New Medicine Service
(Photo: TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images).

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) on Thursday published detailed guidelines for pharmacists across the world on how to deal with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The document, titled Coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak: Information and interim guidelines for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce, is developed by an emergency FIP taskforce comprised of a virologist as well as a pharmacist from China.

The document explains how pharmacists in community, hospital and clinical biology settings can play their roles in preventing the spread of the deadly disease. It gives information on topics such as coronavirus, preventive measures, wearing a mask, doing effective disinfection, equipments to stock, advice that pharmacists can give to people and laboratory testing.

“Since pharmacies are often the first point of contact with the health system and given that cases have already been seen in a number of countries, it is important that the whole pharmacy workforce is well informed and prepared,” said taskforce chair Jane Dawson, who is also secretary of FIP’s Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section and director of health policy for the New Zealand Defence Force.

“As demonstrated by previous SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV outbreaks, coronavirus infections can be contained through the active engagement of decision-makers, healthcare professionals and the community. This guidance is a valuable resource to ensure preparedness of our workforce in combating this new coronavirus and perhaps future ones. It also highlights the huge benefit of international collaboration via FIP,”  she said.

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