By Catherine Duggan, CEO, FIP
Today our profession will be marking World Pharmacists Day. Around the world, our colleagues will be appearing on television or radio, offering free services such as hepatitis testing, blood pressure monitoring and screening for diabetic retinopathy, holding seminars, or simply getting together and sharing some cake!
World Pharmacists Day came into being in 2009, during the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP’s) Council Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. This day was to be celebrated on 25 September ― the date that FIP was founded over 100 years ago.
FIP is the global body representing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmaceutical educators. Through our 144 national membership organisations, our academic institutional members and individual members, we represent over four million pharmacists around the world. Our non-profit, non-governmental organisation works to improve world health through advancing pharmacy for people to have better access to quality, cost-effective medicines. A large part of FIP’s work is engagement and advocacy, but World Pharmacists Day is an occasion for every colleague to pitch in!
FIP encourages pharmacists to use this day to organise activities that promote and advocate for the role of the pharmacist in improving health in every corner of the world. We can mark the date in our minds as a focus; a pause in a busy calendar to celebrate our contribution to patient care and public health. World Pharmacists Day provides a theme under which we can all unite and for which FIP can offer support, tools, guidance and evidence of our impact.
The theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day is "Pharmacists: Your medicines experts".
Our recent congress in Glasgow — the first time in 39 years that the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has been held in the UK — provided an excellent programme to showcase the extensive expertise that pharmacists have and put to use every day to ensure better patient health through transforming patient needs into services. Providing a global network for the profession, FIP is able to ensure the impact and expertise from various regions, economies, nations and our member organisations are amplified to wider communities, other professions and government agencies.
With regards to pharmacy at a global level, we recently published a report that outlines workforce, medicines distribution and practice. There is a whole chapter on community pharmacy in this report, which covers issues such as remuneration, regulation and scope of practice, and dispensing and sales (including online), which are really informative in terms of the bigger picture and trends. A summary of the report is available to everyone here.
Globally, we know the UK is relatively advanced in terms of services and innovations in care. However, we are always able to learn from developments in other countries, such as directly-observed therapy (DOT) for tuberculosis being provided by community pharmacists in India, colleagues in South Africa administering childhood vaccinations, pharmacogenetics services being piloted in Dutch community pharmacies; and FIP is a great source of this type of knowledge.
The message is clear: where pharmacists provide services, they provide expertise that improve the lives of patients and the health of communities. FIP is the global body to highlight this great work in nations and regions on a global platform to ensure we can all build, learn and improve.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve planned a particular activity for today, FIP invites you to join your colleagues across the globe to support World Pharmacists Day by creating profile pictures for your social media accounts using the official FIP Twibbon or the official logo. The resources are all free to use and available here.
For ideas for activities next year, keep an eye on FIP’s Facebook album. We’ll be filling it with events from around the world!
Happy World Pharmacists Day!