Pharmacy leaders commit to antibiotic stewardship

June 2, 2015

Pharmacy organizations and drug store chains came together to combat antibiotic resistance at the White House’s “One Health Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship,”

Several pharmacy organizations and leading drug store chains revealed new initiatives to help combat antibiotic resistance at the White House’s “One Health Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship” on June 2.

See also: Formal antibiotic stewardship programs work in children's hospitals

The event, convened by President Barack Obama, brought together pharmacy organizations and retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, along with more than 100 human and animal health leaders involved in antibiotic stewardship. The leaders, which also represented hospitals and healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, and human and animal health organizations, are committed to antibiotic stewardship “to change the way antibiotics are currently prescribed and used to slow the spread of drug-resistant infections,” according to a statement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Reducing antibiotic resistance has emerged as an important public health issue, and it should be a priority for the nation and even around the world,” Kathleen Jaeger, senior vice president of pharmacy care and patient advocacy for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), told Drug Topics after the meeting. “Pharmacies and pharmacists have a strong track record of helping patients take medications correctly to promote better health and public health, and promoting antibiotic stewardship is entirely consistent with that aim.”

 

Walgreens’ initiatives

At the Forum, Walgreens has committed to support the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria via patient and practitioner education. The retailer will “focus on education and enabling our pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and our healthcare clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants with the most-up-to date knowledge and information to support patient awareness programs,” said Rick Gates, RPh, vice president of pharmacy operations for Walgreens, in a written statement. The retailer will also maintain its “continued focus of Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants on prescribing protocol.”

See also: ASHP to develop antibiotic metrics

Walgreens will also explore a partnership with the CDC on a prescribing protocol for antibiotics.  Already, Healthcare Clinics at Walgreens “follow strict guidelines on prescribing of antibiotics, which leads to industry-leading HEDIS scores, based on the appropriate prescribing habits,” Gates said.

For its part, NACDS has committed to work with the CDC, public health entities, and other stakeholders to enhance NACDS’ point-of-care [POC] testing certificate training program. “Specifically, we will develop and include a new educational model on ‘using POC tests in pharmacies to promote antimicrobial stewardship and combat antimicrobial resistance,’ " according to a statement from NACDS.

In addition, “NACDS will seek to further convene chain pharmacies and public health officials to discuss best practices to integrate stewardship principles into existing programs that provide free or reduced price antimicrobials to patients,” the statement said.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said it will develop standardized pharmacy department antibiotic stewardship program metrics, “which can lead to higher quality data to help improve outcomes,” the organization noted in a CDC document.

Other pharmacy groups that made antibiotic stewardship commitments at the Forum included the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.

Also, see:

Formal antibiotic stewardship programs work in children’s hospitals

Deadline looms for Calif. Hospital mandate of ASPs