The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has today issued 23 urgent measures that governments and other stakeholders must put in place in order to ensure the continuity of pharmaceutical care to people around the world and so that pharmacists can play an even greater part in the fight against coronavirus/ COVID-19.
This call to action addresses the major issues currently being faced by the pharmacy profession across the globe by demanding, for example, that:
- Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are recognised as key workers;
- Pharmacy staff have access to appropriate protective equipment;
- Pharmacy staff are included in the groups of healthcare and essential workers to be tested for coronavirus/COVID-19;
- Home delivery of medicines and pharmaceutical services to patients who must stay at home is funded;
- Medicines at risk of shortage are identified and mitigation plans put in place;
- Continuing education in infectious disease and emergency response is funded;
- Financial aid is provided to pharmacies in the event of temporary closure for health reasons.
FIP’s measures also look ahead, calling for provisions to be made in preparation for future developments. These include:
- Authorising and harnessing the network of pharmacies to contribute to mass testing across populations (following the adoption of evidence-based protocols for the usability of rapid point-of-care tests for COVID-19 in appropriate individuals in the community setting).
- Further investment in and development of infrastructure to ensure health systems are ready for mass immunisation when COVID-19 vaccines are available, including updating regulations to enable pharmacists to immunise adults.
“The valuable service that pharmacists and their teams provide to communities, and their important contribution to easing the huge strain being placed on health systems during the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is now clearer than ever. We know that these colleagues are going to great lengths and subjecting themselves to risks in order to ensure continuity of care, particularly to the vulnerable, and to maintain a robust and efficient medicines and medical product supply chain as well as providing much needed advice and services,” said FIP President Mr Dominique Jordan.
He added: “Pharmacists at community and hospital pharmacies and clinical biology laboratories are sharing in the enormous pressure of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus disease. Sadly, we have already witnessed pharmacist deaths related to COVID-19 and many pharmacists have patients who have died because of the infection. We must ensure the well-being of these colleagues so that they can continue in their vital work.”
The FIP measures also call for appropriate services to be put in place to support the psychological health of pharmacists and pharmacy staff, and for governments and other employers to ensure that pharmacists are getting adequate breaks during their shifts and time off between shifts.