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European pharmacists all set to meet in Vienna

The EAHP Congress is the largest conference for hospital pharmacists in Europe – approximately 2,500 will attend from all over Europe, and an increasing number come from countries further afield, including the USA, Australia and South Africa. This year’s Congress is to take place in the Austrian capital Vienna from 20 to 22 March.

The EAHP was founded in 1972 and represents approximately 14,000 pharmacists from 22 European countries. When an individual pharmacist is a member of their national hospital pharmacy organisation, they are automatically a member of the EAHP.

The EAHP exists to develop hospital pharmacy and support the advancement of the position and role of pharmacists in hospitals. It also lobbies the European Union on behalf of hospital pharmacists (within EU states) and promotes cooperation with other organisations, such as the European Pharmaceutical Students Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). In fact, an agreement with the ASHP allows EAHP members to purchase ASHP books and other educational and practice materials at reduced prices.

The Congress
Each year the Congress has a theme that is represented in around 40% of the sessions. This year’s theme is “Oncology”. As the practice of pharmacy in hospitals differs greatly across Europe and the EAHP is a generalist organisation, the Scientific Committee also includes a diverse range of other topics in the programme.

The scientific sessions and keynote lectures are all delivered in English. This year we have presenters from Belgium, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

In addition to the full scientific programme, the Congress also hosts a major pharmaceutical industry exhibition and industry-sponsored symposia. Exhibitors range from manufacturers of ­pharma­ceuticals to (an increasing number of) information technology and robotics companies – a reflection on the current direction of practice.

The 2002 programme
There are 10 workshops – each held twice. In addition  to these, there are three keynote lectures, one each day of the Congress.

The opening ceremony is on Wednesday 20 March. The keynote speaker is Dr John Ioannidis (Greece), who will discuss the evidence base for the treatment and success rates for cancer chemotherapy as well as the meta-epidemiology of disease and treatment.

The other two keynote speakers address very different but crucially important topics for pharmacy staff. Dr Mario Alonso (Spain) will talk about the key issues relating to “team building”. Prof Lennart Levi (Sweden) will present his talk entitled “Work-related stress: the Spice of Life or Kiss of Death” – that should ring true to many of us in the current working environment.

Denise Blake and Graeme Kirkpatrick (UK) will discuss the pharmacist as a member of the oncology team and the palliative care team respectively.

The development and introduction of new drugs is a common challenge for all hospital pharmacists. Hans-Peter Lipp (Germany) and Ana Clopes (Spain) will present their experience.

The role of nutrition in the care of cancer patients is crucial to their management. Vasilios Alivizatos and Maria Skouriolakis (Greece) will share their expertise in treating these patients.

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a problem encountered in all areas of drug use. Anne Lee and Jill McIntyre (UK) will discuss ADRs. Anne will present on ADRs in general, while Jill will concentrate on the specific problems encountered in cancer patients.

Contamination risks from the handling of cytotoxic drugs are a very real hazard for staff. Johan Vandenbroucke (Belgium) will discuss the work he has carried out in this field. Colin Davey from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK will present on the joint approach between the HSE, the Medicines Control Agency and the hospital service regarding the optimum safe environment for handling these drugs.

Continuing on this theme of managing the “downside” of medicines usage, we are very pleased to welcome Susan Proulx (USA) from the Institute of Safe Medicines Practice (ISMP). The ISMP is the premier organisation in the world for examining medication errors, their causes and identifying the preventive action necessary to make medicine use safer. Susan is President – Medical Error, Recognition and Revision Strategies subsidiary of the ISMP. This area of their work particularly focuses on the role of packaging and labelling in the causation of medication-related errors. Susan is joined by Maria Jose Otero (Spain), who will relate her experience in one of the first outposts of the ISMP in Europe.

Research is key to the future of pharmacy practice and the development of the profession. Chris Cairns (UK; Editor of HPE) will present a session on how to identify a project, obtain funding, and carry out the research correctly. Hopefully he will also provide the key to getting a paper published at the end of all the hard work.

Psychiatry has featured in the Congress programme previously. It is an area of significant innovation in drug design. John Donoghue (UK) will discuss the new therapies available for the treatment of dementia, and Corinne Zondag (Netherlands) will outline the role that drug information can play in supporting the appropriate and informed use of medicines in psychiatry.

The EAHP is pleased to collaborate with the European Industrial Pharmacists Group (EIPG) in presenting a joint session in Vienna. The topic will be the new EC directive on the management of clinical trials. John Jolley, representing the EIPG, will discuss the role of the qualified person in clinical trials. Views on the potential impact of the new regulations on ­hospital pharmacists will also be presented.

Last but by no means least, we have Dr Arnold Vulto (Netherlands) who will address the influence of genomics on pharmacotherapy. Dr Vulto is an expert in this rapidly developing area. Ana Ortega (Spain) will share her experience in the safe handling of these new agents from her involvement in clinical trials in her hospital.

And if that is not enough …
There looks to be something for everyone at the 2002 Congress. If you can manage to drag yourself away from the science you will find yourself in an exceptionally historic, artistic and architecturally stunning city. The grandeur of the Hapsburg palaces, the music of Mozart, Schubert and the Strauss family, the art of Klimt – all that and more make Vienna a fabulous conference setting. Finally, if in the birthplace of Marie Antoinette you fancy some cake – don’t miss the Sachertorte!

So come to Vienna with the EAHP and have a ball!

European Association of Hospital Pharmacists
For more information about the EAHP Congress, contact:
EAHP Congress Secretariat
c/o Medicultura France SARL
Le Travez
81260 Brassac
T:+33 563 744300
F:+33 563 744304

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