FIP updates policy on pharmacists’ roles in disaster management

Having a local disaster and emergency response plan and participating in preparedness training are among seven recommendations for pharmacists made in an International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) policy statement on the role of pharmacists in disaster and emergency management published October 6.
“Disasters and emergencies have been on the rise, and the complexity and severity of their impacts are likely to increase due to factors such as climate change, displacement, conflict, rapid and unplanned urbanisation, technological hazards and public health emergencies. Pharmacists play a critical role in ensuring that people have access to essential medicines and medical supplies during disasters and emergencies. By planning and preparing for such events, pharmacists maintain or increase the capacity of the population to respond to and recover from them,” says Dr Sylvain Grenier, president of FIP’s Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section and co-chair of the FIP policy committee that developed the statement.
The new statement replaces a 2017 FIP policy on this topic. It makes clear that ongoing planning and preparation are essential and calls for pharmacists’ expertise to be utilised in all phases of disaster and emergency management — risk mitigation, readiness, and response and recovery. Governments and policy makers should ensure that pharmacists with relevant expertise are part of ministries and permanent civil protection structures both at local and national levels, the federation says.
The statement also makes recommendations for pharmacy professional associations and academic institutions, including on capacity-building and researching pharmacy practice during emergencies, respectively.
“Pharmacists have an ethical duty to provide aid to others in disaster situations. With this updated policy, FIP is further supporting them in this role as well as setting out its own commitments to this important area. These include creating visibility for the specific role of pharmacists in disaster and emergency situations and encouraging colleagues around the world to engage in humanitarian activities,” Dr Grenier says.