The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has issued call to action to governments to support frontline pharmacy teams.

On Tuesday (April 14), it asked governments and other stakeholders to put in place urgent measures so that pharmacists can play an even greater part in the fight against coronavirus/COVID-19.

The FIP’s measures include recognition for pharmacists and pharmacy staff as key workers; access to appropriate protective equipment; tests for coronavirus; funding for home delivery of medicines to patients who must stay at home; identification of and mitigation plans for medicines at risk of shortages; and financial aid to pharmacies in the event of temporary closure for health reasons.

It has also call for appropriate services to be put in place to support mental health and well-being of pharmacy teams, and asked governments and other stakeholders to ensure that pharmacists are getting adequate breaks during their shifts and time-off between shifts.

“The valuable service that pharmacists and their teams provide to communities, and their important contribution to easing the huge strain being placed on health systems during the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is now clearer than ever,” said FIP President Mr Dominique Jordan.

He added: “Pharmacists at community and hospital pharmacies and clinical biology laboratories are sharing in the enormous pressure of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus disease. Sadly, we have already witnessed pharmacist deaths related to COVID-19 and many pharmacists have patients who have died because of the infection.”

The FIP demands authorising and harnessing the network of pharmacies to contribute to mass testing across populations and further investment in and development of infrastructure to ensure health systems are ready for mass immunisation when COVID-19 vaccines are available.

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