Healthguard supports NMRA’s efforts to promote safe dispensing of medicine among local pharmacies



Launches ‘Healthguard Cares’ to lead a strong voice in advocating robust pharmacy practice guidelines

Sri Lanka’s leading Health and Beauty retail chain, Healthguard—a subsidiary of Sunshine Healthcare Lanka Limited—announced its unequivocal support for the National Medicines Regulatory Authority’s (NMRA) ongoing efforts to strengthen safe medication dispensing measures among Sri Lankan pharmacies.

While continuing their existing best practices of maintaining higher quality assurance, Healthguard is set to embark on several initiatives to further promote safe dispensing of medicine, adhering to the recommendations proposed by NMRA in its ‘Guidelines on Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP)’ document.

As part of this endeavour, Healthguard is launching ‘Healthguard Cares’, a unique initiative to support the NMRA efforts in transforming local pharmacies from a product-centric approach to a patient-centric approach with pharmaceutical care as the ultimate goal. The retail chain aims to build awareness and transfer knowledge to customers on vital aspects like the importance of producing a prescription at the counter at all times, the importance of compliance as well as the significance of safe prescribing of medication and its impact and importance of technology for better traceability and drug information. Throughout October, Healthguard is planning to raise customer awareness on above topics through their social media platforms as well as in-store communications.

Under the same initiative, Healthguard, with the help of NMRA, will take further steps to raise the standards of safe prescribing among its pharmacists through continuous training and education. This will help them to play a professional role to assess prescriptions, advise patients on the appropriate use of prescribed medicines and perform the role of a healthcare provider and a counsellor. Adding to that, Healthguard aims to elevate the role of a pharmacist to a ‘responsible pharmacist’ as well. With that, the pharmacists will be responsible for all the professional activities and operations within the premises and at the same time, assist the management to formulate policies to maintain exceptional quality and service standards.

Speaking about ‘Healthguard Cares’, Amith Perera, Chief Food and Drugs Inspector of NMRA said, “Over the years, we have taken stringent measures to lower the rate of dispensing errors in Sri Lanka. However, further improvements in medication dispensing are still important because pharmacies dispense such high volumes of medications that even a low error rate can translate into a large number of errors. From the perspective of a pharmacy organization and quality assurance, pharmacists should intensify their checking of prescriptions to reduce prescription errors.”

“It is great to see a leading retail chain like Healthguard is taking steps to implement strategies to communicate adequately with patients and increase awareness about safe dispensing, compliance related to prescription management and why it is necessary to have a prescription with them when purchasing medication, to prevent administration errors. The company has taken commendable measures to train their in-house pharmacists as well to uplift them as skilled healthcare providers as they play a crucial role in advising patients on appropriate selection and use of medicines. Healthguard’s latest initiative reflects the organization’s commitment toward implementing NMRA’s GPP guidelines to achieve standards in safe dispensing,” Perera commented further.

“Pharmacists use their broad knowledge and specific expertise to ensure that people get the best out of their medicines. At Healthguard, our pharma-experts undergo extensive training to ensure safe dispensing of medication for all customers, improve adherence to safety guidelines, coordinate care transitions, and so much more. Today, more than ever, pharmacists are charged with the responsibility to ensure that when a patient uses a medicine, it will not cause them any harm. Through ‘Healthguard Cares’, we look forward to further driving NMRA’s and our efforts in educating both our consumers and staff on the importance of prescription management and build a lively conversation around it” said Healthguard Chief Executive Officer, Infiyaz Ali.

Healthguard Pharmacy is a fully-owned subsidiary of Sunshine Healthcare Lanka (SHL) – the healthcare arm of the diversified Sunshine Holdings conglomerate – with a network of 23 outlets across the Western Province of Sri Lanka.  Healthguard entered the market desirous of creating a differentiated offering and retailing experience to the consumer and has introduced an innovative retail concept centred on exceptional shopper experience. Through this, Healthguard has gained a market leadership position with a loyal consumer base.

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