It was startling to learn recently that although Canada is not yet adequately tracking prescription drug death statistics, an inordinately large percentage of U.S. patients prescribed medications have resulted in fatalities being recorded. In fact, one in five patients on average, according to an article carried in a recent edition of The Hospitalist, an official newsmagazine published by the U.S.-based Society of Hospital Medicine.
With so many new health products now reaching the public through the pharmaceutical marketplace in general, more prescription or over-the-counter medications as well as vitamin and supplement options are available now than have ever been been the case before. It is reasonable to then conclude that medications, particularly those prescribed to the elderly and vulnerable citizens within our region and elsewhere, should be care-fully reviewed to ensure patient safe handling and a prescription’s medical effectiveness by a qualified professional on a regular basis.
The relatively recently held Nakusp Seniors’ Resource Fair highlighted a number of guest speakers, each of whom were experts in their field and concerned with a variety of awareness and public safety factors. Local pharmacist Rob Smallwood, serving as a representative of People’s Pharmacy (Nakusp), was one of them.
He addressed the Fair’s attentive audience, announcing details of a new-to-Nakusp free Medication Review Service sponsored by the British Columbia Pharmacy Association, which is now being offered through the local pharmacy. This service is open to patients who are on five medications taken within the last six months and who wish to increase their personal knowledge and understanding of the medicine they are taking, as well as possible options which might also be available.
“This is an exciting and beneficial service being offered, especially in the case of those experiencing a complex medication regimen,” Smallwood told his audience, adding “bring in all your medicines and supplements, and each will be reviewed privately during a 20-30 minute assessment (by suggested appointment). Each medication will be explained as to what it is intended to do.”
Smallwood urged those planning to take advantage of the new service to make out a list beforehand of all the medications, vitamins and supplements being used or consumed, and any possible problems or challenges which they may be encountering.
“Part of the problem-solving process may include a pharmacist’s getting in touch with one’s doctor to assess whether certain medications and/or other health products may actually be needed,” said Smallwood; dependent of course, upon each patient’s individual circumstances.
For further details and to make an appointment for the free Medication Review Service offered to qualified persons, drop by People’s Pharmacy on Broadway or call 265-2228.