Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most urgent health threats we face globally. By 2050, if we continue using antibiotics as we are now, approximately 10 million people worldwide will die from resistant organisms each year. CPhA is leading efforts in Canada to promote and support pharmacists in their role as antimicrobial stewards.
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.
Antimicrobial Awareness Week (Nov. 18-24)
Unnecessary antibiotic use is contributing to a rise in resistant bacteria, making infections much harder, and increasingly impossible to treat. Antimicrobial Awareness Week, promotes the informed use of antibiotics by all to help keep life-saving medicines effective for future generations. 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.
Check out our practice resources to support you in your role as an antimicrobial steward.
What CPhA is doing to fight AMR
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).
- Canadian Antibiotic Awareness Week (NCCID)
- When Antibiotics Fail (CCA Report 2019)
- Handle With Care: Preserving Antibiotics Now and Into the Future (Chief Public Health Officer of Canada's Spotlight Report 2019)
- Using Antibiotics Wisely (Choosing Wisely Canada)
- Antimicrobial resistance services and information (Government of Canada)
- Antimicrobial resistance awareness materials (Government of Canada)
- Antibiotic Awareness Week (World Health Organization)
- 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)