By: Dr Josephine Mensah  
University of Ghana Medical Center
Posted on March 6, 2022

The routine role of clinical pharmacists entails the provision of pharmaceutical care to patients to ensure safe and reasonable use of medications for optimal patient outcomes [1]. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical pharmacists have modified their work strategies beyond the call to duty in our efforts to help curb the menace. Clinical pharmacists have therefore had to play an important role during this outbreak in infection prevention and control as well as patient care and support [2].

Clinical pharmacists have had to be innovative, developing internal guidelines in our departments for effective work to be carried out in response to the high demands of caring for COVID-19 patients [1]. In some facilities, pharmacies and pharmacy stations have been established near patient care areas and isolation wards in order to bring clinical pharmacy services closer to the patients. The pharmacists have had to adjust work schedules and develop innovative work plans to facilitate work output. A look at the bigger picture reveals that clinical pharmacists have offered expert advice in the development of Standard Treatment Guidelines for Novel Coronavirus Infection and other case management protocols together with other members of the interprofessional health care team; a vital role which cannot be overemphasized.

With our main focus on pharmaceutical care, clinical pharmacists ensure prompt supply and availability of medications recommended in the national guidelines for management of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Other medications required for the management of patient comorbidities are focused on, to ensure that patient medication needs are met with a holistic approach. Thus, frantic efforts are made to constantly identify and mitigate medication shortages since such shortages can lead to prescription of suboptimal therapy and affect patient outcomes [3].

Clinical pharmacists partake in patient reviews with other members of the multidisciplinary team where patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are interacted with, and effective patient counseling is offered. Patients are also communicated with through telephone calls whiles on admission and after discharge. Through patient reviews, review of patient medical records, review of patient prescriptions and medication history taking, clinical pharmacists are able to make meaningful contributions in both the pharmacological and non-pharmacological needs of the patients. Patient recovery progress and other relevant parameters are monitored by the clinical pharmacists who do not hesitate to recommend interventions on pharmaceutical care issues identified, contributing to overall improved patient outcomes [4].

Clinical pharmacists also in the course of work apply pharmacovigilance principles, probing to monitor patient outcomes and identify incidence of adverse drug reactions in the patients.

Therefore, patient complaints, investigation results and other relevant subjective and objective parameters are evaluated so as to achieve swift identification unwanted reactions experienced after medication administration. This in turn paves way for necessary actions to be taken in order to mitigate the reactions. We also liaise between our institutions and the Food and Drugs Authority, ensuring that such incidences are duly documented and reported [5].

Clinical Pharmacists are actively involved in COVID-19 management teams and partake in clinical meetings where we share our expertise with the other members of the multidisciplinary team. As frontline workers in hospitals, clinical pharmacists play major roles in patient advocacy and education. The general public and other health workers are also educated on the disease, its presentation, progression, preventive measures and management; both pharmacological and non-pharmacological [1].

Through media such as seminars and webinars, we share hands-on practical experience gained from being part of the patient management teams with other pharmacists who work in other fields such as administration, technology, entrepreneurship and regulatory affairs, thereby giving our colleagues a better insight into happenings at the COVID-19 treatment centres.

Clinical pharmacists contribute to infection prevention and control by partaking in and supervising the preparation of essential items such as hand sanitizers, liquid soaps and other disinfectants which help to significantly reduce the burden of procurement cost borne by the treatment facilities. In our efforts to minimize unnecessary personal protective equipment use and limit unnecessary entry into patient areas, clinical pharmacists work in concert with the nurses, medical doctors and other members of the team to align medication supply and administration times with their schedule to ensure a coordinated approach to patient care[3].

Clinical pharmacists are also constantly reading and evaluating research in order to help find best approaches to patient care, so as to augment the efforts of the clinicians in providing optimal medication therapy to patients with COVID-19. Several clinical pharmacists are currently involved with COVID-19 related researches which will contribute to knowledge and science, laying a platform for further studies to be conducted in future [4].

Clinical pharmacists play a key role as experts on medications contributing to patient medication therapies.

We ensure constant medication availability for patients in order to mitigate shortages and prevent suboptimal pharmacological management of COVID-19 patients. We serve as a resource to clinicians and other members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team and are involved in several COVID-19 based research projects. Clinical pharmacists are indeed essential frontline workers in the fight against COVID‐19 whose immense contributions go beyond and above the call of duty!


  1. Li H, Zheng S, Liu F, Liu W, Zhao R. Fighting against COVID-19: innovative strategies for clinical pharmacists. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2020 Apr 6.
  2. Rutter V, Chan AH, Tuck C, Bader L, Bates I. Weaving the health and pharmaceutical care agenda through the themes of the commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM), London 2018.
  3. Gross AE, MacDougall C. Roles of the clinical pharmacist during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. 2020 Mar.
  4. Song Z, Hu Y, Zheng S, Yang L, Zhao R. Hospital pharmacists’ pharmaceutical care for hospitalized patients with COVID-19: recommendations and guidance from clinical experience. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2020 Apr 3.
  5. Ying W, Qian Y, Kun Z. Drugs supply and pharmaceutical care management practices at a designated hospital during the COVID-19 epidemic. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2020 Apr 6.