The importance of pharmacists mitigating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through antimicrobial stewardship is the subject of an updated policy statement published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) as it calls for action this World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week.
The statement of policy emphasises the vital role of pharmacists in leading the fight against AMR and encourages collaboration between governments, policymakers and national pharmacy organisations.
A revised version of its 2017 statement of policy on the control of AMR, the document offers up-to-date recommendations to reflect current issues around the regulation and monitoring of antimicrobial consumption and their routes of access, as well as data availability in humans and animals.
It aims to focus government efforts and mobilise society to tackle this global public health emergency.
In particular, the statement draws attention to associated challenges, which include inadequate surveillance and monitoring, unreliable supply chain, sub-optimal medicines regulation and enforcement, and inadequate infection prevention and control, as well as poor water sanitation and hygiene.
The recommendations for governments and policymakers cover the establishment of governance and regulations, embracing the ‘One Health’ approach, monitoring antimicrobial use and consumption, and leading education and awareness campaigns to overcome these challenges.
The statement encourages stakeholders to take action to facilitate the registration of new or existing antimicrobials, providing appropriate economic incentives to encourage their development and commercial availability, and to allow pharmacists to produce essential antibiotics in cases of shortage.
Crucial leadership role for pharmacists
Among the 26 recommendations specifically for pharmacists, FIP highlights pharmacists’ key role in the education of healthcare professionals and the public about AMR.
The recommendations encourage the profession to ‘recognise and embrace their leadership role in mitigating AMR and advancing antimicrobial stewardship’ and support appropriate prescribing and management throughout the whole patient journey.
The publication of the policy statement comes after FIP called for the strengthening of education on antimicrobial resistance and stewardship for pharmacists and trainees earlier this week.
Manjiri Gharat, FIP vice president, co-chair of the FIP Commission on AMR and co-lead of this policy committee, said: ‘This new policy replaces one published by FIP in 2017. It makes a strong call on pharmacists to embrace leadership roles in mitigating AMR and advancing antimicrobial stewardship.
‘Pharmacists are also urged to encourage competent authorities to involve them in national and local immunisation programmes, especially for vulnerable populations, to help reduce the need to use antibiotics.’
She continued: ‘In addition, the statement calls on pharmacists to encourage the use of point-of-care diagnostic tools to screen for early signs of infectious diseases, as well as to advocate for an environmentally conscious approach and the application of green pharmacy principles throughout the lifecycle of antibiotics.’
A number of commitments from FIP are also set out in the policy statement, including to support scientific research and evidence-based information to advance knowledge on the effective, safe and responsible use of antimicrobials in communities and other healthcare settings.
Cross-sectoral cooperation on AMR
As World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week draws to a close, FIP has united with a number of global health organisations in a joint statement highlight the need for cross-sectoral cooperation to combat AMR.
Released in anticipation of the 2024 United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AMR, the joint statement calls for actions spanning appropriate antimicrobial use and surveillance, supporting prevention measures, fostering innovation, ensuring access to new technologies and addressing the environmental impact of antibiotics.
It aims to combat AMR by aligning with WHO guidelines, promoting global cooperation, urging inclusive clinical trials and promoting responsible manufacturing standards.
Other organisations involved in the joint statement include the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations, the IAPO Patients for Patient Safety Observatory and its AMR Patient Alliance, the International Council of Nurses, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations and the World Medical Association.