DESPITE the progress of drug development, the pharmacy profession should have the flexibility to uphold the major roles of pharmacists outside the drug world, a visiting Malaysian professor said during the 2nd Pharmaceutical Research Congress spearheaded by both the UST Faculty of Pharmacy and College of Science.

“Pharmacists have to move forward and change their paradigm in order to survive the brutal world of the healthcare profession,” said Dr. Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman, dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Universiti Sains Malaysia in his paper, “PRISM for Internationalization of Postgraduate Students: A Way to Improve Collaboration and Professionalism in Pharmacy Between Countries in the World,” last December 4 and 5 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.

According to Sulaiman, the pharmacy profession has to move forward to create better drugs and become a role model among healthcare professionals. This is the aim of PRISM.

“PRISM aims to have collaboration with other universities around the world to create and develop ways to heighten the academic prowess of pharmacists so that they can be prepared to enter a new paradigm of drug development,” Sulaiman said.

Attended by pharmacists and students, the congress discussed the situation of the pharmacy profession, new drug products, and therapeutic and non-therapeutic ingredients that would improve the effectiveness of medicinal drugs. The theme of the congress was “Creativity in products, innovations in process, novelty in peace.”

Assoc. Prof. Tomasa Ochoa, secretariat of the event, said that the congress served to update pharmacists on new trends in the field.

“Discoveries through research are not made clear to other professionals seeking developments in the pharmacy profession,” Ochoa told the Varsitarian in a phone interview. “Through public forums and conferences, the advances in the pharmaceutical profession can be well-disseminated.”

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Other researchers who presented their findings were Dr. Norman Shankland, director of CrystallografX Limited in Glasgow, United Kingdom, who talked about the polymorphism of carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant agent; and UST’s Dr. Mafel C. Ysrael, who presented her paper on a tonkin product, an ointment that effectively treats skin ailments and skin damage brought about by cuts and blisters due to burns.

Experts from the pharmaceutical industry attended the congress, notably Prof. Liaquat Ali, coordinator of Biomedical Research of the Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine, and Metabolic Disorders in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Pharmacy Dean Priscilla Torres said UST and Universiti Sains Malaysia have established a linkage following an agreement last July. The universities agreed to promote regular exchanges of students and faculty members, and to collaborate in research.

Torres said this is only the first tie-up with a foreign university and that she hopes to establish linkages with a pharmaceutical university in California and with Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. With reports from Francis James B. Gatdula

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