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by: Luc Besançon

Pharmaceutical scientists alr_pw35besancon03fb_8050nd pharmacists are key in translating scientific advances into better health. Some medicines, such as antibiotics, may become obsolete in the future, and there are still no treatments for certain diseases. This is where pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists play a vital part, developing innovative new medicines and ensuring their proper use. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is in a unique position to marry up these activities.

To increase recognition of our profession, FIP introduced World Pharmacists Day (WPD) in 2009. This year’s theme, “Pharmacists: Caring for you,” reflects the important role of pharmacists in providing care to the public and highlights the emotional connection we have with our patients.

What is interesting is that pharmacy has great diversity—much more than most other health professions. From drug discovery and design to biotechnology, and from community pharmacy to military and emergency pharmacy, FIP brings together a wide variety of research areas and practice sectors. Our strength is in stimulating a two-way dialogue between scientists and practitioners, so that science informs practice and practice informs science about current needs. For example, science-based practice will be a track in FIP’s Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress program next year.

For many pharmacists, the profession is satisfying and important because we directly influence and improve patient health. Working on health challenges with other health care providers can be appealing and intellectually stimulating. Although our input is not always visible, we know that our work truly provides value in people’s lives. We are one of the best kept secrets in health care.

For WPD 2016, FIP has produced a number of resources in the six official United Nations languages, including materials for social media. We encourage pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists to use this day—25 September—to organize activities that promote and advocate for our role in improving health in every corner of the world, to be proud and to celebrate our profession in its diversity.

Through its 139 national member organizations, FIP represents over three million scientists and practitioners around the world. Our main goal is to advance pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy globally, and advocate for the safe and responsible use of medicines.

Luc Besançon, Pharm.D., is the chief executive officer of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.