Mr. McAllister is a health-systems consultant based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
I have attended several meetings of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) over the last 15 years. I always learn something new at these meetings, and I have met many pharmacist colleagues who practice pharmacy in other countries. I return home having validated how fortunate we are to have the resources we take for granted in terms of staff, practice freedom, technology, and sometimes even drug inventory. Also, I have encountered pharmacists from other countries whose practice may be even further advanced than that of many of my US colleagues. The FIP Congress is consistently engaging, enjoyable, and educational, and the venues bring another educational dimension to the meeting.
The 68th FIP Congress will be held in Basel, Switzerland, from September 1 to 4,2008, and the provisional program and registration can be found at www.fip.org Preceding the meeting, the Hospital Pharmacy Section of FIP is hosting a Global Conference on the Future of Hospital Pharmacy from August 30 to 31. Global Conference organizers describe this as a unique opportunity to develop a strategic plan for the development of hospital pharmacy in all countries. As can be seen on the Web site, www.fip.org/ globalhosp, registrants will have an opportunity to offer comments related to the future of international pharmacy practice during several plenary sessions and numerous working groups. The major topics to be addressed include procurement of medicines, preparation and delivery of medicines, prescribing of medicines, administration of medicines, monitoring the outcomes of therapy, and human resources and training in hospital pharmacy.
Conference planners have recognized that hospital pharmacy practice varies widely both within and among countries and is reflective of cultural characteristics of each country, practical differences, and other determinants.
The FIP Hospital Pharmacy Section also has recognized the need for a clear and well-supported vision on the preferred future of hospital pharmacy practice that articulates stages of evolution in the development of hospital pharmacy practice and practical guidance on how to foster a country?s development of hospital pharmacy practice that is consistent with the country?s needs.
Pharmacists who practice in the United States have a great deal to contribute by sharing our successes and helping others avoid our mistakes. In turn, we can learn from our international colleagues who use creative approaches to overcome obstacles and reprioritiza-tion of responsibilities to provide care in environments that are significantly underresourced by our standards.
The most compelling reason to participate in this global conference on the future of hospital pharmacy is that our advocacy for optimizing medication use and our commitment to caring for patients is (or should be) a global, profession-wide commitment. Collaboration and eventual global standardization should serve to elevate the profession?s image around the world, enable more effective advocacy at the international level, and result in improved drug therapy outcomes for all patients. I encourage you to consider attending both the global conference and the FIP Congress in Basel this year. You will make a difference, broaden your horizons, and enjoy the experience.