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Pharmacists are developing more opportunities to increase their contributions to self-care, new FIP report says

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The Hague • 12 December 2023

Pharmacists’ current understandings and views about self-care are presented in a new publication launched by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) today.

The report, “Community pharmacy insights: Supporting the need for self-care”, is the latest output of the FIP Multinational Needs Assessment Programme (MNAP). This programme reflects country level needs in order to provide evidence-based policy support for workforce development, mapped against the 21 FIP Development Goals, which align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda. The report presents the findings of an online questionnaire (238 respondents from 55 countries), short interviews, and a literature review, aiming to describe pharmacists’ understanding of the concept of self-care and assess further needs related to education and training.

Among the findings is confirmation that the majority of respondents believe that pharmacists should be actively supporting and promoting self-care. Pharmacists and pharmacy teams are developing more opportunities to extend their contributions and behaviours to facilitate self-care support for better patient health outcomes, the authors write. Educating and advising patients about their self-limiting conditions emerged as the most commonly employed approach reported by respondents (79.4%), followed by advising on the use of medication for self-limiting conditions (74.4%) and providing medicines to patients (59.2%). Health education websites are the most widely employed resources used by the respondents to support self-care (44.5%) with similar use of health tracking apps (36.6%) and diagnostic tests (29.8%).

“The primary healthcare context is evolving rapidly, driven by an increasing emphasis on self-care where appropriate. Empowering patients with self-care is a significant way in which pharmacists can support universal health coverage and, as evident throughout this report, community pharmacists recognise the importance of being able to offer effective support activities,” said Professor Ian Bates, Director of the FIP Global Pharmaceutical Observatory.

However, the report also highlights substantial barriers towards optimising self-care activities and enhancing better outcomes in this area, such as inadequate funding and limited access to patient records. It also identifies key themes that could improve community pharmacy practice and overall management for better self-care support delivery, including better use of digital self-care tools and healthcare technologies.

“Educating and training pharmacists to support self-care remains a necessity to bring tangible benefits to patients. This can enhance patients’ health literacy and awareness and assist them to better care for themselves, enhancing economic impacts and maintaining sustainable and efficient services,” Professor Bates said.

Notes for editors

FIP’s MNAP is powered by the FIP Global Pharmaceutical Observatory, which is committed to building intelligence in the development of the pharmaceutical workforce across multiple countries.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, and is in official relations with the World Health Organization. Through our 156 member organisations, we represent over four million practitioners and scientists around the world. Our vision is a world where everyone benefits from access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and pharmaceutical care.

Lin-Nam Wang, head of communications & advocacy
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
Tel +31 70 302 1987

Last update 5 July 2018

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