International Pharmacy Is Alive and Well

I recently attended the 76th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I recently attended the 76th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I really enjoy attending this annual meeting for a number of reasons.

The world becomes smaller when you meet pharmacists from other countries and learn how much we all have in common. Our issues can be put in a better perspective when we realize many of them are really international and not unique to our country. It helps me realize we can learn from others and we don’t have all the answers.

In her opening address, FIP President Carmen Peña reminded me how much pharmacists around the world have in common.

“Health care can no longer be separated from social issues. Pharmacists and other health care professionals need to be more concerned with continuity, integration of processes, and socio-health coordination, which is an important but often forgotten role of community pharmacies,” she stated. “We need to rethink health care. We need to break down barriers and prevent patients from getting lost in labyrinths of specialties and bureaucracy. The system should follow patients, rather than patients following the system.”

From her remarks, it was evident that pharmacists are a fundamental resource around the world, but they’re stepping up to take on a more active role, just like pharmacists are doing in the United States.

Another session I attended was focused on “Pharmacy in Argentina,” which served as another reminder to me that the problems faced by pharmacists in different countries are more similar than different from ours, although the solutions may vary due to resources, culture, and perspectives. You can learn a lot when you listen to others with an open mind.

Like other pharmacy organizations, FIP recognizes outstanding pharmacists from around the world. It’s very encouraging to realize the competency and abilities of international pharmacists. Learning about the accomplishments of others helps me appreciate my profession even more.

Next year, FIP will meet in Seoul, Korea, from September 10-14, 2017. Consider attending and you, too, will see how small our pharmacy world really is.