New medicines reconciliation toolkit launched


A toolkit for medicines reconciliation is the latest resource produced by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to support pharmacists in improving patient safety and contribute to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) third Global Patient Safety Challenge — “Medication without harm”. Under this programme of change, the WHO lists care transitions as one of three priority areas that need effective action in order to protect patients.


Transitions of care (such as admission to a healthcare facility, transfer between settings within a facility and at discharge, and also across different prescribers in community settings) can potentially lead to patient harm due to unintentional changes in medication or poor communication. A recent Cochrane review, for example, found that 55.9% of patients are at risk of having one or more medication discrepancies at transitions of care.(1) Such medication discrepancies can lead to secondary illnesses, hospital admissions and even deaths. Medicines reconciliation is a standardised process that involves obtaining a patient’s comprehensive current medication list and reviewing it in relation to medication requested or used in any new setting, in order to identify and resolve any discrepancies in medication frequency, route, dose, combination and therapeutic purpose.


“Medicines reconciliation represents a key service across all transitions of care and, when led by pharmacists, is effective in reducing medication-related harm to patients. With this service, pharmacists can apply their medicines expertise to minimise errors and optimise medicines use, resulting in positive impacts on patient, clinical and economic outcomes. Medicines reconciliation should be practised in every healthcare setting,” said FIP CEO Dr Catherine Duggan.


FIP’s toolkit on medicines reconciliation outlines the principles and important processes that pharmacists should follow when providing this professional service. It summarises the definitions, impact and procedures for the implementation of pharmacist-led medicines reconciliation in both community and hospital healthcare settings, and offers a set of tools to support practice.


“Medicines reconciliation could eliminate medication discrepancies at transitions of care if the required resources are made available. The FIP toolkit can also be used as a guide to inform practice models and influence decision-makers and pharmacy practitioners to set up or remodel medicines reconciliation processes,” Dr Duggan added.



Sub-Saharan Africa pharmacy education reform advised


The most pressing healthcare, health workforce and pharmaceutical education needs in sub-Saharan Africa are described in a report published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), alongside recommendations towards achieving universal health coverage.


The new report, “FIP pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa”, documents the outcomes of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Global Pharmacy Education Development Network, launched in 2010 to advance research, training and curriculum development in pharmacy education by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation worldwide. This programme also led to the establishment of a FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Centre for Excellence in Africa.


Although Africa has 17% of the world’s population, only 3% of the global health workforce is available to meet its health needs, resulting in the continent being burdened with 25% of the world’s disease. One-third of the African population does not have access to quality medicines and pharmaceutical services, with one major contributing factor being the critical shortage of pharmacists. Improvement in the quality of education and training is one of the key elements for the sustainable development of the pharmaceutical workforce to improve health and well-being, with the ultimate aim of achieving universal health coverage, according to FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN director Professor Ralph Altiere.


As its title suggests, the report provides an overview of pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa, including national profiles of pharmacy education, educational trends and best practices.


“The FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Centre for Excellence in Africa has been an incubator for education reform. This report provides pharmacy stakeholders across Africa with evidence on the current status, needs and priorities of pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa, sharing our experience of investing in and transforming pharmacy education. We invite students, faculty members, national pharmacy organisations and governments to use this report as a roadmap to advance pharmacy education and the pharmaceutical workforce across Africa and throughout the world,” Prof. Altiere said.


The report sets out the following recommended actions:


•    Build capacity of the pharmaceutical workforce;
•    Meet societal and healthcare needs of the region;
•    Address inequities in pharmacy education;
•    Address academic pharmacy workforce migration and shortfall issues;
•    Implement needs-based pharmacy education;
•    Establish institutional partnerships across the region;
•    Invest in pharmacy education and workforce; and
•    Establish an Africa-wide association for schools of pharmacy.


Prof. Altiere added: “In the next decade, FIP will focus on the renewal and expansion of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN programme across other regions of the world.”



Commission to tackle antimicrobial resistance established


Solutions offered by the pharmacy profession to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are to be advanced by a commission set up by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) during its FIP Virtual 2020 programme.


The FIP Commission on Antimicrobial Resistance will explore opportunities to increase the impact of pharmacy on AMR in all settings and scopes of practice. It will drive a new FIP Pharmacy AMR Roadmap to guide actions globally and regionally, which is currently being developed in consultation with members of FIP and will be published later this year.


The commission will also focus on the implementation of the FIP Development Goal on Antimicrobial Stewardship, which is one of 21 Development Goals launched by FIP earlier this week to support the transformation of the pharmacy profession around the world.


“The FIP Pharmacy AMR Roadmap will guide actions globally, sustaining momentum and tracking and evaluating progress of this global health priority for pharmacy. The FIP Development Goal on Antimicrobial Stewardship looks at the role of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmaceutical educators in reducing AMR. The new FIP Commission on Antimicrobial Resistance will facilitate the essential contribution of pharmacists to AMR action plans around the world, which include surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance, and antibiotics distribution and regulation,” said FIP CEO Dr Catherine Duggan.


She added: “AMR is a major public health threat that can have profound impacts on global, regional and national health care and economies. It is now more important than ever to act, because with the emergence of untreatable drug-resistant infections, we may soon find ourselves in yet another public health emergency. As with COVID-19, FIP and pharmacists globally are fully committed to being part of the solution. This work will culminate in a special Health Ministers Summit in 2023.”


Global pharmacy data and intelligence commission launched


The One FIP Data and Intelligence Commission was launched during FIP Virtual 2020. The commission will provide strategic advice on the development of the Global Pharmaceutical Observatory (GPO).


The FIP GPO builds on FIP’s foundational history of collating and using pharmacy-related data and will be a global data hub that can be used to inform advocacy work for FIP members and partners. It will aid policy development, decision-making, workforce intelligence, and the advancement of pharmaceutical practice, health and life sciences, education and skills training.


Incorporating the FIP Development Goals launched earlier this week, the FIP GPO will deliver an expansive set of validated information to drive evidence-based analysis of past, current and future trends.


Members of the commission, chaired by Professor Robert Sindelar, University of British Columbia, Canada, will provide assurance and guidance on achieving the FIP GPO vision and mission, which were presented at FIP Virtual 2020 today. They will also validate the integration of GPO activities across FIP and with stakeholders, and advocate for the FIP GPO. Members of the commission will be drawn from across FIP’s boards, sections, regions and member organisations, and a nomination process will be circulated in due course.


Professor Sindelar said:


“Data volumes will continue to increase and experts agree that the amount of generated data will be growing exponentially every day into the future. The key is not just collecting data and individual observations, but turning that data into intelligence that empowers FIP and its stakeholders to form a predictive picture that enables better decision-making for pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences.”


Community pharmacy medicine adherence project scoops award


A Spanish project that evaluated the improvement, maintenance and adherence to therapy achieved by a pharmacy adherence service in patients with hypertension, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. has jointly won the Internation Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Pharmacy Practice Improvement Award for 2020.


The winning initiative of the joint awardee, the General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain (GPCS), is a research project called AdherenciaMED.


Its first phase, involving 98 community pharmacies and 1,186 patients, found a 50% increase in adherence in the intervention group compared with a 20% increase in the control group. Improvements included better clinical control and increased quality of life for patients with asthma.


The service consists of pharmaceutical advice provided to patients based on evidence-based models for behavioural change, as well as using strategies such as monitored dosage systems and education on inhaler technique. Interventions are recorded electronically. The initiative includes support to pharmacies from a practice change facilitator, who helps pharmacists implement the changes needed to incorporate the service into their daily routine.


The service was also found to be cost-effective. For every EUR 1 invested, the service provided value of EUR 38 per patient within six months. A second phase of the project looked at implementation aspects and determined that 75% of pharmacies were able to fully provide the service at six months and successfully integrate the service into their daily practice.


Mr Jesús Aguilar Santamaría, GPCS president, said:


“The General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain welcomes the international recognition of this work. Lack of adherence to therapy is one of the main challenges for healthcare professionals and healthcare systems and, in Spain, is estimated to generate an expenditure of EUR 11,250m per year.”



Recognition for pharmacist led suicide prevention campaign


International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) 2020 Health Promotion Campaign Award went to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Young Pharmacists’ Group (PSN-YPG), which developed a suicide prevention campaign that was held on World Mental Health Day.


Working in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Institute of Nigeria and mental health advocacy and rehabilitation organisations, 40 young pharmacist volunteers were trained on managing mental health issues. They chose to take their campaign, which consisted of three elements: an educational series on social media, a health walk and a public engagement exercise in a community with a high incidence of drug abuse in central Lagos.


Information was given in the five languages common to the community, both verbally and through flyers. The campaign reached over 1,150 people and about 200 people were referred to the partner organisations involved in the campaign for follow-up.


Yinka Oguns, the coordinator of PSN-YPG Lagos commented:


“Nearly 80% of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds in the world, and Nigeria is not an exception.


“Despite the staggering statistics, awareness is relatively low and mental health issues are spoken about in hushed tones. This campaign enabled pharmacists, as key players in public health, to shed more light on this issue, and we are very proud to receive this international award.”