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CPH hosts first-ever conference on medication sector in Qatar | Qatar University

CPH hosts first-ever conference on medication sector in Qatar

From left to right - Dr Mohamad Diab, Dr Hassan Al Derham, and Dr Egon Toft

Discussed the process of ensuring access to medicine pre- and post-blockade

CPH hosted the first-ever conference on “Medication Sector in Qatar: Hand in Hand Facing the Blockade” on March 9-10, aimed to provide an in-depth understanding of the unjust blockade’s impact on medication security in Qatar and to identify the various opportunities and challenges of achieving an independent medicinal identity in Qatar.

The 2-day conference serves as a platform to discuss the impact of the blockade on the right to health under the international law, to understand the process of ensuring access to medicine in Qatar pre- and post-blockade, to suggest therapeutic alternatives for unavailable and/or available medications, to explore issues facing the pharmaceutical industry in Qatar and the country’s current emergency preparedness plan and risk management for health including human resources and medication supply, and to describe curriculum development plans for capacity building at CPH and the persistent demand for certified continuous professional development programs.

The event brought together over 150 experts from QU, Ebn Sina, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Qatar Pharma, Qatar Pharmaceutical Industry, and Qlife. They shared their expertise and experience to address the need of building and preserving medication security in Qatar.

Attending the opening ceremony were QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, QU Vice President for Medical and Health Sciences and College of Medicine (CMED) Dean Dr Egon Toft, CPH Dean and Chairperson of the Conference Advisory Committee Dr Mohamad Diab, HMC Deputy Chief Medical Officer and QU Health Director of Clinical Affairs Dr Abdullatif Al-Khal, Director of Research and Graduate Studies, Medical and Health Sciences Office Dr Feras Alali, CPH Associate Professor and Head of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice Section and Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee Dr Maguy El Hajj, CPH Associate Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences Section and Chair of the Conference Scientific Committee Dr Fatima Mraiche, and HMC Consultant Dr Jassim Fakhro, as well as members of QU leadership, faculty, students and staff.

The first day featured a keynote speech by Dr Abdullatif Al-Khal on “Hand in Hand in Facing the Blockade: Impact of the blockade on Access to Medicines”. Dr Al-Khal highlighted the economic sanctions and their impact, the National Health Strategy, the consumption of medications at the national level, the national formulary, the governance structure of medications management, the role of pharmacy and therapeutics committees, and the negative impact of the blockade on health care and pharmaceuticals.

It also included a panel discussion titled “Regulatory, Drug Supply, Academia and Pharmaceutical Industry: Working Together Facing the Blockade” moderated by Dr Jassim Fakhro.

The second day featured many discussions focused on three main themes: “Medication Management and Accessibility to Medication in Qatar”, “Building Pharmaceutical Industry and Innovation in Qatar”, and “Building Human Capacity in Qatar”. It also included two panel discussions titled “Building Pharmaceutical Industry and Innovation: Current Challenges and Future Directions” and “Medication Security for Qatar” moderated by Dr Feras Alali, as well as a workshop on “Qatar Generic Medicines Policy” delivered by Dr Mohamed Azmi Hassali, Professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Also on the program were numerous oral presentations presented by speakers from QU, HMC, Ministry of Public Health, Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioner, Qlife, Qatar Pharma, and Universiti Sains Malaysia. Main discussed topics include “The Right to Health Under International Law”, “Ensuring Access to Medicine in Qatar”, “Pharmaceutical Industry in Qatar”, “Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, and Local Production to Increase Access to Medicines”, “Addressing and Sustaining Human Capital Development for Health through Professional Development in Qatar”, “Addressing Human Capacity Building for Health from Academia’s Perspective”, and many more.

In his remarks, Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “We are pleased to host the first-ever conference on the "Medication Sector in Qatar: Hand in Hand Facing the Blockade" organized by the College of Pharmacy at Qatar University. The conference is an important initiative that shows the pivotal role played by the college to unite the efforts of the various sectors and to raise awareness on the ways that are adopted by the health care sector to face the blockade.”

He added: “The health care sector is an essential pillar to build the society. In this regard, the State of Qatar strives to provide its people with the best level of health care and health services. There is no doubt that the sudden and unjust blockade imposed on the State of Qatar violates all international legislations with regard the patient’s right to access to health care and treatment. This illegal blockade was intended to have an impact on normal life, but Qatar has succeeded to overcome the challenges transforming them into opportunities that contribute to building capacities and to sustainable development. Additionally, the blockade has been a turning point to search for substitutes to reduce its negative impact. In this context, Qatar worked tirelessly to support future plans and the goals of the national vision 2030. These plans cover all the country’s sectors in general and the health sector in particular as Qatar places the health care sector on top of its priorities.”

Dr Mohamad Dib said: “The unjust blockade is a decisive moment in Qatar’s history and a challenge that puts every institution and every individual in front of a huge responsibility. This conference aligns with Qatar University’s comprehensive plan and the College of Pharmacy’s role as the first and only college of pharmacy in Qatar. It is also a translation of the speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in which he said: "We require diligence, creativity, independent thinking, constructive initiatives and interest in academic achievement in all disciplines, self-reliance and fighting indolence and dependency". The conference serves as a significant platform to bring together many stakeholders and experts from academic, industrial, governmental and pharmaceutical sectors in Qatar to share their expertise and experience to address the need of building and preserving medication security in Qatar. The conference has been accredited by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.”

Dr Abdullatif Al-Khal said: “The negative impact of the blockade imposed on Qatar by its neighbors went beyond political, economic and social dimensions to adversely affect health care including our access to medications. The impact is bilaterally damaging and is not limited to Qatar. Extra efforts and resources went into dealing with the consequences of the blockade for the procurement of drugs to ensure adequate stockpiles and to maintain pipeline of pharmaceuticals. We proved to be capable and resilient in dealing with the blockade. We must make use of the lessons learned from the current situation in planning our pharmaceuticals strategies.”