Pharmacists have occupied the front lines of shrinking budget battles for years. Because of that experience, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) believes that we may also be the key to transforming patient outcomes by increasing efficiency, and expanding pharmacist expertise.

During the 2018 World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, hosted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, scheduled for Sept. 2-6 in Glasgow, Scotland, pharmacists from around the world will gather to inspire and be inspired. With its theme of'“Transforming Outcomes,' the Congress will seek consensus on challenging topics, such as medicine shortage, antimicrobial resistance, and responses to natural and manmade disasters. There will be a few events before the main event, including the 7th Global Pharmacy Technicians Symposium, and the joint efforts of FIP and APhA will provide an immunization delivery certificate training.

On the professional development side of things, the Congress’ overarching goal is to remind pharmacists that their focus should always be on patients. Scotland offers an ideal location for the congress members to address the transformation of healthcare, given that Great Britain has led the way in expanding roles for pharmacists, and encouraging collaboration among other healthcare professions. Additionally, Scotland’s practice of handling minor ailments within pharmacies has positioned pharmacies to be gateways to care. Because pharmacies are reimbursed for these activities, the program is considered a best practice.

Pharmacists frequently take on new or added roles in the workplace as part of an industry-wide effort to save money, and improve productivity. Some pharmacists have trained as programmers to help handle data captured by health systems, while others have improved pharmacoeconomic skills to maximize the value of treatments. Recognizing the industry-wide move in that direction, the FIP will embrace the development by challenging health professionals to collaborate in the name of improved outcomes.

Responding to a belief that pharmacy lacks strategic communication and collaboration between the major sectors of practice, education, and regulation, the Congress will offer practitioners an opportunity to debate the merits of increasing their value and improving teamwork. Other sessions during the 5-day event will include innovations in education, collaborative working with other professions, leadership development, targeting special interests, and advancing pharmaceutical care.

The Congress is a rare opportunity to raise brand awareness, engage with audiences, and reach key influencers and decision-makers. Planners anticipate 4,000 delegates, and more than 1,000 poster abstracts from more than 80 countries. Billed as the largest international pharmacy gathering in the world, the event will attract pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists from more than 100 countries.

Personally speaking, it’s an opportunity for pharmacists to advance their skills and invest in their careers. Pharmacists must take control of their careers, and their futures to avoid stagnating and reaching burnout. I’m also going because I love castles, and medieval wars. 

Scotland’s 2000 years of history have inspired local museums, galleries and visitor attractions, many of which are free. The University of Glasgow, with its Gothic style architecture, is thought to be the inspiration behind Hogwarts, the school Harry Potter and his friends attend in the series of books by the same name. The medieval cathedrals and the Victorian buildings co-exist among ultra-modern buildings, fine dining, and retail offerings second only to those found in London.

The congress will also offer organized tours of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, as well as the 5 whiskey-producing regions. Hope to see you there!