The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has called for expansion of pharmacists’ role to address the hazardous effects of air pollution on health.

“FIP believes that pharmacists, at the hearts of communities and uniquely positioned to triage and manage people with respiratory symptoms and diseases, have the potential to make a huge impact on health outcomes,” said FIP chief executive officer Dr Catherine Duggan, marking the United Nations’ International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on Tuesday (September 7).

The federation recommended pharmacy services such as smoking cessation, education on nasal hygiene and optimisation of inhaler technique for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, as well as services to address vaccine hesitancy and social vulnerability.

It further suggested incentivising such services and to scale up pharmacy education in this field.

FIP’s call for expansion of pharmacists’ role is based on priorities identified by a round table of experts organised by the federation in collaboration with The Clean Breathing Institute (TCBI) earlier this year.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is one of the top 10 threats to global health, which can cause cancer, stroke, allergies, and asthma, among other serious conditions.

Duggan added: “Our profession must be mobilised to act on this important issue.”

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