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Supply chain

Greater pharmacist involvement can improve medicines supply chain, report says

The International Pharmaceutical Federation has concluded that investment in training and education are needed if pharmacists are to strengthen their roles within the medicines supply chain.

Pharmacists should be more involved in all stages of medicines’ supply to improve drugs’ availability and quality, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has said.

The report ‘Pharmacists in the supply chain: the role of the medicines expert in ensuring quality and availability’, published on 8 May 2018, concluded that investment in training and education are needed to strengthen pharmacists’ roles in supply chains. And it sets out the skills that pharmacists need to have in these areas.

“Pharmacists engaged, or interested in being engaged, in the supply chain may need special courses, which are not always provided by the basic curriculum,” said Ulf Janzon, co-chair of FIP’s working group on pharmacists in the supply chain.

“For example, these pharmacists often assume leadership roles, and so courses in leadership and management should be provided in addition to courses in logistics.”

The report looks at pharmacists’ roles in the drugs supply chain in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. And it finds that in some low-income countries, particularly in rural and remote areas, a shortage of pharmacists means that other healthcare personnel have taken on roles in pharmaceutical storage and distribution at the point of dealing with individual patients.

The report’s chapter on the UK says pharmacy education and training is “at a crossroads”, and that “the roles of the pharmacist within primary care in the UK are changing rapidly”.

It adds that “both the primary and secondary care sectors have been profoundly affected by regular medicines shortages within the medicines supply chain, negatively affecting patient care”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204817

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