I would like to explain the vital role of clinical pharmacists in ensuring better medication use. In 1968, Varro Tyler, PhD, a leading professor of pharmacognosy, provided one of the better descriptions of clinical pharmacy. He called it “that division of pharmacy which deals with patient care with particular emphasis on drug therapy.” Dr. Tyler stated: “In practice, it is patient-oriented and includes not only the dispensing of required medications but also advising the patient on the proper use of all medications, both prescribed and patient-selected. It also utilizes the pharmacist as the information source for members of the medical and other health professions on all matters pertaining to drugs and their dosage forms.” While the field of clinical pharmacy has advanced significantly in the past few decades, this definition still holds true.
Medication therapy continues to grow and has become even more complex with immunotherapy and genome-based treatments, requiring more and more specialty knowledge by pharmacists. In regard to this growth, Dr. Tyler identified two critical points in his description. The first is that clinical pharmacy is patient-centric; our practice as pharmacists must emanate from the patient. Secondly, Dr. Tyler states that our role as clinical pharmacists is to be the foremost experts on medication information for all health professions. Evidence-based medication use can only be effective with diligent analysis and interpretation of drug studies and information. As pointed out by Dr. Tyler, clinical pharmacy is ultimately about patient care. The first tenet of medicine is “to do no harm,” and I can assert that we, as clinical pharmacists, are the patient’s best advocate for ensuring this.SUBSCRIBE