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More attention needs to be paid to improving the quality of medicines information resources, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has said in a new Statement of Policy “Strategic development of medicines information for the benefit of patients and users of medicines”. This statement, launched today, is an update to the federation’s 2008 statement “Medicines information for patients”. In particular, it highlights the importance of the strategic development of medicines information, and describes short-, medium- and long-term outcomes of this approach. “Medicines information strategies are understood as the processes, legislation, guidelines and/or policies which facilitate how medicines information can be developed, implemented and disseminated to health care professionals and patients or consumers,” said Professor Parisa Aslani, president of FIP’s Health and Medicines Information Section.
Short-term outcomes include improved adherence to treatments, medium-term outcomes include improved communication between health care professionals, and long-term outcomes include improved self care.
As in its 2008 statement, FIP makes recommendations for governments, member organisations and pharmacists, but the new statement also makes recommendations to pharmaceutical and health industries (e.g., that they should provide regularly updated, reliable information on medicinal products) and to educational institutions that train health care professionals (e.g., that courses should include the use of medicines information databases).
“Medicines information can be inaccurate, overwhelming, biased or misunderstood, which presents potential health risks. It is imperative that national medicines policies acknowledge the need for quality medicines information, and that these policies recognise pharmacists as being key in informing patients and fellow health care professionals about medicines,” Professor Aslani said.
The new statement follows the release in January 2017 of the FIP report “Medicines information: Strategic development”, which set out a vision for collaboration and action towards achieving high quality medicines information around the world.