Clinical Pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy where the Pharmacists provide patient care that optimizes medication therapy and promotes the rational use of drugs. Other postgraduate programmes offered in Kenya include Masters of Pharmacy in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology.
Clinical Pharmacy is more oriented to the analysis of population needs with regards to medicines, ways of administration, patterns of use, and effects of drugs on patients. The postgraduate course in Clinical Pharmacy provides a general understanding of the factors involved in the safe, effective and economic use of medicines for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes in humans. It concentrates on the aspects of importance to pharmacists undertaking clinical duties in hospitals and clinics, so that they are competent to advise on the selection of appropriate dose, form, frequency, duration and method of administration of drugs for individual patients. They are also trained to provide up-to-date data on the pharmaceutical, therapeutic and toxicological properties of drugs and to educate health care professionals to promote safe, effective and appropriate use of drugs. In addition they are trained to participate in the design, methodology and implementation of clinical trials in order to evaluate new drugs or new uses of old drugs and all issues related to the use of drugs. This program emphasizes the transition of the pharmacist’s role from being product-focused to patient-focused.
The incidences of therapeutic failures that are related to drugs are now quite common. They may arise from the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs such as drug-drug interactions and genetic predisposition. There is therefore need for trained Clinical Pharmacists to provide integrated patient care and information on risks and benefits of drug therapy. Currently, there are very few trained clinical pharmacists in Kenya, less than 20, with most of them working in Nairobi. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has encouraged the training of more Clinical Pharmacists. Creating a master’s program in clinical pharmacy address the following issues:
i. The need to produce pharmacists who are experts in detection of medication errors and efficient utilization of drugs
ii. A need for increased clinical services provided by pharmacists in governmental facilities
iii. A need for pharmacists to provide a safe environment in which patients can use medications
iv. The desire for pharmacists to further their education, skills and therefore, the services that they can provide patients and other health care professionals