How does the field of pharmacy contribute to advancements in medical research?
Medical research is vital to the healthcare industry and involves using scientific methods to acquire new knowledge about illnesses, diseases and conditions. Professionals who are involved in research are, therefore, crucial in keeping us healthy and helping the healthcare sector move forward.
Without medical research, doctors would not have the latest knowledge, technology or medication to rely on when treating people. This would have a negative impact on public health and keep the industry stuck in the past. Ongoing research into medical conditions has enabled the healthcare sector to progress over time.
Although research like this can be positively impacted by many health niches, pharmacy is one field that stands out. Here is a look at how pharmacy helps propel the advancements we see in medical research.
Direct help with corporate pharmaceutical research
In corporate pharmaceutical settings, researchers focus on the development of new drugs for their company. This position often involves using high-level pharmaceutical knowledge to help with research projects.
When you think about the expert guidance that trained pharmacists can offer when new drugs are being developed, this makes perfect sense. The direct involvement pharmacists have with research in a corporate setting means that pharmacy as a field is vital for ongoing medical breakthroughs.
To drive these advancements in medical research, you must be qualified to work as a pharmacist. If you are interested in moving down this career path, the online PharmD degrees from the University of Findlay are worth considering. Their online distance learning pharmacy degree is accredited by the Council for Pharmacy Education and can be completed in only four years. In addition, it has graduate dual degree options available and fully prepares you to work in any setting in the pharmacy field.
Pharmacists help keep clinical trials safe
For pharmacists who are directly involved in clinical trials involving new medication, one of their main jobs is ensuring the safety of participants. Common tasks include reviewing any medication a trial subject may already be taking, monitoring patients for adverse effects to the trial medication, and helping with participant counseling.
This has a very positive impact not only on the health of those taking part in the trial but also on the ability of clinical trials to attract participants. Without pharmacists looking out for participant safety, trials may not go well and could struggle to attract people over the long term. This could see medical research into areas like new medication grind to a halt, and healthcare would suffer as a result.
Pharmacy and academic research in the medical field
Helping drug companies discover and develop new medications is not the only way the field of pharmacy plays a role in medical research. Qualified pharmacists often take up academic research positions at universities around the country.
In addition to illustrating the sheer depth of roles you can move into post-graduation, working on medical research in an academic setting also shows how closely linked pharmacy is to the latest developments in medicine.
This type of work can see trained pharmacists analyzing previous medical academic papers and studies, setting up research studies into a certain drug or condition, or publishing an academic paper that pushes their own research forward. It may also entail pharmacists in academia establishing research projects to look into concerns such as the side effects of commonly used medications.
Pharmacists can use their experience to aid research studies
Training to become a pharmacist involves plenty of study and sees people graduate with a high-level knowledge of medicine, pharmacological interventions, and how various drugs work with one another. This type of expertise can be very useful in terms of medical research and can lead researchers to call on pharmacists for their advice.
As a result, pharmacists who do not work directly for a pharmaceutical company or university can still have an influence on the latest studies. For example, researchers who are developing a new drug for a specific condition might ask a trained pharmacist for guidance on what properties the new medication needs to be effective. If a new drug is being researched that can be used when signs of depression in elderly people are spotted, those developing it may ask a pharmacist how current anti-depression medication can be improved.
Pharmacy can help with refining existing medications
Although a lot of medical research focuses on developing new drugs to fight various diseases, it also helps with refining current medication. This helps ensure that drugs become more effective and have fewer side effects over time.
Pharmacy can be incredibly useful because professionals in this field can provide feedback on current medication. They spend a lot of time talking to patients about the medications they are taking and have access to valuable data about it. Researchers can use this data to refine current medication and address reported issues.
In addition, pharmacy professionals may have their own thoughts about existing medication and how it can be refined and improved. They may have also performed some pharmacy-based research of their own that could lead to new developments or discoveries. If the medical sector takes these findings on board and uses them to improve patient care, the significant contribution pharmacy makes to the process becomes clear.
Pharmacy plays a key role in the advancement of medical research
When people think of pharmacists, they often imagine the most common tasks associated with this job, such as talking to patients, dispensing medication, and helping develop treatment plans in clinical settings. Research plays just as important of a role in pharmacy and allows the field to drive the healthcare sector forward.
Whether pharmacists work directly on research projects for drug companies, perform academic medical research, or use their expertise to inspire innovations in medicine, healthcare would not be where it is today without their input.
For more information on the process of drug creation, check out the infographic below!
Infographic provided by OmniAb, an antibody discovery platform research organization