Mercury Drug Corporation (MDC) announced the opening this year of more “Get Well at Mercury Drug Diabetes Care”, a diabetes specialty corner boasts of a complete assortment of products for patients with diabetes that is manned by the company’s trained pharmacists.
Aside from offering products such as sugar-free food items, clinical nutrition products and diagnostic devices for use by diabetics, the one-stop shop, with its trained pharmacists, also provides basic patient counseling on diabetes management, and demonstrations on the proper use of devices which customers can avail for free.
A first of its kind to be offered in any Filipino drugstore, the customer care service can now be availed in Glorietta 3 and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) branches of MDC. The number will be expanded when an additional 10 MDC branches in Metro Manila will introduce the services by November 14. Overall, there will be 15 branches where customers can avail of services by the end of the year. The direction is to roll out the project nationwide and by next year, MDC will bring the services to the Visayas and Mindanao.
As to the number of patients with diabetes that availed of counseling about diabetes management, an average of 10 patients were given advice and assistance daily since Get Well at Mercury Drug Diabetes Care were launched last August.
MDC embarked on the Get Well at Mercury Drug Diabetes Care project because as a pharmacy retailer, they want to be at the forefront of pharmacy services. It is the company’s guiding principle to always serve their customers on what they want, where and when they want it. This project came about by the collaboration among Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM), Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and MDC.
According to Dr. Yolanda Robles, PPhA president, they are working with MDC because about 50% of those who go to MDC are diabetics or those with high level of glucose in the blood, getting diabetes medications and other products. That’s not surprising especially in the urbanized areas where there are rising number of patients with diabetes.
Since there are many diabetics who go to MDC, training pharmacists about diabetes management becomes a major concern of the drug company and this is the reason why they approached PPhA which develops diabetes training curriculum, and MSD, a partner who takes diabetes challenges through strategic multi-stakeholder collaborative initiatives to promote awareness, prevention, and control as well as to inspire purposive actions. PSEDM, on the other hand, provides direction by harnessing its expertise on the disease area, giving guidance to MDC for specialized patient offerings in this initiative which include patient education, pneumonia vaccination, equipping them with clinic directory to facilitate referral of undiagnosed patients to experts.
Robles shared the partnership thought of developing a curriculum that combines the strength of doctors and their knowledge as pharmacists so they could come up with a good training program that will enable MDC pharmacists to address the demands of diabetics. When it comes to the disease and other items patients need to know, there is the PSEDM who can provide inputs to understand the disease and their control.
The training of pharmacists is part of the company’s sustainable training plans. The seminar for the project involves 100 pharmacists per session. The skills pharmacists must learn involve two things: In patient counseling, they should know the content to be taught. The content may depends on usage, from doctors and in the curriculum made by pharmacists. Second, the process or how to approach or talk to patients.
Around 200 MDC pharmacists have completed a comprehensive training program, composed of classroom lectures and practical workshops facilitated by expert endocrinologists and pharmacy experts.
Robles, being a pharmacist, claimed their role in this project is to help patients in two different aspects: One is in the glucose blood monitoring where patients must learn to control the high level of blood sugar in order to avoid complications. Pharmacists must help patients in measuring his blood sugar, or pharmacists may do it for them. The other is that patients should know how to monitor the disease while pharmacists must be informed about the symptoms shared by diabetics to reinforce what was monitored by doctors.
“Our role in this activity is to have an inter-professional collaboration which means that being health professionals, we must have the same knowledge about diabetes and its control and as doctors, their role is to diagnose and treat the disease while pharmacists provide advice and reinforcement on what the patients will do and at the same time, provide answers to patients’ inquiries about diabetes,” said Robles.
In the future, pharmacists can also be the key in the screening for complications and making referrals to other members of the diabetes care team. Pharmacists also have the change to do opportunistic screening for risk factors among people not yet diagnosed to have diabetes who are buying medications for their indications.
Meanwhile, MDC has announced activities for the celebration of the World Diabetes Day this November 14. These include free offering of services from HBA1C and random blood sugar text, BP monitoring, diabetes counseling, nutritional counseling, and many more at the following MDC stores: Glorietta 3; Monumento, Kalookan City; Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City; Greenhills Shoppesville, San Juan City; Trinoma Mall M1, Quezon City; Retiro Mayon, Quezon City; Commonwealth Ever Gotesco, Quezon City; Robinson Galleria, Quezon City; BGC Market Market, Taguig City; and Q-Plaza, Cainta, Rizal.