7 October 2019 - Deborah Wilkes
Governments and health insurers around the world should make self-care a key part of health systems, according to a joint statement from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF).
The statement on responsible and effective self-care sets out the “united” intention of the pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical industry to “deliver solutions to facilitate people with self-care” and to “further develop self-care as a core pillar of sustainable healthcare systems”.
It includes lists of responsibilities for pharmacists and manufacturers of self-care products.
The 14 professional responsibilities for pharmacists include encouraging people to use health system resources responsibly and engage in self-care where appropriate. Pharmacists are also urged to document patients’ self-care conditions and the products used in an appropriate patient record.
The 10 responsibilities for manufacturers include providing healthcare professionals with available information and scientific evidence that will allow the provision of evidence-based guidance. They are also urged to encourage collaboration with healthcare professionals on information on product labels and package inserts.
The statement points out that “pharmacists play a key role when assisting individuals, as they can provide unbiased, evidence-based advice and information”.
Serving the public interest
The public interest will be best served, says the statement, when “pharmacists and the self-care products industry work together to ensure that self-care is responsible and effective, is only undertaken when it is appropriate to do so, and advice is always given to seek a healthcare professional’s support when that is necessary”.
The importance of health literacy is highlighted. The statement says this is a “foundational pre-requisite to responsible self-care, which makes two-way communication between the individual and their healthcare professional an essential element of effective self-care”.
The statement notes that pharmacists can play an important role in facilitating effective self-care. “Pharmacists are often ranked as the most accessible and most trusted healthcare professionals,” it notes. “Their education and training enable them to translate quality, evidence-based information into sound, unbiased advice on self-care products and strategies to the public.”
“Pharmacists and manufacturers share the common goals of providing quality products and services to the public and encouraging responsible and effective self-care,” adds the statement.