Major pharmacy conference to discuss key challenges facing healthcare systems in Europe and the crucial role that community pharmacists play in the provision of cost-effective healthcare.
Wednesday, 3 June 2015.
A conference for community pharmacist organisations from all over Europe, being held in Dublin this week, will hear from a number of expert speakers including Annalisa Belloni, Health Policy Analyst from the OECD, on the challenges facing healthcare systems in Europe and how pharmacists have a key role in alleviating these pressures and supporting the provision of cost-effective healthcare in the future.
The conference titled “Promoting Efficiency, Improving Lives: How can pharmacy make a difference in the 21st century?” organised by the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), which began today, was addressed by Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar T.D. and Dr Vytenis Andrukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health.
Opening the event this morning, Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar T.D., highlighted the key role of community pharmacies throughout Europe. “As the frontline providers of medicines, community pharmacists are best placed of all health professionals to advocate responsible use of medicines. This is important to health policymakers, but can also achieve significant savings for the health service”.
He outlined that he was impressed at the commitment of pharmacists, including Irish pharmacists, to expand the role of community pharmacy in order to serve their patients. “I think there is further scope to expand the remit of community pharmacists to issues like medicine wastage, maximising patient adherence to medication, and additional measures to support and improve chronic disease management.”
He identified the issue of self-care as an important area for pharmacists, saying, “Irish pharmacists are keen to build on this further with a Minor Ailment Scheme. This would promote greater self-care and encourage innovative practices in the community to alleviate pressures on family doctors. My Department is commissioning an independent evidence review to examine the effectiveness of Minor Ailment Schemes in other countries, including some of those represented here today”.
Dr Vytenis Andrukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health, outlined that pharmacists have a key role in “shifting the focus from curing to prevention and promotion, which I believe is the right way to reduce the burden on the health systems, notably due to chronic diseases and premature deaths”. He highlighted the positive role that community pharmacists have in medicine adherence, ensuring that patients, particularly elderly patients, continue to take their medicines as prescribed. He also praised the role of pharmacists in highlighting the overuse of antibiotics and their promotion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
Darragh O’Loughlin, IPU Secretary General and PGEU President said, “It is great that such an important event in the European pharmacy calendar is being held in Dublin. We are delighted to be able to host this conference, which showcases the crucial role of pharmacists and highlights the significant contribution that the pharmacy sector makes towards improved health and wellbeing of communities in Europe and their central role, not only in primary care, but also in national health systems”.
PGEU’s members are the national associations and professional bodies of community pharmacists in 34 European countries including EU Member States, EU candidate countries and EEA/EFTA countries.