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Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress Opens in Melbourne

Collaboration within pharmaceutical sciences and with pharmacists is crucial, says FIP president
•    Scientists and pharmacists must work together for the benefits of patients
•    Pharmaceutical research is now based on strong collaboration
•    Fundamental reform of education needed

Melbourne, 13 April: Pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists around the world were called on to collaborate in order to better respond to the diverse needs of their citizens by FIP president Michel Buchmann.

 
Speaking at the PSWC opening ceremony, Dr Buchmann said that by working cooperatively, science can develop better needs-based medicines, and practitioners can ensure their optimal use.

“Medicine is of value, not only when it is shown to be effective in clinical trials but, more importantly, when it is effective in practice,” he said.

“The survival of the pharmaceutical profession relies on the growth of dynamic relationships between scientists and practitioners, with scientists supporting the profession and the practitioners informing the scientists on patients’ and societal needs and thus serving the best interest of patients and society”. Dr Buchmann told congress participants that scientists cannot lose sight of the human aspects, of patient beliefs and values in the use of medicines and similarly, practitioners must understand the science behind the medicine, to then translate the mechanisms and precautions to be undertaken to the patients.

“Achieving productive collaboration will take time and effort. The undergraduate and postgraduate curricula will need to be transformed, reformulating the role of scientists and educators, and increasing the application of the role of the clinical pharmacist in diverse settings. Education is only possible with the support of scientists; scientists who can see the value, not only of their research, but of being able to educate others on the intricacies and use of their research outcomes,” he explained.

Not only is collaboration essential between the two groups, but it is also crucial within research itself. “In today’s world, it takes multidisciplinary teams of researchers, to progress step by step, from discovery to the production of a desired therapeutic agent,” said Dr Buchmann.

Other high level speakers during the opening included Craig Ondarchie, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of the Government of Victoria, who highlighted that in the 15 years to 2015, the state government will have invested over AUS$1.8bn in driving the development of Victoria as a world-leading centre for life sciences. Innovative technology needs to be targeted to improve health care and building global bridges between academic research and corporate sectors is necessary, Mr Ondarchie said.

Dr Brendan Shaw, Chief Executive of Medicines Australia, praised the international audience of pharmaceutical scientists for the great work that has been achieved, and called for more partnerships between industry, government and the scientific community, in Australia and abroad.

In his opening lecture Nobel laureate Peter Doherty said that there is a high possibility of developing vaccines for many pandemics but the underlying question is who will pay for it. He also voiced concern over current Alzheimer’s disease strategies and treatment development, particularly the outcomes so far.

Professor and dean of the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical science at Monash University William Charman congratulated the chairman of PSWC Dr Ross McKinnon and the other members of the programme committee for the quality of the congress. He concluded the ceremony with a pledge for innovation and a strong encouragement to all delegates to connect and network, making PSWC a true “innovation” factory.