Pharmacist-led common ailments schemes: A global intelligence report

 Community pharmacists around the world can and do provide early and meaningful interventions in a range of common conditions on account of the ease of access of their pharmacies to patients. This is the central message of a new report published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) today.

“Pharmacist-led common ailments schemes: A global intelligence report” outlines examples of such interventions and explains how they reduce pressure on general practitioners and emergency departments, thereby contributing to more efficient health care systems.

The report draws together data from 24 countries and highlights case studies from nine countries. These data indicate that while most countries supporting the implementation of common ailments schemes have professional standards in place, the specifics of these standards and remuneration frameworks vary considerably. In addition, the data demonstrate the challenges faced by pharmacists wishing to implement common ailments schemes and show that fostering a collaborative ethos between other members of the primary healthcare team and pharmacists remains crucial.

Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, FIP lead for practice development and transformation, and editor of the report, said that the report puts a spotlight on existing models and aims to encourage FIP member organisations to advocate leveraging pharmacies for this type of service. “Naturally, these services need to be based on formal common ailment schemes that define clinical management protocols, including prescribing authority in certain areas, and they need to be adequately funded to ensure equitable access and service sustainability.”

Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin, vice president of the FIP Community Pharmacy Section, chaired the insight board that was part of the process leading up to the report. She said: “It’s fascinating to note that there are different interpretations and definitions of what a common ailment scheme is. Nevertheless, pharmacists’ fundamental and pivotal role in delivering these programmes remains constant, whether remunerated or not. These programmes contribute to the sustainability of health care systems. This FIP report will be invaluable to inform the future international development of common ailment schemes through exchanging evidence and experiences from individual countries.”

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