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FIP asks PDA to consider the RPS application to join

As an existing UK member of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the PDA has been asked about an application to join FIP received from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Fri 9th December 2022 The PDA

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global body representing the interests of over four million pharmacists, pharmacy students, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators. FIP is a non-governmental organisation that represents the interests of pharmacists at a global level; Since 1948 it is an organisation that has been officially recognised to do so by the World Health Organisation. FIP is also recognised and works closely with UNESCO, World Health Professions Alliance and the WHO Regional Pharmaceutical forums.

When the PDA joined FIP earlier this year, there was no national pharmacy organisation to represent UK pharmacists on this important international body. The PDA joined to ensure that the voices of PDA members could be heard in all these places and that the benefits of the learnings from across the globe can be delivered to PDA members here in the UK.

Since the PDA has joined, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) which left FIP at the end of last year has now asked if it can rejoin. Under FIP rules, if a new application from an additional organisation from the same country applies to join, the existing members in that country are consulted about that decision and are asked for their approval before FIP council members determine if the application is accepted. Under these rules, the PDA is the existing organisation and the RPS is the fresh applicant.

This week, the PDA has been asked whether it approves the application of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to join FIP.  Some of our new friends in FIP have told us that certain countries protect their exclusive positioning as being the only national pharmacist organisation representing the pharmacists from their country on FIP and they block additional applications.

The PDA is very aware of some concerns which were publicly raised about the way in which RPS recently announced, that it had left FIP.  The PDA has felt and understood the frustration of pharmacists wanting to know why such a decision could have ever been made and it has also seen the commentary querying if RPS rejoining would duplicate what the PDA is now already doing in FIP for UK pharmacists.

However, on balance and given the specific role the PDA has in representing its members from across the whole of the UK, the PDA believes allowing RPS to join would provide those pharmacists who are not currently members of the PDA but are members of the RPS, as well as the smaller number of pharmacists that are not permitted to be members of the PDA such as pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists of large chains and senior managers, with the opportunity to add their perspective within the global pharmacy discussion.  Ultimately, the PDA believes that it is in the interests of the British pharmacy leadership eco-system where the PDA and the RPS have different roles, for both organisations to be in membership of FIP.

How much influence will this give the UK?

As a full member of FIP, the PDA gets a seat at the FIP Council, as will the RPS if FIP accepts its application. Decision-making at the FIP council relies upon votes apportioned by the size of membership represented and therefore, as an organisation with more than 30,000 pharmacists in membership the PDA can cast the maximum ten votes available to a single body.   Though the RPS have been reluctant to release their membership numbers, their English Pharmacy Board elections showed that in 2022, they had 19,512 eligible voters who will have been members or fellow’s resident in either England, in the crown dependencies or overseas.  Assuming that once the numbers of RPS members in Wales and Scotland are added, this places overall membership of the RPS somewhere between 20-29,999, so they will likely have nine votes at Council, if they are permitted to join.

The PDA has supported the application of the RPS to join FIP

The PDA has confirmed that it would not oppose the membership application of the RPS. However, if the FIP Council decide to admit RPS into membership of FIP, the PDA has asked FIP to find a suitable method to ascertain a transparent declaration of membership numbers from the RPS, to reassure everyone (including the PDA) that their voting allocation is based on accurate membership numbers. It is hoped that this will represent a positive development for UK pharmacists.

The character and values of organisations allowed to join FIP

FIP places significant emphasis on the character and the values of those organisations seeking to join. They require applicant organisations to satisfy the following criteria:

  • caring: a focus on the individual, the family and the community.
  • commitment: to the development of the pharmaceutical sciences, the pharmaceutical professions and to the continued reform and improvement of pharmaceutical education.
  • collaboration: with all the healthcare parties involved so as to effect positive change.
  • excellence: promoting and supporting best practices.
  • integrity and transparency: in every action that is carried out towards members, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • responsibility: toward both society and FIP members.
  • spirit of inquiry: welcoming and showing respect for different points of view.

The PDA looks forward to greater collaboration with pharmacy colleagues around the world as part of FIP. Pharmacists in the UK are encouraged to make full use of FIP resources and further information explaining how individual PDA members can get more involved in the work of FIP will follow.

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