Fighting antimicrobial resistance. The contribution of pharmacists. 2015
(2015; 39 pages)

International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance: The Contribution of Pharmacists. The Hague: International Pharmaceutical Federation; 2015.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. Action to confront and help overcome the problem must be taken now. Policies already exist or are being formulated at international, regional and national levels. Pharmacists are increasingly being involved in providing their expertise when AMR policies are being created, evaluated and implemented. This can be seen in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan to tackle AMR (1) and in the expansion of antimicrobial and infection control programmes that require approaches from both hospital and community settings.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is a global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. In order to support these associations in their fight against AMR, FIP has prepared this briefing document. It is an overview of the different activities that community and hospital pharmacists are involved prevent AMR and to reverse AMR rates.

Pharmacists work to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of patients and the public, making them more resilient to infections.

Pharmacists’ unique position in health care systems makes them the most accessible health care professional. Through a process of triage, pharmacists evaluate whether or not they can offer a solution via treatment of minor ailment symptoms. Furthermore, when antibiotics are not needed, pharmacists can reassure patients and correct any misunderstandings.

When antibiotics are needed, pharmacists, ideally supported by available diagnostic tools, supply antibiotics in specific legally defined cases, or refer to a physician or a specialist.

Pharmacists are experts in medicines. In their advisory and clinical role they ensure optimal management of antimicrobial treatment. This includes prescribing and/or use of antibiotics with regard to indication, choice, dose, duration and dose adjustment, as well as interaction and adverse effect minimisation, and adherence support tailored for short- or long-term regimens — all with medicines safety and responsible use in mind. Pharmacists adjust formularies when special support is needed to address specific patient needs.

Pharmacists ensure the quality of medicines and their safe disposal, and contribute to reduction of antimicrobials in the environment.

In hospitals, pharmacists are leading stewardship programmes and are heavily involved in their implementation, maintenance and promotion. They provide expertise on sterilisation and hygiene. Specific emphasis is given to collaborative approaches as part of interprofessional teams or interdisciplinary management of antimicrobial strategies and to engagement with stakeholders.

These examples of pharmacists’ activities are illustrated by campaigns and programmes developed by pharmacists and their associations around the world. The objective of this document is not to provide an exhaustive list of all activities, but to stimulate and nurture discussion between various stakeholders and different FIP partners, providing a foundation for the formulation of recommendations and policy in the future.

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