LAHORE: A large number of pharmacists including representatives of academia, hospitals and industry, besides drug inspectors, regulators, consultants, lawyers and students gathered in the Punjab University’s College of Pharmacy to celebrate the World Pharmacists Day on Sunday. Pharmacists on the occasion were carrying placards inscribed with different slogans in favour of their profession as well as their demands. The celebrations started with recitation of the Holy Quran by Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum President Noor Mahar, which was followed by a cake cutting ceremony involving PU College of Pharmacy Dean Prof Dr Khalid Hussain and Principal Prof Dr Nadeem Irfan Bokhari. On the eve of World Pharmacists Day celebrations, Noor Mahar said that pharmacists play a vital role in the healthcare system by providing the patients with appropriate medicine and information. While responsibilities vary among different areas of pharmaceutical practice, the bottom line is that pharmacists help patients get well, he added. He said pharmacists educate consumers and patients on the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, and advice physicians, nurses, and other health professionals on drug decisions. “Pharmacists would develop 10,000 manufacturing units of over-the-counter medicines in 2017,” he informed. Mahar indicated that 6,000 posts for pharmacists were lying vacant in Punjab, adding that one pharmacist for 50 beds was need of the hour to improve the healthcare system. He also highlighted the need of clinical pharmacy and declared 2017 as the year of pharmacists. Pakistan Pharmaceutical Consortium President Muhammad Usman said that it was very important for pharmacists to work in hospitals and on community pharmacies. “Clinical pharmacy is also needed, but we may not always look at the governments for solutions. The government is having meager resources and trying to provide best out of scarce resources. Pharmacists may concentrate on establishing small pharmaceutical businesses, which may start from one room manufacturing facilities. It will result in elimination of spurious, counterfeit, adulterated, misbranded and substandard drug from Pakistan,” he opined. College of Pharmacy Dean Dr Khalid Hussain said that pharmacists provide expertise about the composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties and their manufacture and use, adding that they ensure drug purity and strength and make sure that drugs do not interact in a harmful way. He said that the principal goal of a pharmacist care is to achieve positive outcomes from the use of medication that improves patients’ quality of life with minimum risk. Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association Joint Secretary Dr Hina Shaukat urged all pharmacists to start establishing manufacturing units. She also urged the prime minister to immediately provide all pharmacists with a loan of Rs 2 million, besides evolving a national policy for pharmacists to start pharmaceutical units with removal of all impediments. Later, all pharmacists visited different hospitals of the city and later gathered in front of Lahore Press Club to conclude the celebrations.