From March 3rd to March 5th 2023 the Patient Counseling Event (PCE) was held for the 13th year in a row with the topic of Insomnia. The competition was held at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Rijeka, where new generations of future masters of pharmacy have been enrolled since last year. Thus, for the first time, colleagues from Rijeka participated in the competition along with colleagues from Zagreb and Split. The participants of this competition are 2nd and 3rd year pharmacy students, who are given the opportunity to get to know the profession and science earlier during their studies through this event. Students get to learn the knowledge and skills necessary for a good consultation and counseling of patients.

On the first day, we had an organized visit to the Pharma Valley complex of the Jadran galenski laboratory (JGL), which was also the main sponsor of the competition. In an interesting tour of the complex, we saw the facility for sterile pharmaceutical production (automated production line for eye drops, microbiological laboratory and sterility laboratory) and the robotic logistics and distribution center. The tour lasted an hour and a half. In the afternoon, at the Faculty of Medicine, the contestants had a lecture on the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of insomnia, which was held by associate professor Ph.D. Lidija Bach-Rojecky. At the lecture, basic pharmacological concepts and characteristics of the groups of drugs used were explained to the students, as well as the importance of implementing non-pharmacological measures in the treatment of insomnia.

The morning of the second day was reserved for a short written exam that tested the knowledge absorbed the previous day at the lecture. The 11 best contestants went to the last stage of the competition – the final. After the exam M. Pharm. Lucija Ana Bićanić held a consultation skills workshop where she explained how the structure of a pharmacy consultation should look like and how to approach the patient. At the end of the second day of the Competition, we had an interesting and useful lecture “Phytotherapy as a help with insomnia”, given by Bojana Janjanin, M. Pharm.

In the final, the contestants had the opportunity to stand behind the counter and consult a patient actor who came to pick up diazepam of 5 mg without a prescription. It was necessary to clarify that the requested drug cannot be dispensed without a doctor’s prescription, and that the requested drug is not intended for the treatment of insomnia. They were also supposed to examine the patient’s sleep habits and sleep quality and advise him on sleep hygiene and nutritional supplements that are a more appropriate therapeutic option in his case. The final was held in the Zorka Muvrin pharmacy, and the contestants were observed and evaluated by the jury consisting of Professor Bach-Rojecky, M. Pharm. Bićanić and M. Pharm. Silvia Majsec, who was also the sponsor’s representative.

All of the contestants proved themselves in a new and very stressful role, but we still had to choose the best ones. The first place was won by Josip Mihelić, the second by Dario Paler, and the third by Ema Mlinarić. Congratulations once again to the winners, but also to all the participants of the competition. The competition in this event was fierce and the winners were determined by slight distinctions.

The general sponsors of the competition were JGL, Adrialab and Pablo pharmacies, to whom we would like to thank once again for their help in organizing and arranging the competition. In addition to the financial support that was needed to organize the competition in another city, nice gift bags were provided for all participants when they visited JGL on the first day of the competition, valuable prizes were given to the three best finalists, and a pharmacy space was arranged for holding the finals.

We offer thanks once more to the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka for providing the space in which the first two days of the competition was held. We thank as proffessor Ph.D. Renata Jurišić Grubešić  as well for all her help with the organization and arrangement of the competition at the University in Rijeka.

Translated by Patricia Štriga