Letter from PPhA

27 Jul, 2014

Greetings from the Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA)!

We would like to inform WPPF regarding our Association’s new set of Officers and Board of Directors for 2014-2016, effective 01 July 2014.

Please find the attached official letter from our President, Dr. Olivia M. Limuaco.

Thank you very much for your kind attention!

Best regards,
PPhA Secretariat


Japan Pharmaceutical Association: Board members 2014-2016

25 Jul, 2014


To: Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum
We are pleased to inform the directors and the treasurers of
Japan Pharmaceutical Association appointed in June, 2014.
Please find the attached file.
Thank you.
Japan Pharmaceutical Association (JPA)

Pharmacists asked to “think again” about roles in hepatitis

25 Jul, 2014


Hepatitis: Think Again, is the theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. The International Pharmaceutical Federation is encouraging pharmacists to “think again” about their roles in hepatitis prevention and treatment.

It has been an eventful few months for hepatitis. The World Health Organization issued new recommendations on treating hepatitis C in April and the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis in May. Moreover, since the previous World Hepatitis Day two new direct-acting antivirals (sofosbuvir and simeprevir) have been launched and there are more in the pipeline. 
The advent of such new medicines that seem set to change the face of hepatitis management have, however, been marred by pricing challenges. At the 49th International Liver Congress, held in London, UK, in April, the World Health Organization called for these new medicines to be first-line treatments yet also for concerted effort to drive down their costs. 

Crucial roles for pharmacists
“It is good news that there are new and more effective treatments coming on the market, but their price may be a challenge for even developed countries. If governments and health insurers are to cover the costs of these medicines, they would like to ensure that the investment will result in expected outcomes as measured in clinical trials. The input of pharmacists in ensuring responsible use of these medicines is, therefore, crucial,” Luc Besançon, CEO and general secretary of FIP, points out.

Ensuring responsible use of medicines for hepatitis includes providing medication counselling, follow-up to ensure adherence and identifying problems such as adverse effects. Counselling often includes advice on alcohol and over-the-counter medicines that affect the liver. Some countries have seen “specialty” pharmacies opening and there is some evidence from the USA that the provision of care from these pharmacies improves adherence.

But in fact, pharmacists have been demonstrating the important roles they can play in hepatitis prevention and diagnosis as well as in the care of those who are infected. Pharmacies have shown that they are able to perform blood tests for hepatitis, with evidence from the UK pointing to higher proportions of diagnosis than GP surgeries. FIP’s Pharmacists Organisations and Pharmacists’ Activities Database (POPAD) also holds information on community pharmacies in Australia and Austria playing a part in raising awareness of hepatitis, testing and vaccinations. Hepatitis vaccinations (hepatitis A and B) are being administered through pharmacies, and for many years pharmacists have been supporting prevention through providing drug misuse services and needle exchange, and advising on good hygiene practices. The scope for pharmacists to contribute to preventing and managing this disease, which is estimated to kill almost 1.4 million each year, is wide, adds Mr Besançon.

For World Hepatitis Day 2014, FIP asks pharmacists around the world to “think again” about the roles they are playing and the roles they can play. This year’s campaign, organised by the WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance, contains a number of key messages linked to awareness, prevention, treatment, vaccination, stigma and sporting events. A campaign toolkit, which includes posters that pharmacists might like to display, is available here.


FIP renews commitment to healthcare for women and children

14 Jul, 2014


Pharmacy policy and practice should reflect the United Nations’ Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the Every Newborn Action Plan, says the International Pharmaceutical Federation.

FIP has renewed its commitment to health for women and children, along with 10 other non-governmental organisations and a number of Governments, business communities and institutions, as part of the Every Woman Every Child movement, which aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. The commitment of each organisation is available in adocument published today (14/07/2014) by the World Health Organization.

FIP’s commitment includes advocating for scientific imperatives (including good pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical care), encouraging policies that allow pharmacists to work within their full scope of practice, and collecting and sharing best practices and evidence on effective pharmacists’ interventions, all with the aim of improving maternal, newborn and child health.

FIP’s Statement of Policy on “The effective utilization of pharmacists in improving maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH)” is now available in four languages.

Latest information on Bangkok

1 Jul, 2014

reference: http://www.fip.org/www/index.php?page=news_publications&news=newsitem&newsitem=167

The Hague, 16 July 2014 – After talks between the two political parties in Thailand ended with The National Council for Peace Order (NCPO) taking control of the country on 22 May, life is returning to normal. Although martial law is still in effect until further notice, the curfew imposed by the NCPO was recently lifted.

FIP staff were in Bangkok from 17 – 21 June on a scheduled visit to make final congress preparations. This visit also allowed us to find out, first-hand, about daily life and safety. Staff reported: “Bangkok is very peaceful, and people are in excellent spirits, foreigners and Thai. People are pleased with the current situation.”

During the on-site visit, FIP staff met with Colonel Weerachon Sukondhapatipak of the Royal Thai Army, who promised the full support of the authorities to ensure that our guests feel safe in Thailand.

Expectation is that by the time the World Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Congress is held (31 Aug – 4 Sept), normal life will have long resumed, and congress preparations are going ahead as usual. A video of interviews with people attending a large conference in Bangkok from 4-7 June is availablehere.

The safety of our congress participants is our priority and, together with our host committee and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, we continue to monitor the situation closely.

Fighting the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

21 Jul, 2014


National health authorities, WHO and partners are working around the clock to contain the Ebola outbreak affecting Sierra Leone’s eastern districts of Kailahun and Kenema.

Kailahun is situated close to the border with Guinea and specifically the Gueckedou region where the outbreak was first declared in March this year. The first confirmed Ebola cases in Kailahun were reported on 25 May.

As of 17 July 2014, the total number of cases attributed to Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone, was 442 cases including 206 deaths.

“Since my arrival 12 days ago we buried more than 50 bodies in 2 makeshift graveyards close to Ebola treatment centre” says Jose Rovira, a logistics expert working with the WHO who trained 20 volunteers from the National Red Cross and Ministry of Health in safe burials of deceased Ebola patients in Kailahun district “and this number does not include burial of people who died in their homes. We receive daily alerts on suspected community deaths.”

Finding and treating all Ebola patients and then tracing and observing the close contacts of those people over a period of 21 days to ensure they have not been infected is a key to halt the chain of transmission.

“We are running behind Ebola. We came too late when villages already had dozen of cases and right now we don’t know where all chains of transmission are taking place” says Anja Wolz, emergency coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) running the Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun. “Since we set up the centre 4 weeks ago, we had over 90 confirmed cases but I think it is the tip of the iceberg.”

The transmission chain moved then south to the larger city of Kenema. The district hospital turned two wards into a treatment centre with WHO providing clinicians and technical assistance. Eight nurses working in the Ebola ward were infected, depleting an already thin health workforce.

“We have a limited capacity and our health workers are not well prepared” says Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone Chief Medical Officer currently overseeing the response in Kenema. “The external assistance is very much appreciated.”

Maximizing limited resources

In both cities, the response is organized through committees working on different aspects and chaired by national health authorities: case management and infection control, surveillance and social mobilization, psychosocial support, and logistics.

“To succeed in actively finding the sick people, community participation is vital.” explains Dr. Zabulon Yoti, WHO team leader and emergency coordinator in Kailahun. “With financial support from partners, we recruited, trained and equipped 20 volunteers with mobile phones in each of the 14 chiefdoms. Some 300 volunteers are charged with contact tracing and alerting the Ministry of Health on any suspect cases or deaths. The programme is producing results and funding is available for the next 3 months.”

WHO helped with the deployment of Public Health Canada mobile laboratory in Kailahun; while in Kenema the testing is done in the existing Lassa fever research centre. Activities on social mobilization are also ongoing, but fear and anxiety persist especially in rural areas. Activities involving the traditional and religious leaders in the Kailahun district has already resulted into greater acceptance of the health interventions by the community.

Early admission of cases in the case management centres for supportive care improves chances of survival. There have more than 50 Ebola infected patients who have so far been discharged and sent home following successful management at the Kenema treatment centre.

Robust response urgently needed

The vast geographical spread of the outbreak requires an enormous and robust response capacity and structures. However, as this is the first major EVD outbreak in West Africa, affected countries have to scale up their epidemic preparedness and response systems.

In Sierra Leone, there is a unanimous opinion among all those involved that without more resources the fight against Ebola may prove to be too difficult. “We need to step up the response and we need to do it fast” says Dr. Yoti, “we need more experts on the ground, more funding and more logistical support.”

There are a lot of volunteers from the community ready to take part in response but often there is a lack of experienced people to supervise operations.

“We are facing a very serious outbreak and we need more personnel and logistics” concludes Dr. Kargbo.

Young people’s views guide WHO advice on HIV prevention and care for those most at risk

17 Jul, 2014

reference: http://www.who.int/features/2014/hiv-prevention/en/

Sex workers, drug users, men who have sex with men and transgender people are at higher risk of HIV than the general population – a risk that is heightened if the person is young. WHO has produced specific guidance on how best to provide support and treatment for young people under 24 in these vulnerable groups, drawing heavily on young people’s own views.

“You have triple stigma if you are young, a sex worker and transgender,” said a young person in Asia. This was one of many comments gathered during a range of community consultations by WHO partner organizations* to learn about the barriers such young people face in accessing health services.

“In many countries, these young key populations are not even spoken about, much less provided for. But changes that happen in adolescence can add complications to already complicated lives,” says Alice Armstrong of WHO’s HIV Department, who coordinated this work. The consultations examined the experiences across the world of young men who have sex with men (MSM), young people who sell sex, those who inject drugs and those who are transgender.

The findings helped to shape WHO’s “Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations,” as well as a series of discussion briefs developed with other UN agencies and community organization partners on how to provide services, programmes and support for these key groups.

Expelled, ashamed, abused

More than 5 million people overall aged 10 to 24 are living with HIV. Those aged 15 to 24 years were estimated in 2012 to account for 39% of all new infections worldwide in people over 15 years of age.

There is a dearth of reliable health data about young people but it is recognised that discrimination and stigma, violence and alienation from families and friends are factors that can lead them, willingly or not, to engage in behaviours, such as unprotected sex and the sharing of needles and syringes, that put them at risk of HIV and hepatitis B and C infections.

“I was expelled from school and abandoned by my own family when they found out I was taking some [non-injecting] drugs. So I thought, why not go all the way,” said a young Indonesian.

“Clients are too ashamed to purchase a condom and we are too scared to buy a condom,” a young male sex worker in Pakistan said.

Police respond with abuse when you try to report abuse by clients, a young sex worker in Kenya recounted, “telling us [we should instead] be selling potatoes in the market”.

Listen and learn

Legal barriers, such as age of consent to accessing health services, can also pose huge problems.

“It’s not helpful to tell a young person go away, we can’t give you a condom now, come back when you are 18,” says Dr Rachel Baggaley of WHO’s HIV Department. “For young men who have sex with men, for example, this is a period when they are often really at risk of HIV. If we can support them through this time to develop the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from HIV this could have an important impact.”

“We hope that these new guidelines and discussion briefings will serve as an exchange of information for groups working in all these areas, stimulate discussion and raise awareness of how these young people need more attention, in particular from health services,” says Ms Armstrong.

That includes listening to what young people themselves say. “Young people don’t want to be lectured at, yet we doctors love telling people what to do,” adds Dr Baggaley. “One group during the survey consultations drew a picture of their ideal health worker. It had huge ears – and a tiny mouth.”

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* Partners included: United Nations Populations Fund, Youth Voices Count, HIV Young Leaders Fund and Youth Research Information Support Education (YouthRISE), Youth LEAD

WHO opens regional Ebola response centre

25 Jul, 2014


Conakry, Guinea – 25 July, 2014 – In response to continuing reports of new cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, opened a Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination Centre in Conakry, Guinea.

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“The Centre will allow monitoring in real-time of the activities to fight the epidemic…”

Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, the WHO Regional Director for Africa

“The Centre will allow monitoring in real-time of the activities to fight the epidemic, in collaboration with the national committees and the teams deployed on the ground,” said Dr Sambo.

“The Centre will act as a platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support being provided to West African countries affected by the outbreak. It will also help to mobilize resources for the response,” said Dr Francis Kasolo, Director for Disease Prevention and Control for the WHO African Region. “Alongside national health authorities and WHO, other partner agencies involved in the Ebola response, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Red Cross, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and technical partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), will also work from the Centre.”

Creation of centre follows emergency meeting recommendations

The establishment of the Centre was requested by health ministers from 11 African countries at an emergency meeting convened by WHO in Accra, Ghana, 2-3 July.

The Accra meeting identified critical challenges and gaps in the response: coordination, communications, cross-border collaboration, treatment of patients, contact tracing and community participation, human resources and financial support.

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“Addressing these challenges in three countries will be far more efficient through a single coordination mechanism.”

Dr.Benido Impouma, WHO epidemiologist and the technical coordinator of the new Centre

“Addressing these challenges in three countries will be far more efficient through a single coordination mechanism,” said Dr Benido Impouma, WHO epidemiologist and the technical coordinator of the new Centre. “Finding and treating all Ebola patients and then tracing and observing the close contacts of these persons over a period of 21 days to ensure they have not been infected is a key to halting transmission. This can be only done with full community participation.”

As of 12 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 964, including 603 deaths.

Ensuring effective use of resources

The vast geographical spread of the outbreak requires enormous and robust response capacity and structures. As this is the first major EVD outbreak in West Africa, affected countries have to scale up their epidemic preparedness and response systems.

The Sub-regional Centre will be responsible for ensuring effective use and deployment of limited, but highly critical resources based on prioritization and agreed objectives. The organization and coordination of key support functions and field operations will move closer to outbreak areas, or ‘hot spots’.

In addition, the Sub-regional Centre will:

  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>ensure sufficient technical and operational support and resources to sustain response activities in the field, facilitate the coordination of GOARN partners and networks, prepare public communications materials and activities, engage in contingency planning, risk assessments, and scaling of operations as required, and secure an environment that enables effective and successful field operations;
  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>define operational periods to achieve agreed objectives and ensure the planning, coordination, and optimum use of limited resources, as well as continuity of action and management;
  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>direct human and material resources for: communications and social mobilization, investigation of alerts and new outbreaks, case finding and contact tracing, surveillance and data management, patient treatment and care, logistics, stockpiling, and movement of personal protective equipment to key locations; and
  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>provide technical guidance and resources, communications support, decision-making, and reporting for all field teams in the sub-region.

World Hepatitis Day 2014: Think again

25 Jul, 2014


Every year on 28 July, WHO and partners mark World Hepatitis Day to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes.

Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year. But hepatitis remains largely ignored or unknown.

In April this year, WHO issued new recommendations on treatment of Hepatitis C. In May, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis.

On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2014, WHO and partners will urge policymakers, health workers and the public to ‘Think again’ about this silent killer.

World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as:

  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases;
  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes;
  • http://www.who.int/sysmedia/media/style/img/list.gif); background-position: 0% 0.5em;”>coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.

The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus.

Common medications move to over-the-counter use

24 Jul, 2014


Dozens of commonly used medicines will be made available over the counter for the first time following a decision by the drugs regulator to remove their prescription-only classification.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (formerly the Irish Medicines Board) today published a list of 12 active substances that are currently classified as prescription-only but are being switched to over-the-counter sale.

Read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/common-medications-move-to-over-the-counter-use-1.1869497