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World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (FIP)

FIP 2007The World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the 67th International Congress of FIP, was
organised by the International Pharmaceutical Federation and the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association. It took place in Beijing from 1 to 6 September

A global FIP vision — “The health of all of us depends on each of us”

Kamal Midha

Kamal Midha: FIP makes pharmacy visible and respected on a global scale

Strong leadership is essential to ensuring that pharmacists’ dedicated efforts produce fruitful results. So said Kamal Midha when he delivered his inaugural address as president of the International Pharmaceutical Federation at the opening ceremony of the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Dr Midha said that the leadership that FIP offers to its members, partners and pharmacists shines through the vast array of initiatives it undertakes. FIP leadership is demonstrated in the many different yet interconnected branches of the federation that are accomplishing improvements to global health in a constant and focused effort, he said.

Dr Midha went on to share his priorities for FIP, which were:

• Setting high standards for education and practice

• Using human resources for health

• Raising awareness among pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists of their role in public health, good pharmacy practice and patient safety

Agreed and widely shared standards of education and practice, while taking into account cultural, geographical, age, ethnic, political and economic differences, make it possible for members of the federation to ensure the preparation of future pharmacists. Such pharmacists will be the upcoming generation of health care professionals in global health care, said Dr Midha. “This is our obligation, and they are our promise and our gift to the future.”

On using human resources for health, Dr Midha said that, as a worldwide federation, FIP must draw upon its collective resources — personnel, policies, finances and alliances — to ensure the development and deployment of adequate human resources for the health care of all, both now and in the future. This priority includes addressing issues of access to medicines, affordability, quality assurance, and migration of health care professionals from developing countries, he explained.

The main priority, however, is the third one in his list: raising awareness among pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists of their role in public health, good pharmacy practice and patient safety. He said: “The paramount importance of pharmaceutical care, cognitive services and the proper role of pharmacists in disease management cannot be over-emphasised. Other health care professionals, as well as patients, must believe in, trust, and respect us as pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists — professionals who play an integral part in providing quality health care and ensuring patient safety.” Education must produce professionals and standards of practice that are deserving of such public trust and respect for shaping and improving global health care.

To accomplish these aims, six key changes are required, Dr Midha told the congress:

• Developing a new model of providing health care services

• Delivering standards for the required professional education of all pharmaceutical professionals

• Helping under-developed countries to achieve a level of good health

• Moving from “brain drain” to “brain gain” for developing countries

• Recognising good health as a human right rather than as a commodity

• Intensifying collaboration between pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice

New model of providing services Pharmacists must offer people not only medicines, but also all types of consultation: medicines use evaluations; pharmaceutical care; and disease and therapy management guidance. This model must replace and eliminate the senseless and antiquated model of selling valuable medicines as regular merchandise, said Dr Midha. “Our model must be patient-focused and medicines-centred care which, while recognising and keeping a single patient focus, also moves toward concern for and attention to populations as a whole.”

Increasingly, the good health of each individual depends on and is protected by the good health of populations, he said. Governments and public health systems, always challenged for sources of funding, are looking to pharmacy professionals and their associations to help them curtail expenses though efficient medicines use, collaborative consultations, and increasing compliance and rational use of treatments.

“We can make a difference both by improving the quality and effectiveness of health care provided through all multidisciplinary partners and by supporting fiscal responsibility and restraint. We will continue strongly to support the collaborative efforts of FIP and the World Health Organization in programmes of comprehensive good pharmacy practice which are spreading this more effective patient-focused and medicines-centred model of providing health services,” he said.

Standards for professional education FIP must seek the co-operation of governments, academia, industry and practitioners in setting and effecting professional education to the expected and required standards for all pharmaceutical practitioners, said Dr Midha. There is a clear need, he added, for schools which can develop the skills, knowledge and professionalism needed by pharmacy practitioners, as well as centres for developing scientific research expertise required by pharmaceutical scientists.

For truly collaborative patient-focused and medicines-centred health care practice, pharmacists must be respected and have equal status as full health care team members, based on competence established through contemporary and rigorous educational standards.

“We must keep in mind,” he said, “that world leaders are themselves patients with families who share the same health concerns as the rest of the population. It is our individual and collective actions that will affect the profession in each of our countries and thus the profession of pharmacy as a whole.”

Helping underdeveloped countries People in under-developed countries are ravaged by the unfair burden of disease, poverty and illness. They face widespread infectious diseases and an HIV/AIDS epidemic, which human intervention and resources can alleviate, said Dr Midha. FIP’s communication skills and global knowledge must be used effectively.

“What is the point of the most effective medicine if the patient has no access to it, either because of cost or distribution, or if the patient has no idea how to use it,” Dr Midha asked. “This is a challenge for both pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists,” he declared.

From “brain drain” to “brain gain” Pharmacists who live and work in developing countries carry the heaviest burden in caring for patients, said Dr Midha. They face an inadequate infrastructure, severely limited resources in their daily efforts to resolve public health issues, inadequate remuneration and low status. It is, therefore, understandable that many of them leave their place of graduation for greener pastures abroad, putting further strain on the increasingly sparse resources at home.

“The migration of pharmacists from underdeveloped countries cannot be ignored; neither can the underlying reasons for such action,” he emphasised.“Unfortunately many governmental institutions, as well as the WHO, see that the major solution to curb this human resource crisis is to transform lay people into health care workers. This might provide some temporary relief for the immense health care shortages, but will never be the structural change that the developing countries desperately need,” he said.

“Developing countries need and deserve appropriately trained health care professionals. Therefore the best solution is to invest in contemporary and scientific education of health care professionals and strengthen the health care systems in which they work.”

Care a right rather than a commodity Access to good health care practice is the right of all, Dr Midha said. Pharmacy professionals must earn respect through effective and efficacious practices, and advocacy for the good of everybody, everywhere.

“We do this in accepting our responsibility and fulfilling our mission to make this world a healthier world,” said Dr Midha. “What we as pharmacists achieve, or fail to achieve, today in each of our countries affects not only our country and its people but the entire world of pharmacy and the global community. Our leadership in health care is necessary at all levels — working with each other as pharmacists and scientists, as associations, in forums, in alliances with WHO and with the World Health Professions Alliance.

“In an age of SARS, tuberculosis, avian influenza, and HIV/AIDS, we face challenges that respect no borders. Only by working together — locally, regionally and globally — can we successfully address such challenges. The health of all of us depends on each of us.”

Collaboration between science and practice Good pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences are interdependent and complementary in their collective efforts to meet the challenges of global health care. Collaboration through patient-focused, medicines-centred interventions, especially in developing nations, is essential, said Dr Midha.

He told the congress that, in April 2007, more than 2,300 participants from 72 countries had attended the third Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress (PSWC) held in Amsterdam. FIP had become the primary platform for international pharmaceutical sciences. He reminded the audience that he had told that congress that the pharmacy profession, nurtured with good science, is a dynamic, caring profession.

And FIP’s efforts are already showing positive impact and meaningful outcomes as seen through the increasingly prominent roles pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists are called upon to play in global health and wellness, he said.

“We strive to develop and make medicines available, not only for those with chronic and life-style diseases of the developed world, but also for persons in developing and neglected regions of the world. Assuring availability, affordability and accessibility of safe and effective medicines for this populace has become one of our main objectives, working collaboratively with WHO and other partners of the World Health Professions Alliance. We cannot and must not fail,” he stressed.

Great Hall of the People

FIP participants enter the Great Hall of the People for the congress opening session

Toward this objective, FIP has already initiated, with the leadership of its board of pharmaceutical sciences, the development of a document, “Impact of pharmaceutical sciences on the discovery and development of effective and safe new medicines”.

This document is intended to allow FIP to identify and highlight the contributions of the pharmaceutical sciences to the development of treatment modalities for patients wherever they live. It may also allow FIP to formulate effective policies for governments, health care organisations, non-governmental organisations and educational institutions.

Further, as a sign of the PSWC’s increasing maturity in addressing difficult challenges of priority, need, discovery, allocation and funding, FIP has established a new special interest group for medicinal chemistry, added biotechnology workshops to its existing outreach programmes, and admitted two new pharmaceutical sciences member organisations.

“And we are planning a focused conference of opinion leaders in 2008 on the future of pharmaceutical sciences in the 21st century, to increase the conversation and co-operation among pharmaceutical scientists in academia, industry, and regulatory bodies,” said Dr Midha.

The vitality of two boards — the board of pharmaceutical sciences and the board of pharmacy practice — under one FIP umbrella makes FIP a unique organisation for meeting the dual challenge of developing critically needed medicines while providing timely, effective and informed delivery and patient care, said Dr Midha. “By bringing together scientists and practitioners worldwide within close working relationships, new findings can be rapidly transferred, evaluated and properly used for the benefit of the patient.”

Turning to pharmacy in the congress host country — China — Dr Midha said that currently health-system reform is the key focus of the Chinese government with a clear directive from president Hu Jintao that all Chinese citizens should have access to affordable, essential health services. He congratulated the Chinese ministry of health and the state food and drug administration for their commitment and collaboration in pursuing the development of a national essential medicines policy.

“Such a policy will assure medicines are available within the context of the current functioning health system, at all times, in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms with assured quality, and at a price the individual and the society can afford,” he explained. But quality assurance of medicines is paramount, since it addresses quality, safety and efficacy, which are the most important criteria for market authorisation, licensing and export.

“China is to be commended for intensifying its efforts to implement and strengthen good manufacturing practice inspections, post-marketing surveillance and pharmacovigilance systems,” said Dr Midha. “These efforts will help ensure more rational use of medicines in China, and ensure trust and the good health of its people.”

Concluding, Dr Midha said that FIP is a window on the world of health care and the pharmaceutical profession and sciences. Through its network of associations and alliances it makes the pharmaceutical profession visible and respected on a global scale.

He told congress participants: “You are the network which shows our strengths and challenges, our concerns and our deeply shared values and commitments to best pharmaceutical practices and scientific standards. I feel deep confidence in knowing that you will join me in ensuring that the critical mission of FIP will be achieved.”

Pharmacist Jane Nicholson wins FIP's distinguished practice award

Jane Nicholson

Jane Nicholson

Jane Nicholson, a former member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Council, was presented with the International Pharmaceutical Federation 2007 Distinguished Practice Award during the opening ceremony of the 67th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Beijing, China.

The award was given in recognition of Mrs Nicholson’s work in many sectors of the pharmacy profession across the world and, in particular, with respect to counterfeit medicines, for which she was praised for “investing immense energy”. In making the award, the FIP board of pharmaceutical practice commended her for her dedication and vision.

Mrs Nicholson, a specialist in regulatory affairs, is currently senior registration adviser for Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals, president of the European Industrial Pharmacists Group and a panel member of the NHS Appeals Authority for community pharmacists. “I’ve been involved with FIP for 40 years and before that with the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation and I’m pleased and proud to have been honoured in this way,” she told The Journal.

Zolt&á;n Vincze, the founder and first president of the Hungarian Chamber of Pharmacists and former vice-president of FIP, was given the 2007 award for Lifetime Achievement in Pharmaceutical Practice. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional dedication to the advancement and improvement of pharmaceutical practice worldwide. Professor Vincze played a significant role in the privitisation of Hungarian pharmacies after political changes in 1989 and has worked continuously to advocate the role of pharmacists in Hungary.

FIP’s highest scientific honour, the Høst-Madsen medal, was presented to Patrick Couvreur, director of the department of physico-chemistry, pharmaceutical technology and biopharmacy at the University Paris Sud, Paris, and the French National Centre of Scientific Research.

The Høst-Madsen medal is awarded biennially to an outstanding pharmaceutical scientist. For the past 30 years Dr Couvreur has investigated the use of nanoparticles, liposomes,nanoemulsions and prodrugs in new drug delivery systems, and his achievements include the first biodegradable nanoparticles for use in humans and the development of anticancer and antiviral agents through the squalenisation of nucleosidic analogues.

Five new fellowships were also announced during the 67th congress. These were awarded to Charlie Benrimoj (Australia), Cynthia Brown (US), John Gans (US), Ross Holland (Australia) and Howard Rice (Israel).

Chinese vice-premier calls for international co-operation and world communication

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 67th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, held in Beijing, China, Wu Yi, vice premier of the State Council, China, called for international co-operation and world communication, and consultation between health organisations in different countries as well as with the World Health Organization. Knowledge should be disseminated so that more people can enjoy an improved level of pharmaceutical service.

“To maintain the health and treasure the life of people is a long-term theme for humans, and how to avoid disease is a common topic for people all over the world,” she said.

Ms Wu made several proposals, including that developed countries should try to help developing countries to establish systems for research and development. “We believe in learning from technological advancement and innovation. We should do more research and study on traditional medicine as well as modern medicine,” she added.

In addition, the quality of pharmacists in different parts of the world could be improved through joint training and education programmes. “More training and education should be conducted in pharmacy on relevant topics and education should also be provided for professionals,” she said.

Focusing on China, Ms Wu said that in 2006, the country had become the leading exporter of materials for medicines but it is still a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion. Although, compared with other countries, it is still far behind, the Chinese government is focusing on improving public health, she said.

Ms Wu went on to acknowledge the importance of monitoring and drug standardisation in order to improve the safety and effectiveness of drugs and announced that a legal environment to evaluate and test drugs will be established. “Looking into the future, China’s medical service is moving into a new stage of development,” she said.

Next year (2008)in Basel

The next FIP congress will take place in Basel, Switzerland, from 29 August to 4 September 2008.

The theme will be “Re-engineering pharmacy practice in a changing world” and it will be held in association with the Pharmaceutical Society of Switzerland. The 2009 congress will take place in Istanbul, Turkey.

Further information is available from FIP Congresses and Conferences, PO Box 84200, 2508 AE The Hague, The Netherlands, and from FIP's website

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10004870

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