Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences
Société canadienne des sciences pharmaceutiques


COVID-19 Pandemic: FIP’s Latest Activities and Decisions

Message from Dominique Jordan, President, International Pharmaceutical Federation

It is a great sadness that we are beginning to hear of COVID-19 deaths among our profession. Our thoughts are with the families of these colleagues who have died looking after the health and well-being of others. If you know of further casualties, please notify FIP: we would like to pay our respects to these colleagues and their families. Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last. Be vigilant. Do not lower your guard. Protect your team with adapted measures. Helpful information can be found in FIP’s coronavirus/COVID-19 guidance.

FIP will continue to do its best to support its member organisations and pharmacists through this pandemic. I would like to update you on some of our recent activities and decisions.

Call to action to governments
On 27 March, we invited your input on a set of recommendations to governments and others in order to enable our profession to continue to provide pharmaceutical care and to support our health systems in this pandemic. We are now working with urgency to finalise these recommendations, taking into account all the responses received.

Medicines experts
Last month, as differing opinions were circulating about the safety of the use of ibuprofen, ACEIs, ARBs and corticosteroids during this pandemic, and impacting on medicines selection and supply, FIP issued a position statement based on the available scientific evidence. We are aware of public interest in treatments for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in particular. Unfortunately, deaths related to the unadvised use of non-medical and medical forms of these compounds have already been reported. The World Health Organization is spearheading a global trial of some of the most promising treatments. Currently there is little evidence about the treatments to use to fight this coronavirus and we await the findings of such clinical studies to confirm (or refute) the results from the limited clinical trials and clinical experience we have so far. Careful analysis of the evidence is required before any specific recommendation can be issued. In the meantime, I implore my fellow pharmacists all over the world to provide hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine only if they are prescribed. We must keep our medicines to treat patients who really need them. They should not be kept at home “just in case”. We will face an increasing number of shortages in the coming months. Already we are hearing of shortages of asthma inhalers. Be cautious in supplying medicines. It is a matter of solidarity.

COVID-19 resources shared globally
We are collating resources from our member organisations. So far, we have materials from nearly 20 countries and regions accessible here, and we will continue to add to this repository so that everyone can benefit from them. If you would like to add your initiatives and activities on coronavirus/COVID-19, please email fip@fip.org.

New webinar series
Next week, we will begin a series of weekly webinars “Responding to the pandemic together”. The webinars will aim to present and discuss latest guidance, implications and stories as we navigate through these challenging times together. The first webinar will be held on Wednesday 8 April, 15:00CET, and present the latest FIP guidance on COVID-19 for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce. Click here to register. Please let us know if your organisation would like to contribute to these webinars by showcasing the challenges you’re facing and helping others to learn from your responses (email Lina@fip.org).

Space dedicated to international dialogue 
We know there is a need among the profession for dialogue, exchanging information and sharing experiences across countries. To facilitate this, FIP has set up a Facebook group for all issues related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis and pharmacy. This group is open to all in our profession ― FIP members and beyond ― providing a forum to engage with colleagues around the world on the topic of coronavirus/COVID19 and continuing to provide the best pharmaceutical care during this pandemic.

World Health Day: 7 April
7 April, is World Health Day. The focus this year is on nurses and midwives, but also on healthcare workers on the frontline. FIP has worked with colleagues in Poland to put together a short campaign, which includes a video linked to our contribution to healthcare during this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic but also other disasters and the important role pharmacists have played throughout. The video can be found here. FIP is inviting you and will ask other colleagues around the world to speak up for our profession and for pharmacists on the front line on social media by making a P sign with their hands.

I ask your support in helping to disseminate this campaign. I’m sure you will agree that now is an important time to show solidarity and a good opportunity to advocate for our profession as One FIP.

I thank you for the work you are doing to support the pharmacy profession and population in your countries at this critical time. I know the risks and the difficulties we meet in our daily work. Because of travel bans, I have been able to work a bit more in my pharmacy, sharing the risks but also the satisfaction of serving my community.

Please continue to let us know what we can do to further support you (fip@fip.org).