Across the world, countries battling the coronavirus are depending on their community pharmacies to provide healthcare and medicines to their population. Patients are being encouraged to use their pharmacies for advice, and governments are depending on pharmacies to manage limited supplies of medicines. Pharmacies work hard to ensure all their patients have the medicines they need, limiting stockpiling.
Several initiatives to help patients have been agreed in WPC member countries. In Australia a government funded home delivery service for patients who cannot get to their pharmacy has been agreed and implemented; a similar service is under discussion in England. In Ireland community pharmacists have been given permission to use their professional judgement in supply of a medicine outside of a prescription.
In South Korea, which has been very successful at limiting the spread of Covid-19, the government has implemented a policy of distributing a large proportion of face masks through community pharmacies. The percentage of all face masks supplied through pharmacies has risen from 50% to 70%.
World Pharmacy Council members have shared advice and experience on Protective Personal Equipment and measures to limit risk of spread of Covid-19, such as Perspex screens, as well as signage and other messages to support community pharmacies in continuing to deliver critical frontline services, as people with possible symptoms have been discouraged from visiting doctors.
The use of community pharmacies by both healthy and ill people puts the pharmacy team at risk. In Spain, where the impact of the pandemic is particularly severe, 5 pharmacists have tragically died, and 50 pharmacies have been forced to close.
The role of pharmacies in the frontline has been recognised in many countries, including Portugal, where the senior Health Minister praised pharmacies, saying
“there are many frontlines, sometimes less obvious or less noticeable, such as the pharmacies, that I would like to hail emphatically, though the President of the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Chamber, Prof. Ana Paula Martins, for their restless work”.
The WPC is monitoring the development of policy and guidance by the OECD to ensure that it supports and promotes the valuable services provided by pharmacies, whilst protecting the public against unscrupulous and fraudulent exploitation of the pandemic.
Welcome to the World Pharmacy Council
Welcome to the World Pharmacy Council, established in 2017 by community pharmacy organisations in seven countries (Pharmintercom) that have met annually since 1987 to share information and discuss the role, opportunities and issues affecting community pharmacy. The World Pharmacy Council is an Associate Expert Group member of Business at OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
Community pharmacies play a great but frequently unrecognised and unquantified role in healthcare systems. They provide care and advice for a range of health issues. From wound care and minor sprains, to pain and infections, pharmacies offer care and advice from infancy throughout life. A core role for pharmacies is to supply prescribed medications with the right information and guidance to help ensure proper use and efficacy. For many people with health problems, their relationship with a community pharmacy team is an important part of their support network.
World Pharmacy Council
These pharmacy core services are vital components of health systems, contributing to managing demand for physician or hospital resources. They are supplemented in some countries by greater use of the clinical skills of community pharmacists, who can adjust or even initiate prescribed medication therapy, sometimes as part of medicines management services.
The growth of online retailing is challenging traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ trading models including community pharmacies. In most countries fees paid for dispensing provide the funding to support provision of advice and support that is not directly remunerated.
Health costs are rising and increasingly governments focus on use of new technologies to change traditional models of care. Community pharmacy must be part of the debates, in individual countries and internationally, to develop recognition of its place in the provision of health care today, and to contribute to dialogue about the future: how pharmacies can be an integral part of innovative systems.
The mission of the World Pharmacy Council is to build international recognition of community pharmacy, its role, policies and value, and to influence, promote and secure acceptance of community pharmacy as an important and integral part of health systems.
By 2025 the World Pharmacy Council is established and acknowledged as an informed and respected data driven expert on the actual and potential role of community pharmacy in patient care and public health, and the OECD advocates services of community pharmacists using their full scope of practice as part of integrated care of patients with acute or chronic conditions, and as providers of public health services.
The World Pharmacy Council was established in 1987 as Pharmintercom and the seven founder member countries have met annually, exchanging news of developments, data and experience. To date no multi-national organisation has represented and promoted the value of community pharmacies in health care systems. Pharmintercom recognised the need for community pharmacy to have a voice to influence health policy internationally, and expand its membership beyond the seven countries. It agreed to establish the World Pharmacy Council (WPC) at its 2016 meeting.
The aim of the World Pharmacy Council is to speak for community pharmacy internationally; we encourage you to explore this website and contact the organisation via the contact form below.
To be a voice for community pharmacy internationally, the Council has secured a voice and recognition in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This intergovernmental organisation comprises 36 member countries, with a mission to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
OECD has a Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC). Its website explains: “Being part of BIAC allows members access to meetings, global fora, and other consultations with OECD leadership, senior government officials, committees and related working groups”. From 2019 the Council has been a member of the BIAC Associate Expert Groups on Health and Consumer Affairs.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is the peak representative body for community pharmacy owners in Australia.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
The Danish Pharmacies Association is pharmacy's employer and trade association in Denmark.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) is the representative and professional body for community pharmacists in Ireland.
Irish Pharmacy Union
The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand is the peak representative body for pharmacy owners in New Zealand.
The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand
Associação Nacional das Farmácias
The National Association of Pharmacies (ANF) is a professional association which represents the interests of pharmacy owners in Portugal.
The General Council of Spanish Pharmacists represents the pharmacy profession at the national and international level.
Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Farmaceuticos España
NPA is the trade association for independent community pharmacies in the UK.
National Pharmacy Association
PSNC promotes and supports the interests of all NHS community pharmacies in England
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
The National Community Pharmacists Association represents the pharmacist owners, managers, and employees of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies across the United States
National Community Pharmacists Association
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