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The PJ Pod

Brought to you by the team behind the Pharmaceutical Journal, the PJ Pod will keep you one step ahead of developments in pharmacy, medicines and the pharmaceutical sciences. Get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to our expert journalists and special guests, who will be sharing their knowledge and insight.

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Meet the MAbs: the new treatments for vulnerable patients with COVID-19

There have been some promising trial results recently regarding the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies (or MAbs) in patients with COVID-19.

In this podcast, features editor Dawn Connelly and clinical and science editor Julia Robinson investigate the science behind these exciting new treatments and the potential role of pharmacists in preparing, supplying and assessing patients for their use.

Robinson also visits the aseptics lab at King's College Hospital in London to find out from senior pharmacist James Cheung how MAbs are made.

With thanks to associate professor Al Edwards from the Reading School of Pharmacy and PJ deputy news editor Carolyn Wickware for their help in preparing this podcast.

This episode was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Our exclusive on NHS plans for a community-based MAbs service.

More information on the clinical trials discussed in this podcast.

Pharmacy’s mental health crisis: building back better post-pandemic

The stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on everyone’s mental health; however, the impact on frontline healthcare workers has been particularly acute.

For some of these individuals, it will have a long-lasting effect and they may require support for a number of years to come.

In this podcast, Julia Robinson investigates the experiences of pharmacists redeployed to intensive care units during the height of the pandemic and the impact it has had on their mental health and wellbeing.

Robinson also looks at the longer term implications for the whole of the pharmacy profession, speaking with Nina Barnett, a consultant pharmacist with extensive experience in providing coaching, mentoring and education for healthcare professionals, and Clare Gerada, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, a free confidential counselling service previously just available to doctors and dentists, about the support that is needed going forward.

Thank you to Paresh, Sarah, Hira and "Jane" for sharing their personal stories with us. This podcast was produced by Geoff Marsh.

For support and to access resources from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Wellbeing hub.

Is Amazon Pharmacy really a threat?

Amazon has been shaking up the US pharmacy market during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has just been granted a trademark in the UK.

In this podcast, deputy news editor Carolyn Wickware looks at whether Amazon Pharmacy really is a threat to community pharmacies in the UK, which is a very different market to the US.

Wickware speaks with the CEO of McKesson UK, Toby Anderson, about its progress on implementing a digital pharmacy brand, and Jay Badenhorst, chair of the National Pharmacy Association’s Online Pharmacy Services Group, about what smaller pharmacies can do to prepare for the arrival of the online retail giant.

She also finds out the long-view for community pharmacy from Matthew Lee, managing director at investment bank Lincoln International.

This podcast was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Shattering the silence on hidden disabilities in pharmacy

This podcast uncovers the problem of ‘hidden disabilities’ in pharmacy, and what can be done to make the profession more supportive for those with health conditions, such as hearing or mobility issues, that may be hard to see.

We speaks with two pharmacists, Nalwenga Mutambo and Aamer Safdar, about their experiences working as a pharmacist with a hidden disability and how they came to the realisation that they needed help.

We also speak with Paul Day, director at the Pharmacists’ Defence Union, and Diane Lightfoot, chief executive of the Business Disability Forum, about the laws that are in place and how employers can make adjustments to ensure that pharmacy is a more welcoming profession.

This episode is presented by Abigail James and was produced by Geoff Marsh. It is part of The Pharmaceutical Journal‘s Mind the Gap campaign to highlight the social inequalities that pharmacists face. Find out more about the Pharmaceutical Journal's Mind The Gap campaign.

A written transcript of this episode is available here.

Proregs, the pandemic and a 'new normal' for pharmacy training

Over the past year, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for those trying to enter the pharmacy profession has been profound.

In this episode, we investigate how pharmacy’s own “Generation COVID” is feeling, with two provisionally registered pharmacists recording audio diaries in the weeks leading up to their long-delayed registration assessment.

These diaries share their day-to-day lives, thoughts about the exam and their future beyond.

We also speak with Janet Whittam, a training facilitator in Greater Manchester, and Gail Fleming, director of education and professional development at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, about how they think the experiences of proregs could inform the changes planned to pharmacy training long-term, including the new foundation training year and the registration exam.

Thank you to Regan, Andrew, Janet and Gail for speaking with us for this episode. The General Pharmaceutical Council was asked, but declined to appear.

This episode is presented by Corrinne Burns and Nigel Praities. It was produced by Geoff Marsh.

COVID-19 vaccines: your questions answered (part 2)

With three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the UK, the focus is now shifting towards how the vaccination programme is being rolled out

This podcast picks up where we left off in our previous one, answering a new set of readers questions submitted through the PJ website and social media.

Nigel Praities, executive editor, Dawn Connelly, features editor, and Julia Robinson, clinical and science editor, attempt to answer these questions using the latest available information and the help of some external experts.

Thanks to Steve Griffin, associate professor in the school of medicine at the University of Leeds, Fazila Jumabhoy, lead pharmacist for Central North Leeds Primary Care Network and John Tregoning, a reader in respiratory disease at Imperial College London.

This episode was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Cannabis on the NHS: a missed opportunity?

Recently, it emerged that Billy Caldwell — the young boy who sparked a change in the law over medical cannabis — has received an NHS prescription for the cannabis oil to treat his severe epilepsy.

However, two years after its legalisation, Billy is only one of a handful of patients who have received an NHS prescription for medical cannabis in the UK. This is despite many thousands of patients using cannabis for medical reasons around the world.

In this podcast, we look at why so few patients are receiving NHS prescriptions and whether this may change anytime soon.

We speak with Matt Hughes, the father of Charlie, who has been refused medical cannabis on the NHS; Mike Barnes, a neurologist who runs a number of private medical cannabis clinics and Janine Barnes, a specialist pharmacist who was a member of the NICE clinical guideline development group for medical cannabis.

This episode was presented by Corrinne Burns and Nigel Praities. It was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Read the Pharmaceutical Journal's Special Report on Medicinal Cannabis.

COVID-19 vaccines: your questions answered

We asked PJ readers to submit their questions regarding the different COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world, the phase III trial results and the practicalities of how these vaccines will be administered. In this podcast, Dawn Connelly, features editor and Julia Robinson, clinical and science editor, will try to answer these questions using the latest available information and the help of some external experts.

Thanks to Charles Bangham, chair in immunology and co-director of the Institute of Infection at Imperial College London and Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

A link to the infographic referred to in the podcast is here.

Please do let us know if you have any outstanding questions regarding the COVID vaccines after listening to this podcast. Email us at [email protected] — if there are enough, we may do another podcast!

Post-pandemic pharmacy: a brave new world?

This podcast celebrates the shortlisted entries to The Pharmaceutical Journal's 2020 writing competition.

Hosted by executive editor Nigel Praities and opinion editor Abigail James, we hear all the shortlisted entrants read out their pieces, give an insight into what makes a winning entry and announce the winners!

MPharm awarding gap: how can BAME students be better supported?(part 2)

Senior staff at two UK pharmacy schools - Reading and Wolverhampton - outline how they are tackling their ethnicity awarding gaps for MPharm degrees and the head of education at the General Pharmaceutical Council explains how its new standards may help improve the situation.

Looking outside of pharmacy, our careers editor Angela Kam also speaks with a recognised expert in how universities can tackle their ethnicity awarding gaps and discuss what works and, crucially, what does not.

Read more about what BAME students experience at university in the Pharmaceutical Journal.

MPharm awarding gap: what BAME students experience at university (part 1)

Careers editor Angela Kam speaks with four ethnic minority students about their experiences of going to university to study pharmacy and explores new evidence there is an "awarding gap" between them and white students studying the MPharm degree.

Publications officer at the British Pharmacy Students Association, Isobel Lowings, also speaks about her organisation’s position on the ethnicity awarding gap and what she thinks should be done about it.

Read more about what BAME students experience at university in the Pharmaceutical Journal.