Sunday, 6 March 2011

Time to stand up and be counted

In view of the events of the last weeks, and also various other occasions in the past, it is my opinion that we, as professional pharmacists, have arrived to a cross-roads. Whether we hail from community or hospital settings, industry, medical detailing, academia, or in many cases, a mixture of a number of these fields of specialization, it is time that we put aside our differences and provide a common front to the serious allegations being levelled at our profession.

Our integrity has been called into question, unfortunately by members of a related healthcare field. Such issues cannot go answered, as not only a comprehensive denial is required but also a public statement of affairs and unified and official representations both to  the source of the allegations and also to the general population. Anything less will be construed as acceptance of the matters alleged as fact. What is all  the more worrying is that public opinion is well against us, as a cursory glance at web-blogs to the various newspapers reveal. This leaves us open to attack from all sides of the political spectrum, and this can be ill-afforded, especially in view of the upcoming renegotiation of our partial integration into the primary healthcare system.

Whether we come together now,  in the face of adversity, will define our own future and also that of pharmacists in the making. We can either shape our own destiny and finally position ourselves as respected and equal partners with other healthcare professionals within the private and primary healthcare systems, or we can go on doing a very good job of self-destructing by means of continual bickering and internal warring.

I, for one, have erred in the past by putting personal ideology before that beneficial to the general good. Many of us, in efforts to get the ball rolling, have formed or associated with various entities. The time has come for all of us to re-evaluate our positions and find common ground, whether under one existing entity, or as a grouping of various associations. Easier said than done, but it is the only way to ensure the survival of our profession as an independent one, and answerable only directly to the competent authorities. It is both our professional, and also moral obligation, to ensure fair and equitable representation for all pharmacists within the society which we humbly serve.

In  concluding, I would like to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, who at a crucial moment in the American Revolution stated very accurately : ‘ We must hang together, (gentlemen)…..else  we shall most assuredly hang separately’.

John Vella

March 2010

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