Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a threat at a global level, currently claiming the lives of an estimated 700,000 people each year. The UN General Assembly approved a wide-ranging declaration in September 2016 aimed at addressing the rising number of drug-resistant infections. CPhA is leading efforts in Canada to promote and support pharmacists in their role as antimicrobial stewards. Elsewhere, several organizations, including the International Pharmaceutical Federation and the American Pharmacists Association, have identified antimicrobial stewardship as a priority in the outpatient setting with pharmacists playing a key role.
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 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. And by working closely with prescriber colleagues, learning through professional development, and embracing advanced scope and technology changes as they evolve, pharmacists will be even 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 on this committee 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).
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.
- Watch the presentation
- Download the slide deck
- RxFiles Handout: Antibiotics and Common Infections (October 2016)
- RxFiles Handout: Antibiotics Potential Harms
Webinar in partnership with National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan.
- Putting the Pieces Together, A National Plan For Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCCID/HealthCareCAN)
- Antimicrobial resistance services and information (Government of Canada)
- Antimicrobial resistance awareness materials (Government of Canada)
- Antibiotic Awareness Week (World Health Organization)
- Antimicrobial Stewardship: Statement on the Role of the Pharmacist (Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists)
- Fighting antimicrobial resistance: The contribution of pharmacists (FIP)
- Do Bugs need Drugs? A Community Program for Wise Use of Antibiotics
- Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (SHS-UHN)