The Role of Pharmacists in Clinical Research

Quality healthcare is the combination of numerous services, organizations, and professionals collaborating to provide an optimum care plan for patients. When a patient falls ill, they may visit a doctor who will then run tests; the test results will then need to be analyzed to identify the illness. Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor may prescribe medication to treat the patient. This process, from the initial visit to treatment, involves multiple people working together to provide the best care. This example alone may include an administrative professional to schedule the appointment, a doctor, a phlebotomist to collect a blood sample, a laboratory technician to analyze the sample, and finally a pharmacist to dispense prescription medication to the patient.

What does a pharmacist do?

A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who is trained to prepare, dispense, and store various prescription drugs. They educate patients on the safe use of medications, advise about potential side effects, and answer any questions patients have about their medications. Pharmacists can also administer vaccinations, such as flu shots.

Types of pharmacists

There are various types of pharmacists, each with its own distinct role and responsibilities. These include:

Community pharmacist: Most people encounter community pharmacists in retail locations such as CVS and Walgreens. Their day-to-day activities include dispensing over-the-counter medication, interacting with patients, and educating customers on their prescriptions.

Long-term care pharmacist: LTC Pharmacists work in settings such as nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities. They work directly with these facilities to provide treatment to patients.

Consultant pharmacist: These pharmacists provide guidance to a variety of healthcare providers. Consultant pharmacists provide expert advice on pharmaceutical services, patient safety, and drug therapy management.

Clinical pharmacist: These pharmacists work with physicians and other health professionals to prescribe and administer medications to patients to treat various health conditions. They work in hospital pharmacies and community health centers. Pharmacists in this field often hold different job titles depending on their expertise.

Industry pharmacist: This type of pharmacist focuses more on business-related goals rather than being involved with direct patient care. Industry pharmacists may focus on marketing, sales, or research and development.

What does a research pharmacist do?

Research pharmacists investigate new pharmaceuticals and medications being developed for public use. Their responsibilities may include running clinical tests, preparing drug trials, and assisting with applications for patents and FDA approval.

These types of pharmacists complete a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy or a closely related field before obtaining a doctorate. Their program covers learning how to design clinical tests, work in laboratory settings, as well as learning about the regulations and codes in the pharmaceutical industry.

The importance of pharmacists in clinical research

Pharmacists have cemented their role as valuable partners in clinical research by providing a path for education about clinical trial participation and incorporating clinical trial referrals into their patient care services.

Pharmacists are involved in clinical research in many ways. From providing the management of investigational products and medicines to participating in trial feasibility. Once trials begin, they are responsible for supply ordering, handling, storage, dispensing, and accountability.

Pharmacists are key contributors to bringing new treatments and medications to patients and improving their quality of life. Some use their experience and expertise as a pharmacist to expand their involvement in clinical research by becoming clinical research coordinators or principal investigators.

For a glimpse into a real-life example of a drug coming to market with the help of pharmacists and Headlands Research, please check out the articles below:

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