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EAHP: A 5 point plan for meeting the challenges of an ageing society

29 Feb, 16 | by flee

Ahead of its annual Congress in Vienna, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has today published a new policy statement highlighting the important role of hospital pharmacists in meeting the pan-European challenge of an ageing society.


EAHP opens new look practice survey

10 Feb, 15 | by ltempler

In the run up to its annual Congress, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has issued a new format practice survey to heads of hospital pharmacy across Europe. The survey aims to shine light on the current state of practice in EAHP’s member countries, and where attention for practice development is most required.

Since the 1990s, EAHP has conducted landmark surveys of practice on a quinquennial basis in order to:

  • monitor the changes occurring across Europe in relation to what the hospital profession does and how it does it;
  • locate where best and good practice exists; and,
  • identify where progress may be below aspiration level.

The last survey was conducted in 2010 with results published via a series of articles in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy.

2015 sees a new departure for the EAHP practice survey, with its basis now firmly routed in the 44 European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy. The statements were agreed at a 2014 Summit with hospital pharmacy organisations, patients and other healthcare professionals, and now form the principal platform for EAHP’s practice development activity. The 2015 ‘baseline survey’ now issued to EAHP’s member associations for circulation, will take a picture of how hospital pharmacy in Europe stands overall against the 44 aspirational European statements. From autumn 2015 EAHP’s survey activity will then move to an annual calendar, focusing on 2 of the 6 statement areas.

Speaking about the changes to the survey, and its importance, Jennie De Greef, EAHP Chief Operating Officer, said:

“EAHP’s survey of practice has always been an important tool for our members in comparing how practice in their country and region relates to the European whole. It can provide a powerful stimulus for renewed development effort, and a spotlight for learning from good practice.

However, just as time does not stand still in the way hospital pharmacy delivers its services, so technology and feedback are enabling us to continually improve how we conduct our survey. The 2015 survey is therefore entirely electronic, can be saved and returned to, and will be opened, closed, analysed and published within a much faster turn around period than we were previously able to achieve.

We’re excited to publish the results later this year, and believe, with the new underpinning of the European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy, which gives us the directional road map of where we all want the profession in Europe to head for, the utility and importance of this survey in driving change will be stronger than ever.”

This post was originally published on the EAHP website, for more information please visit here

REPORT: Patients suffering from medicines shortages in all European countries

17 Nov, 14 | by ltempler

A new report on medicines shortages experienced in European healthcare systems reveals that over 86% of hospital pharmacists are experiencing difficulties in sourcing medicines with 66% reporting this as a daily or weekly problem. The top affected areas are medicines to fight infection, cancer drugs and anesthetics.

The report by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), surveyed the experiences of over 600 hospital pharmacists in 36 European countries, and presents a striking picture of how medicines shortages are affecting the treatment of patients across the continent.

75% of surveyed hospital pharmacists either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “medicines shortages in my hospital are having a negative impact on patient care”. Consequences for patients included delayed or interrupted chemotherapy treatment, unnecessary experience by patients of side effects, heightened clostridium difficile risk and deterioration in patients’ conditions.

In addition to this, hospital pharmacists reported the enormous costs in time diverted to sourcing alternative supplies, increased stress and confusion within safety critical working environments, the frequent high costs of procuring alternative medicines than those prescribed, and the cancellation of service improvements due to resources needing to be reallocated to deal with medicines shortages.

Launching the report at the Brussels Press Club, EAHP President Dr. Roberto Frontini said:

“Two things always shock me about the medicines shortages problem in Europe: its scale, and the known impacts it is having on patient safety and welfare.

For too long this problem has been brushed under the carpet. It is time for those with responsibility for protecting European citizens from cross-border health threats to address the issue.

We need improved systems for ensuring early reporting of medicines supply disruptions, with causes, likely duration and available alternatives notified to healthcare professionals. We need a step change in the recording of information about the problem. This could be addressed by the European Medicines Agency developing a database of medicines in shortage across Europe replicating that of its counterpart in the USA. We need criteria for a fair distribution in case of shortages based on patient’s needs and not on commercial interests. Finally, we need an urgent sense of responsibility to be adopted by the European Commission in leading both investigation and resolution of the problem.

As our report makes clear: medicines shortages are a cross border health threat to patient welfare and the time for EU action is now.”


This was originally posted on the EAHP website and can be found here.

From Brussels to Beijing: EAHP China tour grows important relationship

11 Aug, 14 | by ltempler

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has recently completed a tour of China to promote practice developments in European hospital pharmacy and develop its relations with organisations in China.

EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini, Professor Anthony Sinclair of the EAHP Scientific Committee, and Professor Phil Wiffen, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP) spent 6 days in July visiting hospitals across China, including Beijing and Shanghai. As well as sharing experiences in practice development from Europe, the EAHP trio also had an opportunity to learn from China’s experience in meeting the needs of patient care and patient safety in the hospital environment.

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, said: “It was an honour to speak to professional colleagues in China about hospital pharmacy in Europe. The exchange is of great value to both parties, and grows an exciting relationship. EAHP regularly hosts delegations from China at our Congress, and it was personally illuminating to learn more about how common challenges such as patient safety are being met in another part of the world. Not only is it important that EAHP’s member countries share their good practices with one another, but EAHP also has a responsibility to facilitate broader international exchange on practice improvement. I look forward to welcoming colleagues from China to our Congress in Hamburg next year, and to renew our rich dialogue.”

Professor Anthony Sinclair of the EAHP Scientific Committee, said: “The EAHP Scientific Committee brings together hospital pharmacy practice leaders from across a wide range of European health systems with a shared mission of delivering excellence in education and patient care. It’s encouraging to know that the work of EAHP is recognised globally and that our work in Europe has application across the world. It was an honour to have been asked to participate on this tour representing EAHP, to share good practice, to learn from colleagues in China and have the opportunity to develop friendships that I hope will grow. It was exciting to share ideas across the globe! I was particularly impressed with our Chinese hospital colleagues’ clever application of technology and process design to manage large volumes of prescriptions.”

Professor Phil Wiffen, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP) added: “Year on year the international reach of the EJHP grows, and colleagues in China are looking to  publish their research in  a leading pharmacy journal such as EJHP. As I reminded participants on our visit, the Journal always welcomes manuscripts from outside Europe – indeed, these are often of significant interest to our readers. A modern day Journal is designed to provide just that kind of outreach and international communication.”


This information was originally posted on the EAHP website and can be found here 

EAHP congress podcasts

9 Jul, 14 | by ltempler

The podcasts are finally up and ready to be heard in several different languages. Here’s a run down of who and what you can listen to and links through to the SoundCloud page.

1. Sotiris Antoniou, consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, talks through the importance of anticoagulation, and how to consult patients. Listen here >>

2. Matthieu Tjoeng, head of pharmacy at Sint Antonius Ziekenhuis, Anne Spinewine, clinical pharmacist at UCL and CHU Dinant Godinne, and Steve Williams, associate editor of EJHP and honorary clinical lecturer at University Hospital of South Manchester, discuss re-engineering clinical pharmacy services. Listen here >>

3. Dr Juraj Sykora works at the National Cancer Institution, is an associate editor of EJHP and faculty member for EAHP. Here he discusses EAHP 2014, innovation and biosimilars. This podcast is in Slovak. Listen here >>

4. Dr Juraj Sykora, National Cancer Institution, associate editor of EJHP, and faculty member of EAHP, discusses the formation of a common training framework. Listen here >>

5. Piera Polidori lavora all’ISMETT ed è coredattrice di EJHP. In questo podcast descrive un nuovo progetto italiano in cui è coinvolta sul ruolo del farmacista clinico nella gestione degli antimicrobici. A seguito di un progetto del 2010 con il Ministero della Sanità, l’EAHP e la società italiana di oncologia, quest’anno la SIFO – Società Italiana di Farmacia Ospedaliera promuove il nuovo progetto a supporto dello sviluppo della farmacia clinica in Italia.

Simona Creazzola è farmacista presso l’ASL Napoli 1 Centro. È membro del Consiglio Direttivo della SIFO, la società italiana che rappresenta i farmacisti ospedalieri nel Sistema Sanitario Nazionale, e collabora alla redazione dell’EJHP. Simona ci è venuta a parlare del nuovo Laboratorio HTA della SIFO. Il Laboratorio HTA punta a raccogliere le esperienze passate nel campo HTA – Health Technology Assesment sui farmaci e dispositivi medici per costruire un’importante struttura per la divulgazione della cultura della valutazione sistematica tra gli associati attraverso gli strumenti corretti.  Ascolta qui >>

6. Duncan McRobbie, associate chief pharmacist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust Foundation, talks about un-intentional and intentional reasons for not taking or continuing a prescription. Listen here >>

7. Roberto Frontini, director of pharmacy, University of Leipzig, and president, EAHP, explains the focus of the EAHP European Summit on Hospital Pharmacy in May. He also talks about how pharmacists can work with and engage clinicians and other hospital staff. Listen here >>

8. Roberto Frontini, director of pharmacy, University of Leipzig, and president, EAHP, discusses the future of hospital pharmacy, and how the profession may look in 2020. Listen here >>

9. Cees Neef, professor of clinical pharmacy, Maastrict University Medical Centre, and director of education, Science and Research, EAHP, explains Good Practice Indicators. Listen here >>

10. Professor Daan Crommelin, past scientific director of the Dutch Top Institute Pharma in Leiden and emeritus professor, Department of Pharmacists, Utrecht University, discusses the Innovative Medicines Initiative, and developing innovation in pharmacy. Listen here >>



Apps involving medicines should have pharmacist oversight

9 Jul, 14 | by ltempler

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has responded to a consultation by the European Commission advising that any mHealth applications linked to the use of medicines must have levels of regulatory oversight, ideally involving pharmacist expertise, in order to ensure their safety.

The European Commission launched a consultation on mHealth in April 2014, asking healthcare professionals and patients for input on the health related applications of smartphone technology. One of EAHP’s key points was that the introduction of new technologies in the hospital setting has been an ever-present reality. Lessons learned include the need to understand the potential positive applications of a new technology at an early stage, and for Governments and health system managers to take a leadership role in achieving their realisation. This lesson, for example, is evident in the difficulties experienced in achieving bedside scanning as a patient safety measure within hospital systems – as medicines still do not typically contain a bar code to the single unit.

Another key point of EAHP’s response was to underline safety needs when applying mHealth to any process involving medicines.

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, said:

“The implications of a badly designed mHealth application related to medicines use is frightening. All medicines can potentially cause harm if not taken properly. Therefore, when it comes to mHealth apps and medicines, a level of regulatory oversight is required. We recommend pharmacists be involved in both development and testing of such applications.  Indeed, the need for such pharmacist involvement in ICT processes involving medicines was a strong component of the recently published European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy, agreed with patient organisations and other healthcare professionals.

Beyond this, we urge the European Commission to learn lessons of experience. Technology can offer so much. However, without both vision to see potential positive applications, and subsequent coordination, too often the benefits are not realised. We see this, for example, with our ongoing campaign to achieve bedside scanning of medicines in hospitals. Barriers and obstacles have to be identified and lifted. There is an important coordinating role for the Commission in this regard.

Finally, we urge the Commission not to think about mHealth as only having cost-saving benefits. Improved patient safety and patient outcomes must be considered as just as important, if not more so.”


This information has been taken from the EAHP website, more information can be found here

Consultation opens on European Professional Card for pharmacists

20 May, 14 | by ltempler

The European Commission has opened a short consultation (deadline 2nd June) on technical matters related to the prospective introduction of a European Professional Card for pharmacists.

The system, which emerges immediately from the recently revised Professional Qualifications Directive (January 2014), has the aim of speeding up the time it takes for an individual seeking to work in another EU country to have their qualifications recognized in another country.

The European Professional Card will not come in the form of a physical card, but rather will be an online portal system. An individual will upload relevant identity and qualification documents for recognition by their home ‘competent authority’ (e.g. a professional qualification regulator, such as a chamber of pharmacy). This will then enable them to have an immediately accessible repository of their qualification documentation, verified at their home level, for a competent authority in another country to recognize. It will prevent lengthy exchanges of documentation that can take place at the present time, blamed for some very slow recognition times.

Pharmacy, alongside the medical profession, nursing profession, engineering profession and others, is one of the professional groups the European Commission are minded to give early support to in creating the system.

Although the current consultation is aimed at professional organisations and authorities within EU countries, all interested parties are invited to take part.

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists intend to make a short response to the consultation offering measured support for the introduction of the European Professional Card for the pharmacy profession, highlighting the need for mechanisms for individuals to be able to include advanced and specialized qualifications, and for the system to be cogniscant of the possibility that individuals could hold qualifications gained from more than one country, throwing up potential definition issues regarding the “home authority” in charge of verifying.

EAHP Members are welcome to review the consultation and consider their own responses.

This information was originally published on the EAHP website. More detail can be found here

Rationing of chemotherapy drugs in Europe a possibility

1 Apr, 14 | by ltempler

News from an EAHP congress seminar has shown that rationing of chemotherapy in Europe is a possibility if the shortages problem is not resolved.

This startling news was revealed by Wolf-Dieter Ludwig, medical director and head of haematology, oncology, and tumour immunology at the Robert Rössle Clinic, Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch, Germany. He followed this statement with the insistence that pharmaceutical companies should be penalised if they fail to register drug shortages six months in advance.

His comments echoed remarks made by Thomas Langebner, chief pharmacist at the Hospital of the Sisters of Mercy in Linz, Austria, that pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to produce generic medicines if they do not make a profit which then leads to shortages.

Dr Langebner said that medicines have a “product life cycle”, going from development, introduction, growth and maturity to eventual decline, at which point companies often develop an exit strategy. He then explained that excessively high prices of new medicines and low prices of mature medicines after their patent expires discourage production of established drugs. However he also explained that these mature drugs are not useless and it is just as essential to secure a supply of these as it is to generate innovative medicines.

Dr Ludwig went further, saying that he believes the supply of older medicines is more important than that of new drugs. This is because many mature cancer medicines cannot be replaced, he explained. He suggested that pharmaceutical companies should be offered financial incentives to keep older medicines on the market. Dr Langebner argued that the price curve needs to be “flattened”, so that there is not such a sharp difference in price once a medicine loses its patent, which would encourage companies to keep producing it.

Read more and answer the medicine shortages survey here

World TB day

26 Mar, 14 | by ltempler

Speaking on World Tuberculosis Day on the 24th March, Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), called for better patient counselling, antimicrobial stewardship and new antibiotic development in order to successfully eliminate the disease as a public health concern in Europe by 2050.

With recent data published by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) showing European health systems still facing problems in treating multidrug-resistant TB successfully, Dr Frontini reiterated the need to utilise the role of hospital pharmacists in providing both counselling about medication use and antimicrobial stewardship services, and for European Governments to work together in incentivising and facilitating the development of new antibiotics.

Dr Frontini said:

“A major factor in the development of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) has been non-adherence to treatment. Yet with TB being an infectious and contagious disease, adherence takes on that extra importance. Hospital pharmacists have a pivotal role to play both in improving adherence through patient counselling, but also in improving prescribing and treatment through multidisciplinary collaboration. I urge policy makers overseeing national responses to the TB challenge in Europe to grasp the opportunities before them by advancing the pharmacist role in these areas.

Further to this, many countries have now instituted policy measures to ensure hospital pharmacists have prominent roles in antimicrobial stewardship. This occurs to me as the right policy response given the gravity of the antimicrobial resistance problem and I encourage other countries to give such measures serious consideration.

Finally, alongside reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics, there is a clear need to scale up the search for new agents. European Governments must accept the urgency of this challenge and work together to create an improved environment for discovery. Whilst this includes the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme and the Innovative Medicines Initiative, the new Commission scheduled for late 2014 should review what further improvements can be made.”

EAHP and UZ Leuven to host meeting on reducing medication error in hospitals

22 Aug, 13 | by ltempler

On the 16th August the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) announced it will be conducting a high-level meeting on how to reduce medication errors in the hospital sector. This meeting will take place at the University Hospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven) on the 14th October and will focus more specifically on how scanning medicines at the time of administration can  increase patient safety and how this can become a widespread reality.

This technology is regularly used in some countries like the USA, and has demonstrated how rates of medication error can be reduced by as much as 40%.  As this practice is not common in Europe the event will focus on why this is the case and what can be done to overcome the implementation obstacles.

The event will also include:

• guided visits to hospital wards to see the technology in operation;
• presentations on the industrial, regulatory and international contexts to the issue; and,
• workshops to gain the perspectives and considered opinions of a variety of impacted stakeholders.

Further information about the event can be found here or by contacting the EAHP directly

Latest from European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy

Latest from European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy