Many pharmaceutical libraries have not been regarded as information service centers which are useful for research and development activities in the pharmaceutical industry and research institutes in Japan. Under this situation, such pharmaceutical libraries are unable to offer useful and valuable digital information services. To overcome this long-established custom and make libraries active in this age of the digital library, the most important condition is that librarians must take the leadership and initiative to introduce change in the structure and environments of information services in the pharmaceutical research and business sectors. This author supports the idea of the Frye Leadership Institute, established by the Council on Library and Information Resources and Emory University.
Since most graduates from the school of pharmacy (pharmaceutical department) are engaged in various drug-information related businesses, the techniques of how to obtain, handle, and release information using computers need to be taught as course subjects in university. This article first discusses the necessity of education of information processing for pharmaceutical students, then selects necessary items of information technology to teach, and finally proposes a method for instructing them in the dense schedule of pharmacy courses.
Pfizer has been emphasizing its international information service activities through Global Information Services Team, GIST. GIST was established in 1997 with 15 members including representatives of Information Center, New York headquarters, Information Resources in Central Research, Groton, USA, Information Resources in Central Research, Sandwich, UK, and Information Services departments, Tokyo and Nagoya. One of GIST activities is to make global contracts with many vendors such as ScienceDirect, NewsEdge, Dialog, etc. GIST also has four team activities, such as Shared Learning, External Issues, Copyright and Product Bibliographies. GIST Forum was held in June 1999, and more than 60 people joined this three-day meeting. Japan members have also joined GIST as leadership members, contributing to input Japanese needs in GIST activities.
The Japan Pharmaceutical Association (JPA) supplies many kinds of drug information to pharmacists and the public. Drug counseling to the patients by telephone is included in the drug information service. Recently, consultations about side effects and drug interactions have increased in number drastically. We suppose that the reason for this consists not in the shortage of routine information (e.g., side effects and drug interactions on the package inserts) at the community pharmacies, but in the anxiety under “unsatisfaction” (non-satisfactory state) which is latent in the patients. Consequently, it is important for us (or pharmacies) to consider the concept of unsatisfaction when we (or pharmacists) provide the patients with drug information.
The Japan Poison Information Center (hereinafter referred to as “JPIC”) was established in 1986 and has provided poison information as a 24-hour-a-day service. All staff members are pharmacists trained as information specialists. JPIC received 36, 125 inquiries including 7, 460 inquiries regarding pharmaceutical poisoning cases in 1998. The recent problem of pharmaceutical poisoning is the poisoning cases caused by foreign goods imported individually. Especially, melatonin poisoning is the most frequent case in Japan. Many physicians need information of components and how to treat poisoning cases caused by such foreign goods. Therefore, pharmacists are facing many problems regarding the provision of information for unfamiliar foreign pharmaceuticals. To prevent poisoning and provide poisoning information efficiently, the cooperation of all pharmacists who work in different fields and extensive knowledge of pharmaceuticals is needed.
The Drug Counseling Service Department, ‘Kusuri-Soudan-Shitsu’, provides a lot of information directly to physicians, pharmacists, patients, etc. We receive many questions about our company's products from these sources every day, and make an effort to resolve them as soon as possible. We construct computer-assisted systems about the literature of our products (MINES) and drug information (DI-net). These databases are powerful tools for us. Our misssion is to support medical care professionals and patients in the safe, proper and effective use of our products by providing accurate information.
Seven governments in Asia—China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan—supply their own pharmacopoeias to people. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia has been in recorded history since the sixth century. The Japanese Pharmacopoeia is as influential as the EP or the USP. I explain the Japanese Pharmacopoeia and other Asian pharmacopoeias in this issue.