sessions by a dedicated pharmacist. The public can also walk into the community pharmacy and seek treatment for minor ailments such as skin rashes, fungal infections of the skin, gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, dry eyes, conjunctivitis and others. Additionally, our community pharmacies are now touchpoints for the public to reorder and pick-up subsidised medication from public health systems and hundreds of patients have benefitted from this new service.
5. Beyond the physical pharmacy, both community and hospital pharmacists have moved into the care centres as well as patients’ home to partner older patients, their caregivers and the healthcare team for better chronic disease management. Pharmacists play an important role in advocating appropriate drug use and proper storage in the home environment, reducing wastage and improving patients’ overall medication adherence.
6. Patients in nursing homes and community hospitals across the island have also benefitted from pharmacists’ efforts in cutting out unnecessary medications and simplifying dosing regimens. Besides reviewing the residents’ medications, pharmacists also promote good medication management practices together with other healthcare professionals within intermediate and long-term care institutions.
7. The COVID-19 pandemic has not dampened the pharmacists care for patients. In fact, pharmacists have embraced telehealth platforms to provide clinical services such as anticoagulation therapy monitoring, for patients who have suffered a stroke or myocardial infarction. In doing so, pharmacists continue to partner their patients in keeping their health and medical conditions in check during this challenging time.
8. Pharmacists have also been actively involved in patient counselling and educational campaigns to improve patients’ health literacy. Through the efforts of the PSS National Medication Information Workgroup, the public can now access these easy-to-understand and reliable drug information in a localised context for free, anytime, anywhere via HealthHub. Health-related information such COVID-19 myth busters and hand hygiene posters can also be found on the PSS website.
9. Behind the scenes, pharmacists in the Health Sciences Authority (the HSA) and pharmaceutical companies ensure that medications registered in Singapore are of good quality, safety and efficacy. There are also informatics pharmacists, who manage medication-related data, ensuring that the data flows to healthcare providers and patients quickly and accurately. There are also those who have taken on roles such as educators, researchers and entrepreneurs, to contribute to better patient care.
10. These are just some of the many roles pharmacists play and their important contributions to our healthcare system. This event is an opportunity for our pharmacists to share their expertise and provide useful information for managing various conditions.
11. I am also pleased to learn that this is the first year PSS has partnered with the People’s Association during Pharmacy Week, to conduct a large-scale virtual brown-bagging campaign with free pharmacist consultations for PAssion Card members. I am sure that this will be very much welcome for Passion card members. For those who prefer face-to-face consultations, those are available until 31 October at participating retail pharmacies across Singapore. I believe that the public would gain better understanding about their medications and health from these efforts.
12. In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organising committee for this meaningful event. I would also like to wish all our pharmacists a Happy World Pharmacists’ Day. Thank you for partnering Singaporeans in their health journey.
13. I wish everyone an informative and fruitful morning. Thank you very much.