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Tobacco cessation: FIP makes joint statement with the WHO and publishes new global intelligence report

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The Hague • 31 May 2024

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are urging national tobacco control programmes and pharmacy associations to develop and implement plans to engage more pharmacists in advancing tobacco cessation. A joint statement, issued by the two organisations today — on World No Tobacco Day — describes a number of ways in which tobacco control programmes and pharmacy associations can work together towards this goal. These include: providing joint leadership in developing policy guidance and resource mobilisation, undertaking training of pharmacists to enable effective delivery of tobacco cessation services, and promoting rational use of proven over-the-counter and prescription tobacco cessation medicines.

“This statement builds on our federation’s previous collaboration with the WHO on engaging pharmacists in tobacco cessation, including in the development of tobacco cessation tools. It highlights the important role of pharmacists in preventing the harms of tobacco use and nicotine dependence. FIP and the WHO are committed to strengthening joint efforts against tobacco use,” said Mr Paul Sinclair, president, FIP.

“In response to the urgent need to help the over 1.25 billion global tobacco users quit all nicotine and tobacco products, this statement calls for a collaborative effort among healthcare professionals," said Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of the No Tobacco Unit at the WHO. "Specifically, it advocates for national action to empower all pharmacists to routinely provide tobacco cessation support. If every pharmacist identifies and advises just one tobacco user to quit each day, this collective action could reach over 4 million users in a single day.”

The statement calls for pharmacists to adopt a sustainable and synergistic approach to tobacco cessation and nicotine dependence. It also emphasises the need for continuous innovation in enhancing the role of pharmacists to effectively respond to the public health challenges posed by tobacco.

The latest global intelligence from FIP on pharmacist-led tobacco cessation services is also published today. A new FIP report presents the findings of a literature review and a survey of FIP member organisations in 78 countries, shedding light on service availability, scope, funding mechanisms, remuneration models and regulatory frameworks. Tobacco cessation pharmacy services were found in over 65% (51) of the countries and ranged from initiating tobacco-cessation discussions to prescribing nicotine replacement therapy and other medicines. Legislation to expand pharmacists’ prescribing authority to include tobacco cessation medicines would increase uptake of tobacco cessation services by removing the need to obtain a prescription from a medical doctor for the pharmacotherapy to be covered by insurance services, the authors say.

Best practices from 36 countries and the tools used by pharmacists to enhance their service delivery are shared in the report. “We found that tobacco cessation interventions provided by pharmacists are strongly correlated with health outcomes, economic savings, increased health system efficiency and reduced burden on other healthcare sectors,” said Mr Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, FIP lead for practice transformation and editor of the report.

The research also highlights that lower-income countries are less likely to offer tobacco cessation services. “According to the WHO, around 80% of the 1.25 billion tobacco users around the world live in low-and middle-income countries where the burden of tobacco-related disease and death is heaviest. We need advocacy and targeted interventions to ensure equitable access to tobacco cessation services and products across all income levels,” Mr Sousa Pinto said.

Of the 51 countries where pharmacist-led tobacco cessation services are available, 68% (35) reported that pharmacies do not receive remuneration for any of these services. Where remuneration exists, models include direct payment by the patient or customer, reimbursement by public health systems, and reimbursement from private health insurance companies.

Notes for editors

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmaceutical educators, and is in official relations with the World Health Organization. Through our 153 member organisations, we represent over four million practitioners, scientists and educators 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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