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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a threat at a global level, currently claiming the lives of an estimated 700,000 people each year. CPhA is leading efforts in Canada to promote and support pharmacists in their role as antimicrobial stewards.

Antibiotic Awareness

Unnecessary antibiotic use and misuse directly contribute to the rise in resistant bacteria. Canadian Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 12-18, is a time to raise awareness about the need for correct and cautious use of antibiotics to help control the increase in resistant bacteria and hard-to-treat infections. In Canada, the campaign is led by the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID), joined by leaders in public health, antimicrobial stewardship, and patient safety. Visit antibioticawareness.ca for information, tools and resources.

The Role of Pharmacists

Pharmacists are central to antimicrobial stewardship. In hospital settings they have data to influence appropriate prescribing at the patient level and are involved in formal programs to influence utilization at the organization level.  But most antibiotics are prescribed in the outpatient setting, and community pharmacists have a significant opportunity to engage in antimicrobial stewardship activities through education, health promotion and prevention, appropriate prescribing, and working closely with prescribers.




There are many simple things that pharmacists can do to make a difference. By working closely with prescriber colleagues, learning through professional development, and embracing advanced scope and technology changes as they evolve, pharmacists will be further able to contribute to successfully combating this global crisis.

Read more: The war against antibiotic resistance: Can community pharmacists be antimicrobial stewards? (Pharmacy Business, January/February 2017)

What CPhA is doing to fight AMR

CPhA is committed to highlighting the vital role pharmacists play in antimicrobial stewardship and is participating in an AMS Canada Steering Committee; a national multi-stakeholder, multi-sector group led by the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) and HealthCareCAN. The mandate of this committee is to further develop, scale and spread antimicrobial stewardship best practices across all sectors to battle the global public health problem of antimicrobial resistance.

CPhA has been active in championing the important role that pharmacists play in antimicrobial stewardship and how the role of pharmacists could evolve and expand in community practice, where most antimicrobials are prescribed. CPhA has also provided significant input through roundtable discussions to a working federal Action Plan and by participating on an AMR task group led by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In January 2017, NCCID and HealthCareCAN released Putting the Pieces Together, A National Plan For Antimicrobial Stewardship. The Action plan lays out ten areas in which governments, health care organizations and professionals, civil society groups and the public can collaborate to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. It is built on the work of 50 experts, key influencers and stakeholders, including CPhA, who met at a national roundtable in June 2016.

In June 2017, CPhA appeared before the Standing Committee on Health as part of its study on antimicrobial resistance to highlight the key role pharmacists can play as antimicrobial stewards (speaking notes).

Practice Resources

Webinar - Antibiotics & Common Infections: Stewardship, Effectiveness, Safety and Clinical Pearls

Originally presented on March 2, 2017, this pharmacy practice webinar aims to demystify the role of pharmacists as antimicrobial stewards.  Presenters Brenda Schuster (Regina Crossings Centre, RxFiles, SK) and Zack Dumont (Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, RxFiles, SK) explain common viral and bacterial infections and whether they require antibiotics, how to evaluate appropriateness of prescriptions and discuss alternatives.

Webinar in partnership with National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan.

Helpful Links