RPS Pharma Scene

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Our regular podcast takes a fresh, informed - and sometimes irreverent! - look at the Pharma Scene. 

Reflecting the diversity of pharmacy, we speak to new guests every fortnight: from industry experts to government leaders to stand-up comics - and everyone in-between!

Want to get involved? Or just let us know what you think?

Email [email protected] or use the hashtag #RPSPharmaScene on social media.

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RPS Pharma Scene #21 - Breaking down language barriers in Pharmacy

With Ghalib Khan of Written Medicine

In episode 21 of our RPS Pharma Scene podcast, Ghalib Khan tells us about his innovative pharmacy software, Written Medicine, which helps to break down language barriers between pharmacists and patients. 

Ghalib set up Written Medicine because he believes it is crucial to improve the quality of the information provided to patients from ethnic minorities whose second language is English.

He speaks to Parastou Donyai, RPS Chief Scientist, of his own struggles to be understood and how this inspired him to create and promote the software.

If you are concerned that your patients struggle to understand how to correctly use and make the most of their medicines, then listen to Ghalib's story!

About Ghalib

Ghalib Khan founded Written Medicine, which enables healthcare professionals to provide personalised medication information in patients' preferred format and language.

Ghalib grew up surrounded by communication barriers, both in the pharmacies he worked in and at home. His grandmother was deaf/mute from birth, his mother speaks English with limited ability, his eldest son has Down Syndrome and severe hearing loss, and Ghalib himself has dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Growing up in an ethnically diverse area of London, Ghalib met a diverse array of patients from different socio-economic backgrounds, and with unique communication needs and cultural backgrounds. It was home to one of the largest socio-economic, health and life expectancy divides in the UK, and these intersectional experiences led directly to his idea to create a digital evidence-based information accessibility tool.

Written Medicine began in 2012, and has been funded by NHSx & supported by Bradford CCG. It is used in four NHS Trusts and in community pharmacies around London.

Ghalib is a Fellow of the NHS Innovation Accelerator, and provides support for parents with children with Down Syndrome to access benefits from DWP, housing, and help filling out DWP forms for those with language barriers.

RPS Pharma Scene #20 - Christmas Past, with the Aural Apothecary

It's Christmas, so we've invited our friends from the Aural Apothecary podcast to join us - hurrah!

Together with host Catherine Walker from the RPS Pharmacy Museum, and RPS Chief Scientist Professor Parastou Donyai, they take a fun and festive look at some questionable pharmacy ads for products that probably wouldn't make it past advertising standards today.

From soaps shaped like long-lost TV icon "Mr Turnip" to crazy party packs, relax and re-live the "good old days" of Christmas pharmacy gifts.

See all these "classic" 1950s ads below...

About the Aural Apothecary

Jamie, Gimmo, and Steve the Chemist have been offering their authentic yet light-hearted take on the world of medicines, pharmacy and healthcare since February 2021. 

If anyone can provide us with some big laughs about pharmacy, it's this comic trio!

About Professor Parastou Donyai

Professor Parastou Donyai, BPharm (Hons), BSc (Hons) Psych (Open), PhD, PGCertEBM, PGCertPsychTher, PGCertTLHE, PGDPRM (Open), MRPharmS, FHEA, MBPsS, is Chief Scientist for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

As well as being a pharmacist, Parastou has formally trained in psychological theory and research methods. Parastou divides her time between the RPS and King’s College London as Head of Pharmacy and Professor of Behavioural Pharmacy, having previously worked at Reading School of Pharmacy as Professor of Social and Cognitive Pharmacy for 14 years.

The "classic" 1950s Christmas ads discussed...

  • 1 The Vacco Tea Flask
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    ad for Vacco Tea Flask
  • 2 Suba Seal Lavender Hot Water Bottle
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    ad for Suba Seal Lavender Hot Water Bottle
  • 3 The Spa Major Nail Brush
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    ad for the Spa Major Nail Brush
  • 4 Dunlop Children's Hot Water bottle
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    Dunlop Children's Hot Water bottle
  • 5 Mr Turnip Soap
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    ad for Mr Turnip Soap
  • 6 Toni Curlers
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    ad for Toni Curlers
  • 7 Brylcreem
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    ad for Brylcreem
  • 8 Four Seasons Party Pack
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    ad for Four Seasons Party Pack
  • 9 Aspro
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    ad for Aspro

RPS Pharma Scene #19 - The future of pharmacy?

With Santosh Sahu, CEO of Charac

In episode 19 of our RPS Pharma Scene podcast, Stephen Goundrey-Smith of the RPS Digital Pharmacy Expert Advisory Committee talks to Santosh Sahu, CEO of Charac, about the role of digital pharmacies in UK healthcare, both today and in the future.

Santosh set up Charac because he believes primary care in the UK is struggling to meet demand, and he wants Charac to bridge growing health inequalities, especially within the UK's most deprived communities.

Stephen and Santosh are both involved in pharmacy's adoption of new technologies and operating models, so this is a fascinating listen for anyone interested in digital pharmacy.

Santosh Sahu

About Santosh

Santosh Sahu is the CEO and founder of Charac, the pharmacy app helping independent pharmacies digitise their services.

Santosh brings entrepreneurial and visionary leadership to his position, with a proven track record of developing and executing digital strategies that transform the businesses and create value for shareholders and employees while having a considerable impact on society.

He is an MBA qualified executive and board member, with over 20 years of experience in banking (credit card processing) and retail, and for the last six years has been working in the "last-mile" delivery logistics markets to solve strategic and tactical business problems using digital processes and technology.

Stephen Goundrey-SmithAbout Stephen

Stephen Goundrey-Smith is an experienced and versatile pharmacist and pharmacy informatics specialist. He has an extensive knowledge of systems that handle medicines and pharmacy information across the NHS, in both primary and secondary care, and the pharmaceutical industry.

As well as working with pharmacy IT in a pharmacy practice context, he has been a system designer in the IT industry and has worked at national level to influence health IT policy for the pharmacy profession. Stephen is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Digital Pharmacy Expert Advisory Committee. He has also been pharmacy clinical lead in the development of record standards for pharmacy by the Professional Records Standards Body.

He is an active member of the Faculty of Clinical informatics, promoting education and development in clinical informatics and is the author of two publications on pharmacy informatics, Principles of Electronic Prescribing and IT in Pharmacy: An Integrated Approach. He has also been a keynote speaker at several international conferences. 

Listen again

Did you miss an episode? Don't worry, every RPS Pharma Scene is available to listen again below.

  • Episode 18 - A career with a difference!
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    In episode 18 of our RPS Pharma Scene podcast, Ciara speaks to pharmacist Jamie Wilkinson about having a career with a difference!


  • Episode 17 - Pharmacy and Psychology
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    In episode 17 of our RPS Pharma Scene podcast, Professor Parastou Donyai discusses how her twin disciplines of psychology and pharmacy make an excellent team, and why she thinks there should be more use made of both.

    Parastou talks to host Ciara Duffy about how and why she became the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's new Chief Scientist, and her plans to work more closely with both academia and industry in future.


  • Episode 16 - Opportunities in Academia and Research
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    In this episode, Ciara talks to academics Adam Todd and Anna Robinson about opportunities in Academia and Research.


  • Episode 15 - Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs)
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    In this episode, RPS English Pharmacy Board member Ciara Duffy talks to Anne Black, of NHS England’s Specialist Pharmacy Service, and David Caulfield, Assistant Director of Pharmacy – Quality Assurance at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust.

    They look at the remarkable promise of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs). In future, these new therapies will be used to treat genetic disorders, cancer or long-term diseases; to treat, diagnose or prevent diseases, and to repair, regenerate or replace human tissue.


  • Episode 14 - The promise of pharmacogenomics
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    This episode, Ciara speaks to RPS Pharmacogenomics Lead Sophie Harding about the huge effect PGx is going to have on healthcare - and how pharmacists will be at the heart of that change!


  • Episode 13 - "Say My Name"
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    This episode, RPS Head of Professional Belonging Aman Doll is joined by two guests to speak about the origins of their names, and what they mean to them. 

    Helen Chang, RPS Head of Professional Development, speaks about having to change her name after arriving in the UK at a young age, and Gautam Paul, a pharmacist at Nottingham School of Pharmacy and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, tells us about his experiences in the workplace and his social life.


  • Episode 12 - Working as a pharmacist abroad
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    This episode, RPS English Pharmacy Board member Ciara Duffy is joined by Tania Thomas, VP of Global Regulatory & Medical Affairs at Opiant Pharmaceuticals.

    Having worked in industry in Europe, Middle East and the US, Tania gives Pharma Scene listeners advice on moving to work abroad - from what to take with you and prepare, to what to expect.

    From voluntary work at the Olympics in Doping Control, to a Creative Writing course at Oxford University, Tania has a varied career in industry and beyond.


  • Episode 11 - Working in industrial pharmacy
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    In this episode, RPS English Pharmacy Board member Ciara Duffy is joined by Gillian Renouf, Head of Quality UK and Ireland at Novartis and Chair of the RPS Qualified Person Assessment Panel.

    Gillian talks about working as a pharmacist in industry, who and what has inspired her over the years, and why now is an extremely exciting time to work in pharmacy.


  • Episode 10 - Being a leader in Pharmacy
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    This episode, RPS English Pharmacy Board member Ciara Duffy is joined by Ben Hannan, Chief Pharmacist at NHS Fife in Scotland.

    Ben talks about the experience of leading at a young age, how important it is to be authentic in the workplace, and how inclusion and diversity has played an important part in his pharmacy career.

    Along with career highlights and book recommendations, Ben offers advice for early-career pharmacists and speaks about how exciting the profession is to be in at the moment.


  • Episode 9 - Kindeva and drug delivery systems
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    This episode, Professor Gino Martini is joined by representatives from Kindeva Drug Delivery.

    Kindeva develops and manufactures complex drug device combination products, with a focus on transdermal and inhalation drug delivery products.

    Gino welcomes Laura Walsh from Global Buisness Development, Dr. John Vasilakos, Global Head of MTS at Kindeva, and Lisa Dick, the leading platform scientist for microneedles.

    Kindeva originated as Riker Labatories, who invented the first metered-dose inhaler in 1956, before becoming part of 3M.

    Now, Laura, John and Lisa talk about Kindeva's microneedle technology, the impact of COVID-19, and other technologies.


  • Episode 8 - Christmas 2021 - a long-lost pharmacy recording?
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    In this episode, we have a rare and remarkable Christmas treat, courtesy of our RPS Museum archives: a long-lost gramophone recording from 1888, made by the RPS' first female member, Fanny Elizabeth Potter.

    Using the latest available gramophone technology, Fanny seems to have accidentally recorded herself serving a gentleman customer in her Fleckney shop on Christmas Eve 1888. The pair discuss the role of women in pharmacy, indigestion remedies, and natural versus scientific medicines.

    How could such a remarkable document have survived all this time?


  • Episode 7 - My multiple careers - pharmacy and comedy
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    This episode, RPS Inclusion and Diversity Co-ordinator Amandeep Doll chats to Lubna Kerr - a pharmacist, comedian, actor and playwright.

    Join them as they take a fun look at Lubna's experiences juggling her pharmacy role alongside a successful career on stage and screen.

    Can a pharmacist be funny and professional? Yes, they can!


  • Episode 6 - Sir Richard Sykes
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    This episode, former RPS Chief Scientist Professor Gino Martini gets insight into the UK COVID-19 vaccine programme through discussion with a very special guest.

    Gino is joined by Sir Richard Sykes, who was appointed Chair of the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce in June 2021, and also chairs the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the UK Stem Cell Foundation.

    Sir Richard, who has extensive experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, imparts his knowledge about the role of the Vaccine Taskforce, the booster vaccine campaign, and coping with COVID-19 variants - as well as the 'very important' role pharmacies and pharmacists have played during the pandemic.

    This episode was recorded on September 9 2021.


  • Episode 5 - Black History Month Special
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    This episode, RPS President Claire Anderson and RPS Head of Professional Belonging Aman Doll celebrate Black History Month by chatting with Tase Oputu and Adanna Anthony-Okeke, pharmacists at different stages in their careers, about what it means to be black in pharmacy - and what still needs to change.

    Tase is the Lead Pharmacist for Medicines Commissioning and Pathways at Barts Health NHS Trust and is a member of the English Pharmacy Board.

    And Adanna is a fifth year Pharmacy student at the University of Nottingham.

    Both have been championing black pharmacists in the workplace and in education in Great Britain and beyond. Find out what they have been doing in this week's instalment of the RPS Pharma Scene podcast.


  • Episode 4 - Allyship in pharmacy
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    This episode, RPS Head of Professional Belonging Aman Doll chats with Mike Maguire and Farzana Haq. The pair formed an allyship following an RPS Allyship Webinar as part of the society's Inclusion and Diversity work.

    An allyship is where individuals come together to build a relationship of trust to gain a better understanding of a marginalised individual or group and their experiences.

    Mike and Farzana tell us about their experiences during their journey as allies, sharing shocking stories and experiences, as well as educational insight and explain why you should start an allyship.


  • Episode 3 - The role of industrial pharmacy
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    This episode, former RPS Chief Scientist Gino Martini chats with Nathalie Moll and Sunayana Shah about the role of industrial pharmacy, and their experiences as pharmacists during the pandemic.

    Nathalie has been Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) since 2017.

    And Sunayana is an expert in regulatory, medical, and pharmacovigilance policy development.

    Join them to discover how industrial pharmacy is changing and contributing to healthcare around the world.


  • Episode 2 - Blockchain technology and the future of pharmacy
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    In this episode of our RPS Pharma Scene podcast, former RPS Chief Scientist Gino Martini talks to Dr Hirkirit Virdee from PharmaLedger.

    They discuss how introducing blockchain technology to pharmacy could change the way medicines are tracked, as well as how patients will benefit from tighter management of their prescriptions.

    Discover how blockchain technology could make a major difference to healthcare in the future!


  • Episode 1 - with Professor Dame Sally Davies
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    In this first episode of our new RPS Pharma Scene podcast, former RPS Chief Scientist Gino Martini talks to Professor Dame Sally Davies about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and what pharmacy can do to counter this growing threat.