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Need for quality medicines information to be included in national medicines policies, new FIP report says

Strategies for medicines information should be included in national medicines policies, say the authors of a new publication released today by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). “Medicines information: Strategic development” is the first time that the implementation of medicines information, which is key to the safe and effective use of medicines, has been explored at a global level. Medicines information can be inaccurate, overwhelming, biased, unhelpful or simply not well understood. This publication sets out a vision for collaboration and action towards ensuring high quality medicines information around the world, through the use of strategies.

In addition to supporting the responsible use of medicines, the goals of strategic development of medicines information include medication safety and pharmacovigilance, rational prescribing and dispensing, and health literacy. A survey conducted by an FIP working group, however, indicates that not all countries have national medicines information strategies. The core elements of medicines information strategies and how these strategies can be developed are explained in the document, which also contains experiences of three countries (USA, UK and Finland) where medicines information strategies exist. There is also a section on the development of medicines information as a part of medicines management policies in low-resource settings.

Importantly, “Medicines information: Strategic development” highlights the important contribution of pharmacists: “Pharmacists’ expertise is highly relevant to guiding the development and implementation of medicines information strategies within national medicines and health policies,” said the publication’s editor Katri Hämeen-Anttila. “Pharmacy organisations and individual pharmacists have already taken an important role in this area. This document also highlights the way forward for educational organisations for health care professionals and for governments in order to bring the vision of high quality medicines information, for both consumers and health care professionals, to fruition,” Dr Hämeen-Anttila added.

“Medicines information: Strategic development” is available here: http://fip.org/files/fip/publications/2017-01-Medicines-information-strategic-development.pdf