PAHO seeks to strengthen pharmaceutical services in the Americas

Pharmacist advising

Buenos Aires, 4 October 2023 (PAHO)- The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today presented a new tool to assess the quality of pharmaceutical service provision and launched a network to share information and facilitate collaboration among countries. This aims to improve the quality of pharmacies in the Region through the primary health care (PHC) approach and integrate them into service networks.  

"Building resilient health systems requires that pharmacies become an integral part of primary health care services," Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO Director, said at the Meeting of national working groups on pharmaceutical services in the Americas region, which takes place today in Buenos Aires.

“Pharmacies are not simply establishments that sell products. They should form part of the healthcare system,” he added. Their role includes the provision of professional patient care services in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness. Yet in many countries there are still no formalized guidelines or practices for the provision of quality pharmaceutical services.

During the meeting convened by PAHO, representatives from national groups that comprise the various governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in decision-making related to pharmaceutical services from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Uruguay, discussed next steps for the implementation of the pharmaceutical services indicators tool in their countries.

"This tool will form a basis for the development of excellence in quality care in our pharmacies", highlighted Dr. Barbosa, congratulating participants "for this important work completed".

Prior to its launch, the tool was tested in more than 80 pharmacies in Argentina and Peru.

"It is an honor to host this regional meeting and launch of this network,” Carla Vizzotti, Minister of Health of Argentina said. “Pharmacies have a fundamental role not only in high complexity hospitals but also in the first level of care," she added, underscoring her commitment to extend the use of the tool in the country.

The tool will evaluate the activities carried out by pharmaceutical services, including quality assurance, pharmaceutical care, service management, research and human resources.

The meeting also saw the launch of the Pharmaceutical Services Network of the Americas (RedSFar), a forum for promoting cooperation and sharing information, experiences and best practices among health authorities and experts.

"We hope this network will help lead to equitable and rational access to medicines, innovative treatments and other health technologies," the PAHO Director said.