UNITED KINGDOM – GSK Consumer Healthcare has unveiled a three-year program to support the pharmacy profession with additional practical resources, mental health provisions, and proposed policy changes as part of its new report Standing with Pharmacists in the Age of Self-Care.
The new report summarizes findings from a roundtable hosted earlier this year by GSK Consumer Healthcare in collaboration with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), which brought together pharmacy leaders, policy experts, and industry leaders to discuss the critical role of pharmacy in the age of self-care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen COVID-19 have a significant impact on consumers’ understanding of self-care, leading to an increased focus on wellbeing and everyday healthcare. During this time, pharmacies played a vital role in providing care and advice to their patients – particularly with many other health facilities closed,” said Tess Player, Global Head of Expert at GSK Consumer Healthcare.
“Our research shows that more than half of Europeans are planning to consult their pharmacist more often than before the pandemic. Yet in general, pharmacists remain under-utilized, despite being the most widely distributed health resource in Europe,” she noted.
The report identifies six barriers to the global pharmacy community’s ability to fulfill their critical role. Workload; remuneration; limited disease prevention education; public misperceptions of pharmacist expertise; integration challenges within the larger healthcare system; and support for identifying and addressing low health literacy among health consumers are among these.
To address these issues, GSK Consumer Healthcare is launching a three-year commitment program advocating for pharmacy policy and regulatory change, as well as providing pharmacists with a variety of tailored support, training, and tools to assist them in overcoming the barriers identified.
The program is an extension of the company’s long-standing commitment to the pharmacy community. GSK Consumer Healthcare issued a Statement of Intent in September 2020 regarding the critical role of pharmacists in the future success of healthcare systems worldwide.
Lars-Åke Söderlund, Vice President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, FIP, stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the crucial role pharmacists play in consumers’ self-care routines. Self-care involves a variety of actions that patients take to manage their health. Pharmacists play an important role in guiding patient’s self-care behaviors.”
Pharmacists play instrumental roles in healthcare delivery based on their roles as advocates who empower patients and help them make healthy lifestyle choices, recommend appropriate OTC medications, and educate consumers about when they should consult a physician.