Non-communicable diseases tool

14 December 2022

Regulators, ministries of health, policymakers and national pharmacy organisations are being encouraged to assess regulations in their country related to pharmacy-based care of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with a development tool available from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

Against the backdrop of major challenges that NCDs present to health systems and inadequate numbers of sufficiently trained healthcare providers, enhancing the role of the pharmacist and the availability of primary healthcare services in community pharmacy is a global imperative.

FIP has been addressing needs in this area through its Practice Transformation Programme on NCDs and the “Management of non-communicable diseases: Regulatory self-assessment and development tool for transforming pharmacy practice” is the program’s latest output. 

The tool has been developed by an expert group gathered under the auspices of the FIP Forum of Pharmacy Professional Regulators.

It is based on their experiences from countries where pharmacy services targeting NCDs (including testing, measurement of parameters, such as blood pressure and peak expiratory volume, and prescribing or modifying prescriptions) have been successfully introduced and regulated, and on researched pharmacy practice legislation from around the world.

Chair of the FIP Forum of Pharmacy Professional Regulators, Ronald Guse, said some countries had drafted and enacted enabling legislation to position the pharmacist to provide patient care to meet NCD needs while safely filling in some of the gaps that exist.

“This resource provides an excellent template to assess the status of pharmacy practice regarding NCDs as well as being an invaluable tool for countries that currently do not have pharmacists involved in an expanded scope in this area,” he said.

In some countries expanded, advanced or specialised pharmacy practice exists or can be certified, and there may be a preference to use terms like “advanced practice pharmacist”, “extended practice pharmacist” or “clinical pharmacist”.

In other countries, pharmacists may acquire the competence to provide expanded services for NCDs as part of their foundational education and training and there is no need for designations or a separate register to set different levels of practice.

“This tool may be useful for developing strategies or enabling regulatory frameworks in countries where pharmacists have a limited role in NCD care, testing and treatment strategies. Enacting new or changing existing legislation can be a slow process. The key is to create enabling legislation and include further descriptors and limitations in regulations.  This creates a simpler and more agile process, and is supported by this tool,” Mr Guse said.

“This regulatory self-assessment tool is not specific to one NCD area, but rather describes and enables broader roles for pharmacists. Although it focuses on community pharmacy practice and enhancing accessibility to primary health care, it can also be applied to pharmacists practising in hospitals, long-term care facilities or other patient-centred care settings.”

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Page last updated on: 16 December 2022