PGEU welcomes the ambitions set forward in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan adopted yesterday by the European Commission. European community pharmacists offer their support for the implementation of the Plan’s objectives in primary care and are committed to take up an enhanced role in providing quality, convenient and affordable access to professional healthcare services within their domains of expertise.
PGEU President Alain Delgutte stated: “We are very pleased to see this ambitious plan for Europe which aims to tackle the entire disease pathway of cancer. The structural involvement of primary healthcare in the implementation of this plan at European, national, regional and local lewill be vital to reach its objectives effectively and make sure that EU citizens can receive quality healthcare services in an accessible and affordable manner.”
“Community pharmacies work at the heart of local communities and are already providing a wide range of professional services related to cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and in improving people’s quality of life as highlighted in our recent best practice paper. They are highly accessible to the public, which makes community pharmacy uniquely placed to support the Cancer Plan’s missions to enhance health literacy on cancer risks and determinants and improve health promotion. This is already an essential part of community pharmacists’ core mission to maximising the benefits of medicinal therapies and health outcomes of their patients in close cooperation with other health and social services in the community. Their accessibility is also a major asset for the support of population screening programmes for several types of cancer which are already successfully performed in pharmacies in several EU countries.”
“We also welcome the focus on preventing cancers caused by infections. Community pharmacists advise patients on the importance of immunisation, identify and remind target groups for vaccination, and of course dispense and advise on vaccines. In some European countries pharmacists also contribute to immunisation programmes for HPV and/or Hepatitis B vaccines in pharmacies as a complementary service to other vaccination services.”
“Equal access to essential medicines and innovation is another key pillar of the Plan which is highly relevant and supported by pharmacists. Integrated, people-centred care models for cancer supported through digital advances can lead to more efficient and effective multi-professional communication, transition of care and medicines reconciliation for cancer patients. The EU Health Data Space can leverage the potential of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for cancer across Europe and as a result support healthcare professionals, including community pharmacists, to provide more personalised services and treatment to patients. A key prerequisite is that all treating healthcare professionals are granted access to all relevant patients’ health information and the list of medications via integrated eHealth solutions and digital communication tools, while respecting data protection and privacy rules.”
“Lastly, to improve quality of life of cancer patients across Europe and maximise the effectiveness and safety of existing treatments, good pharmaceutical care is vital. Many of these patients receive complex medication treatments causing often serious side-effects and are at risk of medication errors. Community pharmacists should therefore be systematically involved to provide pharmaceutical services aimed at improving therapy outcomes and adherence and minimising the risks related to using these medicines.”