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The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has recently published a new Statement of Policy on continuing professional development (CPD). FIP says it recognises that pharmacists acquiring, developing and maintaining professional competence throughout their careers is a fundamental and ethical requirement, and the statement sets out FIP’s commitments to help them achieve this. 

The statement replaces an earlier statement published in 2002. Whereas the 2002 statement defined CPD and continuing education, and made a number of general recommendations, the latest statement greatly expands on this. It contains a number of recommendations specifically for government agencies and policy-makers, for FIP member organisations and national pharmaceutical associations, for CPD providers, for employers and for pharmacists themselves. 

It establishes a framework through which obligations set out in other quality assurance-related FIP guidance — including its Statement of Policy on quality assurance of education, its code of ethics for pharmacists, its reference guide on good pharmacy practice and its statement on good pharmacy education practice — can be met. 

In the statement, the Federation sets out a number of commitments whereby it agrees to develop strategies which, among others: (i) Highlight the importance of CPD and how it ensures a competent workforce; (ii) develop indicators to measure the implementation of the workforce element of FIP Development Goal 9 (CPD strategies); (iii) promote international co-operation to close education and training gaps; and (iv) advocate the development of programmes to support return to work after career breaks or sector changes. 

“As pharmacists’ roles continue to expand, it is essential that they commit to lifelong learning and that they maintain and develop competence relevant to current and future levels of professional practice,” said Prof Rula Darwish, chair of FIP’s CPD Policy Committee. She added: “As well as demonstrating pharmacists’ commitment, participation in CPD enhances the profession’s reputation and, ultimately, improves patient care. FIP’s new CPD statement provides a foundation upon which this can be built.”