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Involving pharmacists in preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) makes the implementation of successful policies more likely. This is the view of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) given in a briefing document released today to mark the start of the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week.
“Fighting antimicrobial resistance: The contribution of pharmacists” presents the causes and consequences of AMR, and points to the need for better management and policies. Antimicrobials are used in inappropriate ways all over the world. The document highlights, for instance, a patient practice of keeping antibiotics from uncompleted courses for later use for self-diagnosed conditions or by family or friends. The cost to lives and to health care systems resulting from suboptimal antimicrobial medicines use cannot be afforded, FIP says. The federation also warns that the responsible use of antimicrobials remains crucial; or else new medicines may become ineffective too soon.
The publication documents what pharmacists have already been doing to avoid the further emergence of AMR, offering a menu of solutions drawn from around the world. These range from giving advice on influenza immunisation (thereby avoiding subsequent bacterial superinfections) and responsible prescribing of trimethoprim by pharmacists to treat urinary tract infections, to stewardship programmes to optimise antibiotic prescribing in hospitals, and the collection of left-over antibiotics.
“This briefing document shows just how much pharmacists can contribute to the fight against AMR. It is, therefore, crucial that pharmacists are included in all AMR policies. The objective of the document is to nurture discussion between stakeholders, providing a foundation for the formulation of recommendations and policy, said Luc Besançon, FIP CEO and General Secretary.
“One of the aims of the WHO global action plan to tackle AMR is to improve awareness and understanding. A goal of World Antibiotic Awareness Week is to encourage action among health workers and policymakers, as well as the public. FIP’s briefing document will assist those actions,” Mr Besançon added.