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Transformation of pharmaceutical education, which includes expansion of the number of pharmaceutical education institutions globally and a large shift to online learning, is one of several major current trends in pharmacy identified by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Board of Pharmaceutical Practice. The findings are presented in the board’s ‘Trend analysis report amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021–2022’, which was published recently. 

The report contains directions identified by each of FIP’s sections, covering academic pharmacy, clinical biology, health and medicines information, community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industrial pharmacy, military and emergency pharmacy, and social and administrative pharmacy. For example, FIP’s Community Pharmacy Section reports that the role and recognition of community pharmacy as a readily-accessible healthcare resource and trusted information centre is increasing. It also reports that a previously identified trend of integration of the sector within large healthcare corporations appears to have halted during the pandemic. Another trend described in the report is increased government funding for pharmaceutical research (particularly pandemic-related), highlighted by FIP’s Academic Pharmacy Section. However, the section also warns of reduced funding for chronic diseases as a negative consequence. 

The changes identified have been classed into six major trend groupings as follows: 

  • Transformation in pharmaceutical education; 
  • Expanding scope of practice; 
  • Pandemic and natural disaster preparation; 
  • Cultural and environmental concerns; 
  • Increased investment in data systems and automation; and 
  • Economic and distribution concerns. 

“FIP’s most valuable asset is its people: The network of pharmaceutical healthcare experts it brings together. Through their commitment and practice, they combine knowledge and adaptability so our profession can navigate the challenges of the present and future, to better serve our communities and healthcare systems. This report, offering insight into each sector of pharmacy practice, can be used as a strategic tool in planning for the developments ahead that will impact on how we work as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Daragh Connolly, chair, FIP Board of Pharmaceutical Practice.