FIP releases substantial update to Covid-19 guidelines for pharmacists around the world

Global guidance for pharmacists in community, hospital and clinical biology on coronavirus/Covid-19 has been updated by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). The document replaces FIP’s first coronavirus guidance issued last month. “The situation has developed rapidly and an urgent update was necessary as, around the world, we are learning more about this new virus,” said Ms Jane Dawson, chair of FIP’s Emergency Taskforce, who is also secretary of FIP’s Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section and Director of Health Policy for the New Zealand Defence Force.

The updated guidance document takes into account newly-available evidence and recommendations, in particular, around: 

• Modes of transmission and incubation period.

• Pharmacy operations and facilities: Ensuring safety and continuity of service.

• Preventive measures, including the use of masks.

• Pharmacy interventions and patient counselling.

• Treatment guidelines and medicines that may need to be stocked.

• Progress in medicines and vaccines development.

• Laboratory testing for Covid-19 in suspected human cases.

• Cleaning and disinfection products and procedures.

• Travel advice.

The guidance also addresses opinions on the safety of the use of ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers and corticosteroids during the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, which suggest an increased risk of infection or increased severity of disease. FIP has issued a position statement on this issue, which is available on the federation’s website.

“Since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation… and with some countries going into lockdown, we have seen an even greater reliance on pharmacists as the first point of contact with the health system. FIP has been hearing from colleagues around the world who have been stepping up to get their communities through this challenging time for our health services. We thank them for the amazing work that they are doing under increased pressure and hope that this updated guidance will support them in their practice,” Ms Dawson said.

The guidance is available at http://www.fip.org.