FIP Releases 2009 Global Pharmacy Workforce Report
Without access to and appropriate use of quality medicines, health systems lose their ability to meet health care needs. The pharmacy workforce crisis threatens the ability of many countries to deliver health services, however little information or studies have been published in this area. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has sought to address this crisis by gathering global baseline data on pharmacy workforce and developing evidence-based background papers to serve as an advocacy tool at country, regional and global levels.
The 2009 FIP Global Pharmacy Workforce Report is the most comprehensive report on the subject, including an analysis of the global pharmacy workforce situation, description of country experiences, guidance and recommendations. Based on data from 56 countries, the report paints a mixed picture of progress, diversity, growing inequity and capacity limitations.
Many countries have made significant strides to expand and improve the pharmacy workforce. The leap from 200 to 6,000 pharmacists in Sudan over forty years and a 40 percent increase in public sector pharmacy workforce in Kenya over four years are striking examples of progress.
Economic development was found to be a major determinant of the near 500-fold difference in pharmacy workforce levels amongst countries - ranging from an average of one pharmacist for every 526 people to one per 250,000. Significant differences in the proportions of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, workforce that is male and female and education capacity of training institutions were also identified. This emphasises the importance of a need-based approach to education and workforce development rather than a "one size fits all".
There is persistent inequity in the rural-urban distribution of the pharmacy workforce within countries. Strategies developed in Australia describe how over the course of six years, the number of community pharmacies in rural and remote areas increased by 12 percent compared to a national growth rate of nearly two percent.
The expansion of pharmacy education is a trend which is observed globally with many countries employing this as a core strategy for workforce development. A key capacity constraint for countries is the shortage of academic staff.
In launching the report, Dr Kamal K. Midha, FIP President urged "FIP Member Organisations, Ministries of Health, Ministries of Education and training institutions to seek collaborative and coordinated mechanisms to plan comprehensively and implement pharmacy workforce development".
In the report, contributors from the World Health Organization (WHO) state that "Pharmacy workforce shortages translate into gaps in the management of the pharmaceutical system and supply chain and pose serious risks to patients." FIP is pleased to be part of efforts to address such risks and offer advocacy tools to support pharmacy workforce planning in countries.
The 2009 FIP Global Pharmacy Workforce Report was officially launched at the 69th International Congress of FIP in Istanbul, Turkey. It was made possible with the in kind support of over 100 contributors including professional associations, regulatory agencies, universities, Ministries of Health, WHO and the FIP Collaborating Centre, School of Pharmacy, University of London.
The report and workforce data is available for free download from the FIP website here .