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Pharmacists combat antimicrobial resistance

Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals and are fully competent in all aspects of medicines. They serve as communicators and educators on healthy behaviours and infection prevention. They increase the coverage of immunisation in hard-to-reach groups, and are in a good position to explain the importance of using antimicrobials only when needed.

As highlighted in the FIP statement of policy “Mitigating antimicrobial resistance through antimicrobial stewardship”, pharmacists play a key role to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). They can support the antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) team by promoting the optimal use of antimicrobials, monitoring and auditing the prescriptions, and educating health professionals and patients, which may in turn lead to reduction in inappropriate antimicrobial use and/or unnecessary broad-spectrum antimicrobial use, improvement in patients’ clinical outcomes, reduction in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance and saving in the health care costs.

Pharmacists provide effective medication management for both short and long-term
treatments. They assess whether they can successfully treat a patient or whether
the patient needs to be referred to another healthcare professional.

Where pharmacists are legally allowed to prescribe antibiotics, fast and reliable
diagnostic tests can support them in the proper diagnosis of common infections such
as chlamydia or Lyme disease. In hospitals, pharmacists lead AMS programmes and are competent in infection control practices such as hygiene and sterilisation.

Pharmacists collect unused or waste medicines, reducing the contamination of
antimicrobials in the environment.

More information on pharmacists’ contribution can be found in the FIP report
Fighting antimicrobial resistance: The contribution of pharmacists”.         

What is FIP doing to stem AMR?

Policy and advocacy on AMR

FIP was pleased to contribute to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) consultations to develop the Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance that was subsequently adopted by the 68th World Health Assembly. Since then, FIP has been collaborating with the WHO on the plan’s implementation. For example, FIP was one of the reviewers of the WHO Competency Framework for Health Workers’ Education and Training on Antimicrobial Resistance. Consequently, FIP contributed to the WHO Health Workers’ Education and Training on Antimicrobial Resistance: Curriculum Guide. FIP’s contribution on both publications is acknowledged.

FIP represents voices of pharmacists at the World Health Assembly. At the 74th World Health Assembly in 2021, FIP reiterated to ministers that the pharmacy profession around the world is committed to being part of the solution to antimicrobial resistance.

Considering pharmacists’ contribution to combating AMR, antimicrobial stewardship is a key focus area for FIP, as indicated by FIP Development Goal 17 (Antimicrobial Stewardship).

The FIP Commission on AMR

FIP continues to facilitate the essential contributions of the pharmacy profession to AMR reduction around the world (e.g., through surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance, antibiotics distribution and regulation) and is driving action through the FIP Commission on AMR, which is comprised of pharmacy experts with international reach and diverse backgrounds. The commission is co-chaired by FIP vice president Ms Manjiri Gharat (India) and Prof. Cátia Caneiras (Portugal).

Taking an inclusive approach to antimicrobials (antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, biocides, disinfectants etc.), the commission is focused on:

  • Providing expertise and advice on AMR across research, pharmacy practice and education in order to inform FIP’s internal discussions (e.g., to appraise FIP’s strategic and policy recommendations) as well as FIP’s collaboration with external partners;
  • Delivering AMR-related events for World Antibiotic Awareness Week annually and ensuring the visibility of the FIP AMR agenda at all relevant FIP events and congresses;
  • Working with collaborators from public and private sphere;
  • Promoting focused education and training on AMR for undergraduate education and continuing professional development;
  • Advocating for optimised antimicrobial use, AMS and mitigating of AMR, in all resource settings;
  • Exploring global initiatives in AMR and opportunities for pharmacists’ involvement;
  • Supporting scientific research to generate knowledge and evidence on antimicrobials to rationalise antimicrobial use and minimise resistance.

The commission’s imminent AMR activities span education, policy and public health, with related work in the area of vaccination and safety of medicines. They are in line with the FIP Development Goal 17 (Antimicrobial stewardship) as well as 16 (Communicable disease) and 19 (Patient safety). For example, they include building a repository of resources for pharmacists in different settings and a broad engagement exercise during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, taking the form of a series of events that typically run in all six WHO regions.

In addition, FIP, through the commission, partnered with the Global Respiratory Infection Partnership, supported through unconditional funds by Reckitt, and developed the FIP Regional AMR Roadmaps. These identify regional initiatives to drive behaviour change and aid the global combat against AMR. The roadmaps run to 2030 and progress is revisited annually.

FIP’s position on AMR and recommendations to the profession are summarised in the Statement of Policy on the control of AMR. In 2023, the commission is updating the statement, to be adopted by the FIP Council in September.

FIP AMR Resource Repository

 Through the work of the AMR Commission, FIP has created a repository of AMR resources to support different countries with materials around AMR with a particular focus on activities and work being done by pharmacists globally.

The resources have been collated and organised by region and include educational materials, research publications, reports and courses that can be used globally to support the enhancement of the pharmacist’s role in AMS.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Celebrated annually, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

FIP was one of the contributors shaping the commemoration of the first ever WAAW, in collaboration with the WHO, in 2015. Since then, FIP has marked WAAW annually and supports aligning national AMR pharmacy campaigns.

At the last WAAW in November 2022, FIP promoted the awareness of AMR, strengthening AMS and supporting evidence-based interventions. FIP hosted two regional workshops: workshop 1 focused on the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and Americas regions; and workshop 2 focused on the Western Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa regions. During the workshops, regional educational and development headline needs in AMR and AMS were discussed. FIP Development Goal areas and the priority commitments for pharmacists’ organisations were presented. Inputs from the member organisations on how they can contribute to the FIP AMR 2023 plans were collected globally.

FIP and the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association worked together to organise an AMS in action webinar series. Various topics including the role of pharmacists in hospital AMS multidisciplinary team, the magnitude of the AMR threat, how antimicrobials are being used, how pharmacists can support AMS in community practice, and tools and resources to support AMS initiatives were introduced during the series.

Click for 2020, 2021, 2022 and future events.

FIP commitment on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) by 2030

The commission organised a plenary session named “Global, regional and national perspectives on the road map ahead for a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance” at the 2022 FIP congress in Seville. The session showcased member organisations’ AMR activities, initiatives and achievements. The discussions and deliberations culminated in a FIP commitment on AMR and AMS . This commitment includes various actions for education, practice, scientific research and workforce development. It will also enable themes to be actioned across nations and regions. FIP will ensure the sustainability of interventions to achieve AMS as far as is possible.

Upcoming events

FIP is organising a plenary session about “One Health” and “One FIP” approaches at FIP congress in Brisbane which will be held from 24 to 28 September 2023. To learn more about the congress, click here.

Last update 16 July 2024

FIP Congresses