A wide range of opportunities for pharmacists to provide cardiovascular disease (CVD) services are described in a new practice support handbook published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) recently.
According to the World Health Organisation, deaths from CVDs currently represent 32 per cent of all deaths globally, with over 75 per cent of these occurring in low- and middle-income countries. With deaths from CVDs projected to increase from 18.9 million in 2020 to 32.3 million by 2030, demand for cardiovascular prevention, care and treatments continues to grow. Cardiovascular Diseases: A Handbook for Pharmacists covers prevention, care and management roles, including: Health promotion and education; early detection; triage and referral; interprofessional collaborative practice; disease management (including medication adherence); treatment optimisation; and helping to shape public policies. In particular, it contains a chapter on practice-based research.
“Care goes beyond medicines use and optimising effectiveness and safety. Pharmacists can also be involved in practice-based research to evaluate the impact of CVD services. This new handbook contains several evidence-based interventions by pharmacists around the world that have led to positive health and economic outcomes for patients, which readers will find valuable and inspirational,” said Dr Inês Nunes da Cunha, FIP practice development and transformation projects manager and lead author of the handbook.
“It is important that pharmacists are able to meet needs, expanding and consolidating their CVD services and roles with the appropriate knowledge and skills as defined in the FIP Knowledge and Skills Reference Guide for Professional Development in Cardiovascular Diseases [also published by FIP recently]. It is also essential that pharmacy professional organisations at global, regional, and national levels support practitioners in implementing and providing services in this area,” she said.
The new handbook has been developed in collaboration with the World Heart Federation (WHF) and the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy. In a foreword to the handbook, WHF president Prof Fausto Pinto writes: “The pharmaceutical workforce is an essential pillar of the healthcare system and is ideally positioned to strengthen primary care delivery. This is particularly true for CVD, which can often be addressed by simple, affordable interventions that can be delivered in the pharmacy setting.”
He adds: “The World Heart Federation applauds the important and timely work undertaken by FIP to develop this handbook. We hope it is used widely, not only by practising pharmacists, but also by FIP members, advocates, and educators who are responsible for creating the contexts that will allow the evidence-based recommendations contained in this handbook to be effectively implemented. The challenge of CVD is sizeable, but in working together towards the goal of ensuring everyone has access to the information, care, and treatment they need, we are taking important steps towards tackling it.”