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The International Pharmaceutical Federation (IPF) and the WHO have jointly published a curriculum guide to educate pharmacy trainers on substandard and falsified (SF) medicines and prevent them from reaching patients.

The curriculum guide, which is expected help the pharmacists around the globe, is a tool for education on SF medical products. It contains a competency framework and practical tips and is supplemented with modules that align with the WHO prevention-detection-response strategy for SF. The guide will help the pharmacists to know how to

  • identify medicines at high-risk of being SF
  • prevent these products reaching the supply chain
  • report them to appropriate regulatory authorities, if they have, detect them
  • intervene to prevent patient from harm and other effects

These materials, which offer pharmacy educators teaching resources and practical guidance, were developed with the support of the European Commission, and in collaboration with the International Conference of French-Speaking Chambers of Pharmacists, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, and five universities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dominique Jordan, FIP president, said: “Healthcare professionals are key in detecting and reporting poor quality or fake medical products that have penetrated supply chains, as well as educating and advising patients who have been exposed to them. However, they cite a variety of barriers to reporting, including a lack of awareness and overcomplicated reporting systems.

“A solution proposed by the WHO was the production of a modular educational curriculum to improve reporting and interventions, and FIP is honoured to have taken on the challenge to develop this for future pharmacists.

Pernette Bourdillon-Esteve, Team Lead, Incidents and Substandard and Falsified Medical Products at WHO said: “SF medical products are a constant, pervasive and unacceptable public health threat. The WHO’s holistic strategy of prevention, detection and response to SF medical products requires full inclusion of pharmacists.

“The unique position of pharmacists as guardians of the supply chain’s integrity allows them to safeguard the quality and safety of medical products before distribution and their vigilance is indispensable.

However, too few pharmacists receive formal training on this issue during or after education. This project addresses the training gap in teaching institutions and advances the essential role of pharmacists.”

In 2017, the WHO estimated that one in 10 medicines in low- and middle-income countries was SF, risking harm to people and reducing the quality of patient care.

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