Pharmaceutical Policy and the Pharmacy Profession*
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In this article, the authors look at the relationship between pharmaceutical policy and the pharmacy profession with focus on pharmacy practice and pharmacists in the health care sector. Pharmaceutical policy encompasses three major policy inputs: public health policy, health care policy and industrial policy. In order to analyse and understand pharmaceutical policy, it is important to know how policymakers view pharmacy and pharmacists. The authors look at the issues that arise when policy regulates pharmacy as a business, and what this means for the profession. The perspective of pharmacy as a health care profession, as well as what it means when we view pharmaceutical policy in the context of the health sector labour market, is discussed.
The authors also discuss how factors external to the profession are affecting its purpose and realm of practice, including the current trend in managerialism, and how the division of labour with other health professionals such as physicians and pharmacy assistants is affecting the pharmacy profession’s position in the labour market.
Next the authors look at ways in which the pharmacy profession has affected policy. Pharmacists have been instrumental in developing new and expanding roles for the profession, sometimes inspired by external events, but often as a result of their own prerogative.
The pharmacy profession is encouraged to take a leading role in forming and contributing to policy, in this way making visible its contribution to society in general and public health in particular. If not, the profession will forever be reacting to policy and will remain at the mercy of policymakers and other strong actors in society.
KeywordsPharmaceutical policy Pharmacist Pharmacy Pharmacy profession Professionalism
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