Behind the Scenes, Role Of Pharmacists In Clinical Research
Pharmacists around the world are playing immense roles in the growth of Clinical Research. Some does contribute as a part of their profession and a few are passionate about their behind the scenes role.
Such passionate pharmacist is Michelle Foust ; she doesn’t dispense pills at the corner pharmacy but she distributes them worldwide. Foust is the director of new product development at Almac Group, a multinational company that packages and distributes experimental drugs for clinical trials.
Behind the scenes, Foust and other pharmacists help coordinate the research and development process that brings new medication from the laboratory to the road corner pharmacy.
Foust in her career is most of pharmacists fill in a research setting instead of in the much more familiar retail setting. Although pharmacists who pursue research careers are still a minority, their ranks are expanding quickly within the pharmaceutical industry and the multitude of organizations developing and testing novel compounds.
Opportunities are Abound
Pharmacists occupy a variety of roles within Clinical Research Organizations and Labs; some designing phase I trials, others occupying executive-level management positions. Still other pharmacists work as clinical research associates in late-phase clinical trials, traveling to investigator sites to oversee compliance with research protocols and investigating adverse drug events and safety concerns.
Some pharmacists and their companies give presentations at pharmacy schools to raise awareness of the growing career opportunities for pharmacists in clinical research. Often clinical research officers or project managers typically write protocols, choose investigators and study sites. They also monitor clinical trials, collect and analyze trial data, report adverse events, and write and publish clinical-study reports. Within the clinical research enterprise, pharmacists often move into leadership positions in drug-development studies. But because the work is behind the scenes, few pharmacists hear about these job opportunities.
In addition, a number of pharmacists are working as consultants to biotechnology or small pharmaceutical companies that have a promising compound and are trying to design the first clinical protocol to test the compound’s safety in human subjects.
Bridging the gap in drug information
Individuals trained in the field of pharmacy are in the exact position to bridge the gap between the pool of gnomic informations becoming available and the goal of personalized medications.
On taking a look at the pharmagnetic information there is a tremendous need for clinical pharmacologists, and the only group that will be able to fill that gap is pharmacists. Pharmacy has to meet that challenge. They have to be better trained in general science in order to do the pharmagenetics that is out there.
Douglas Figg, a pharmacist points out that his laboratory recently completed a study using a DNA chip that can rapidly profile 1243 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 163 genes involved in drug metabolism and transport using a single DNA sample. This vast amount of data is soon going to be available on each patient who would interpret and modify therapies based on this information?
In words of Figg, it won’t be physicians. Fewer than a dozen physicians train to become clinical pharmacologists each year. However, pharmacists are perfectly poised to bridge the knowledge gap between laboratory data, and opportunities for them in clinical practice are only going to expand.
The profession of pharmacy has a lot to offer!
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