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FIP CEO Ton Hoek Receives Award

The Federal Council of Pharmacy of Brazil - a Driving Force for Brazilian and Latin American Pharmacy

Brasilia, January 22nd 2009

Brazil celebrated on January 20th the National Pharmacist's Day with a campaign on national television promoting the role of the pharmacist and a ceremony in Brasilia at which the Federal Council of Pharmacy (CFF) honoured distinguished pharmacists and other individuals who contributed to the development of the profession by bestowing them the Award to Pharmaceutical Merit. This year, the FIP Secretary-General and CEO, Ton Hoek, received this prestigious award, as had the FIP President, Dr. Kamal K. Midha in 2007 and his predecessors Jean Parrot and Peter Kielgast. These awards stand as a symbol of Brazil's active involvement in FIP, the high value they place in their membership in the Federation and their recognition of FIP's leadership in Pharmacy world-wide.

Brazil has a population of more than 190 million people and it has the largest public health system in the World, covering the entire population. The figures in Brazilian pharmacy are equally smashing: 120,000 pharmacists, 330 schools of pharmacy, 72,000 pharmacies and drugstores, 5,500 hospital pharmacies, and the list goes on. The profession is led and regulated by the Federal Council of Pharmacy since 1960, but in the last ten years, it has evolved in a remarkable way, with important developments in terms of legislation, professional practice and education.

The proactive and cooperative attitude of the CFF towards the Ministry of Health, the Parliament and Senate and other political authorities greatly contributed to the inclusion of the pharmacist in the primary healthcare system, the creation of ANVISA (the National Health Regulatory Agency), the National Medicines Policy, the Generic Medicines Policy and the Popular Pharmacies Programme. This programme grants universal access to essential medicines, free of charge, to patients of the public health system, through partnerships with private pharmacies.

The boom in the number of schools of pharmacy across the country in recent years was not matched by an increase in the quality of pharmacy education. This became a major cause of concern and a top priority for the CFF. The Federal Council of Pharmacy produced guidelines and minimal quality requirements for pharmacy curricula, in order to ensure that the newly trained pharmacy workforce was ready to face the current and future challenges of the profession and society. The CFF is also providing post-graduate training in Community Pharmacy and coordinating advanced training programmes in other areas with relevant professional organisations.

The CFF has also defined and regulated 71 different professional branches within pharmacy, to determine the profile, knowledge and skills required for each of them, whilst legally stating the areas in which pharmacists are competent in.

These are outstanding changes in the profession and pharmacy education, and they have occurred at a quick and steady pace over the past decade. In this sense, Brazil is clearly an example to follow internationally and a driving force in Latin-American pharmacy.

Gonçalo Sousa Pinto
FIP Liaison Officer for Latin-America