World Pharmacy Council meeting

Date: 8 June 2022

The World Pharmacy Council (WPC) met in Paris from 20-22 May 2022 for its annual conference.

The mission of the WPC is to build international recognition of community pharmacy, its role and value, and to influence, promote and secure acceptance of community pharmacy as an important and integral part of health systems. WPC members are pharmacy representative organisations in each of Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Part of this conference was attended also by guests from pharmacy organisations in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The Guild, as a founding member of WPC and the only Australian member, was represented by National President Professor Trent Twomey and Executive Director Suzanne Greenwood. The WPC’s Chief Economist, Stephen Armstrong, is also an Economic Advisor to the Guild.

Importantly, the WPC is a member of the Associate Expert Group of Business at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), providing it with a real voice on the international stage. The meeting included two interactive sessions with representatives from the OECD, including the head of its Health Division, Francesca Colombo.

The OECD, as a key influencer of health policy internationally, has a major focus on reviewing and strengthening the resilience of health systems. The OECD’s speakers recognised the essential and expanded role community pharmacies around the world have had during the pandemic – including when other healthcare providers were closed or reverted to remote consultations. WPC members pointed out that community pharmacy networks have been the key in ensuring the resilience and adaptability of health systems and emphasised the importance of permanently enabling new authorities and roles – such as expanded vaccination scope, medication continuance, public health and social care roles, greater common ailment treatment and triage, and others – and of ensuring their viability. In doing so, each part of the health system can operate to its full scope and potential, resulting in greater system-wide productivity and to greatly improved ability to cope with future shocks.

Despite differences in government policy and health systems across WPC members, there was significant commonality in terms of current opportunities and issues facing community pharmacy. Some of the key points discussed and shared at the meeting included:

  1. Major community pharmacy achievements and advancements related to COVID-19 have resulted in significantly broader support and acceptance (especially from patients and often by governments) of roles beyond dispensing.
  2. The main threats to current progress include (a) workforce capacity constraints, (b) the temporary nature of some new authorities, and (c) the financial viability of services.
  3. Rapid digital transformation including e-scripts and greater use of shared health records.
  4. Several governments are examining different funding and implementation models for health care, in recognition that the current model is not fit for purpose.

Future WPC initiatives agreed at the meeting, in addition to working with the OECD on its Health Resilience Campaign, included: building the case for community pharmacy supply and administration of specialty medicines; quantifying the cost of non-adherence to medication regimes and the economic benefit of community pharmacy adherence support; examining the causes of current pharmacy workforce shortages, and potential solutions; and the development of technology-enabled services by community pharmacy to improve patient care.

For more information, see World Pharmacy Council.

Contact: The Guild
Phone: 13GUILD

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Page last updated on: 08 June 2022