Pharmacists are being honored for going above and beyond in taking a proactive approach to health care. All around the world, pharmacists are making a difference, and a recent award showcased just what pharmacists are doing to improve their communities.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), a Netherlands-based pharmacy advocacy group, is holding its 77thWorld Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Seoul, Korea. As a part of the conference, FIP announced the recipient of its Health Promotion Campaign Award—an award promoting global best practices through an initiative developed by one of its members.
The award was shared between two recipients, pharmaSuisse and the Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA). PharmaSuisse, the Swiss pharmacy association, launched the “No to Colorectal Cancer” campaign. More than half of the pharmacists in Switzerland signed on to the program, which offered a screening service in collaboration with doctors. The program screened patients between 50 and 75 who had not had a colonoscopy within 10 years. The pharmacist used a questionnaire to determine a patient’s risk, and then the pharmacists could refer that patient to a doctor for a stool test, the results of which the patient could receive from the pharmacist. After that, patients with positive results were referred on and those with negative results were scheduled for a follow-up screening in two years. The six-week program detected an estimated 58 cases of cancer and 368 cases of advanced adenoma, and it was overall cost-neutral based on the cost of prevented treatments.
“It is a great honor for pharmaSuisse to be the recipient of this award. It is a strong recognition of our huge investment to implement new services in pharmacy. It is important that pharmacists are recognized as key partners also in the topic of prevention,” said Martine Ruggli, Head of Interprofessional Collaboration at pharmaSuisse, in a statement.
KPA launched a campaign to educate people on the responsible use of medications. The campaign was launched in response to “rising medicines-related problems in the country” and reached over one million people. Pharmacists were trained to target a wide range of people to provide education, but were specifically trained to target socially vulnerable groups, such as those with low incomes. The campaign addressed areas such as illegal drugs and the responsible use of medication.
“The campaign has made a great contribution to the establishment of the public-centered pharmacist roles. The ultimate goal is to expand the pharmacist’s role so that people can recognize the pharmacist as an advocate of health promotion,” said Lee Ae Hyung, Director of Appropriate Drug Use at KPA.
In addition to the Health Promotion Campaign award, FIP also presented the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (KNMP) with its award for the best Pharmacy Practice Improvement Programme. KNMP launched the campaign “The First Time” about the benefits of pharmacists counseling patients using a new medication. The campaign succeeded in not only promoting the service to patients, but also created acceptance that pharmacists should be paid for the service.
“The work we pharmacists do remains largely invisible to the eyes of patients, policy makers, and even other health-care professionals,” said Gerben Klein Nulent, Chairman of the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association. “It is imperative that we continue to show the positive impact pharmacists have in the health-care system.”