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Medicine Misinformation
Regulate against medicines misinformation, World Nations urged

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has urged governments across the world to monitor and regulate against medicine misinformation.

The FIP made the call in a policy statement it released on Tuesday and made available to PUNCH via a press statement.

The FIP is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators, and is in official relations with the World Health Organisation.

The FIP noted that “regulating against medicines misinformation is among a number of recommendations it made to governments in a statement of policy on the strategic development of medicines information, published on Tuesday.

“This statement of policy replaces one published by FIP in 2017, taking into account the increasing use of digital information sources, including artificial intelligence, and putting a stronger emphasis on the role of pharmacists to lead in this area,” said Dr. Boyan Todorov, president of FIP’s Health and Medicines Information Section and co-chair of the policy committee that developed the statement.

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Todorov explained: “Medicines information is essential to empower patients, users of medicines, healthcare practitioners, and caregivers to engage in the safe, effective, and appropriate use of medicines. Challenges in ensuring the quality of information often relate to the decentralised and unsupervised ways of creating health and well-being information online. For example, users of medicines can now find information through artificial intelligence platforms, but that information can be incorrect, with detrimental effects on health.”

FIP urged pharmacists to utilise their expertise to lead the creation and execution of effective medicine information strategies while establishing their role as a trusted partner and knowledge base for other healthcare practitioners and as the primary resource for obtaining accurate and unbiased medicine information.

The FIP added that pharmacists should give special attention to the use of printed or electronic information to reinforce the spoken information provided.

In addition, the federation calls for the establishment of medicines information centres operated by pharmacists specialising in the provision of drug information.

The updated policy statement also contains a number of recommendations for action by other stakeholders, including education providers, the pharmaceutical industry and member organisations.