10-27-2010 05:44 PM
The other day, one of the pharmacists I work with and I were talking about Virgin Galactic's successful test flight of SpaceShipTwo, which is supposed to usher in an era of space tourism in the next couple of years, and we got to talking about the the concept of "astropharmacy", the challenge of dispensing and giving medications to tourists in space. While the initial space flights are projected to be short (only a couple of hours), eventually they will get longer in length and more accessible to regular people with normal medication needs.
This topic is not serious, but it was an interesting idea that came up that I thought I would share to the community. Imagine not only trying to give your self eye drops in zero-G, but teaching patients how to do this!
10-27-2010 09:33 PM
This is a fantastic mental image - eye drops floating in zero gravity and people swimming through the spaceship cabin trying to "catch" them! It would definitely take some skill. Thanks for the post!
11-18-2010 05:06 PM
There is a subspecialty of Aerospace Medicine known as Space Medicine. There are many issues related to microgravity and medicine as well as the medical care that can be provided. As commercial spaceflight becomes more affordable and we have folks that aren't the healthiest paying for a flight, I suspect we are going to see a lot more issues. I'm looking forward to continuing my work in Space Medicine as the commercial sector gains experience.
Tina Bayuse, Pharm.D
Lead Pharmacist - Johnson Space Center
11-19-2010 01:13 PM
I don't know why this would be considered a reach in pharmacy at this time. Astropharmacy is obviously a field that must be explored now, so that when the need for such service is imminent, there will be people available to fill the roles needed. I have always considered myself a generalist, and confess that I have no background in either sales or nuclear pharmacy. How great would it be to be exposed to astropharmacy?