BETHESDA, MD 15 November 2012—The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) celebrated its 100th anniversary with the aptly named Centennial Congress in the country that the organization has always called home, the Netherlands.
More than 5500 people attended the October 3–8 meeting or related events in Amsterdam, said FIP Vice President Philip J. Schneider, a cochair of the congress’s program committee and associate dean at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Phoenix.
This congress’s main theme was "Improving Health Through Responsible Medicines Use."
Declaration of responsibility, accountability. A representative of each of FIP’s 127 member organizations signed the Centennial Declaration on October 4 during a special ceremony, Schneider said.
Paul W. Abramowitz, chief executive officer (CEO) of ASHP, signed the declaration on behalf of the 40,000-member organization.
The declaration starts with the following paragraph: "Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical scientists accept responsibility and accountability for improving global health and patient health outcomes by closing gaps in the development, distribution, and responsible use of medicines. Society can contribute to these objectives by supporting the advancement of pharmacy practice and the pharmaceutical sciences."
Schneider said the idea of a declaration on the occasion of FIP’s centennial came in part from his witnessing U.S. hospital pharmacists, in a series of written consensus statements that emerged from the 1985 Hilton Head Conference, declare that "from here on in, pharmacy’s a clinical profession."
The series of statements developed at the Hilton Head Conference marked a turning point for U.S. hospital pharmacists, he said. They expanded their focus to the use of medicines, no longer focusing solely on supply and distribution.
With the economic climates in Europe and elsewhere now encouraging "free competition," which threatens the viability of independent community pharmacists and pharmacist-owned pharmacies, Schneider said he and other leaders saw the opportunity for FIP to make its own statement on the future of the pharmacy profession.
Schneider said many people in FIP initially did not understand the meaning of accountability or social responsibility.
Whether the declaration achieves its intent, he said, will depend on whether FIP’s member organizations work in their countries to follow through on the agreed-to commitments.
The declaration can be downloaded from www.fip.org/statements.
Awards. FIP presented its highest award in pharmacy practice to Charles D. Hepler, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in Gainesville. He was the recipient of the highest award in health-system pharmacy, ASHP’s Harvey A. K. Whitney Lecture Award, in 2010.
In prepared remarks at the award ceremony, Chairman of the Board of Pharmaceutical Practice Andrew L. Gray of South Africa said Hepler had done more than almost any other person in the past three decades to shape the practice of pharmacy.
Hepler wrote the 1985 article "Pharmacy as a Clinical Profession" (Am J Hosp Pharm. 1985; 42:1298-306) and cowrote the 1990 article "Opportunities and Responsibilities in Pharmaceutical Care" (Am J Hosp Pharm. 1990; 47:533-43). The latter paper, according to Gray, became a near-universal citation in articles on pharmaceutical care.
FIP accorded the status of fellow to 13 people, including ASHP members Ema Paulino of Portugal and Hitoshi Saski of Japan.
ASHP in Amsterdam. ASHP had a poster in the special "village" where member organizations could profile themselves, said Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, an ASHP vice president who attended the congress.
He said ASHP’s poster highlighted the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative, management of drug shortages, and other Society initiatives, such as residency program accreditation.
Stephen J. Allen, CEO of the ASHP Research and Education Foundation, provided the U.S. perspective at the educational session "Pharmacy Practice Research—Proving the Value of the Pharmacist Now and in the Future."
Stakeholders, health ministers. In conjunction with the congress, FIP held a series of invitation-only stakeholder roundtables on the following topics: "The Right Medicine to the Right Patient," "Adherence," "The Transformative Power of Shared Information in Health Systems," and "Innovation."
FIP presented the conclusions from the first three of those roundtables to the Ministers Summit on The Added Value of Responsible Medicines Use, held on October 3.
Schneider said ministers of health, who are the highest appointed official on the subject in their respective countries, have only a generic knowledge of health care. FIP envisioned that the conclusions from its roundtables would provide the ministers a foundation for their closed-door discussions, Schneider said.
Scott F. Giberson, chief pharmacy officer for the U.S. Public Health Service, was one of the panelists for the roundtables.
In a video interview with an FIP reporter, Giberson said pharmacists, if they were to assume an expanded role in the chronic care of patients, could increase access to care and help countries manage their resources.
"I believe in matching the need with the capacity we have," he said. "We have extensive training and education on chronic care and chronic disease management. And I think we should be able to utilize that in how we treat patients, in how we care for the patients."
Another participant was Dennis K. Helling, executive director of pharmacy operations and therapeutics for Kaiser Permanente in Denver.
He told an onsite FIP reporter that the most important outcome of the roundtable on shared information was acknowledgment that electronic medical records and clinical decision support are platforms, not solutions.
"Alone, they do not improve patient care," Helling said. "It takes a culture of an organization and the empowerment of . . . the health care team members, especially the pharmacists, to be involved in the improvement of patient care outcomes."
The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport had overall responsibility for the summit. FIP CEO Ton Hoek, who died July 28, had served on the summit’s program committee.
At the press conference after the summit, Dutch Minister Edith Schippers said she came away with the main conclusion that governments, to achieve rational use of medicines, need the participation of every stakeholder.
FIP said the Republic of Ireland’s Ministry of Health will organize a follow-up event in 2013.
Upcoming events. The 2013 FIP Congress is scheduled to occur August 31 to September 5 in Dublin, Ireland. Sessions at the event will relate to the theme "Towards a Future Vision for Complex Patients: Integrated Care in a Dynamic Continuum."
Schneider said FIP plans to conduct an invitation-only conference on drug shortages in May or June 2013.
He said FIP has already started its search for a new CEO and plans to announce its new hire next year.