COVID-19: Learnings from rheumatologists on taken measures and implications for Clinical Practice

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought an unprecedented challenge for European pharmacists, who find themselves at the frontline of the fight against the virus.

This initiative therefore provides a cross-country educational effort to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience through a series of expert-led interviews, in which speakers cover a range of topics relevant to pharmacists during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The experience of Italian pharmacists

Talking about the current situation for pharmacists in Italy is Ing. Sebastiano Di Guardo. Ing. Di Guardo is General Manager of Municipal Pharmacies in Cinisello Balsamo and Bresso (Milan) in the Lombardy region of Italy, one of the areas most affected by coronavirus; he also lectures at the University of Milan Bicocca and the Scuola Superiore della Magistratura in Florence. The 2nd interview partner is Dr. Roberto Tobia, who is the national secretary of the National Union of Pharmacists in Italy. The complete recording with Ing. Di Guardo and Dr. Tobia was broadcasted on April 9th 2020.

Learnings from German pharmacists

Sharing the experience of German pharmacists during the outbreak are Dr. Ulrich Koczian and Mr. Andreas Portugal. Dr. Koczian received his PharmD from the University of Florida and is currently Vice-president of the Bavarian Chamber of Pharmacists. Mr. Portugal is a founding member of Pharmacists Without Borders (Pharmaciens Sans Frontières Comité International), and works at the Chamber of Pharmacists in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the regional group of the federal state.

Patient protection in pharmacies

Dr. Koczian and Ing. Di Guardo describe the challenges of keeping patients safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. See what changes they implemented in their pharmacies to protect patients from contagion by clicking on the link below:

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For further information on how to best protect patients, please refer to your local regulatory authorities.

Effective patient consultations during the outbreak 

As our speaker notes, consultations have been made difficult by physical barriers between pharmacists and patients; however, providing accurate information to patients has never been more important. Watch Mr. Portugal talk about how his team effectively adapted their patient consultations during the COVID-19 outbreak:

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Importance of protection for pharmacy personnel

Our speakers remark that with many medical appointments cancelled and hospitals dealing with high numbers of patients, pharmacies have become the only health center available in many communities; keeping pharmacists safe is therefore of utmost importance. To watch Dr. Koczian and Ing. Di Guardo detail the measures they have taken to effectively protect their teams from COVID-19 contagion while keeping pharmacy services ongoing, please click on the link below:

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Protecting the mental health of pharmacy workers

Our speaker describes how the COVID-19 outbreak has brought in not only anxiety about the health and wellbeing of loved ones, but also highly stressful working conditions for pharmacists across Europe. Watch Mr. Portugal talk about what mental health strategies he implemented in his pharmacy to protect employees during this period:

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Supply of medicines – Issues and bottlenecks

As described by our speakers, increased demand for medications related to the outbreak has been worsened by logistical difficulties in obtaining adequate supplies. Watch Dr. Koczian and Ing. Di Guardo talk about how these challenges were dealt with by clicking on the link below:

Link to video
Key learnings and changes in a dynamic environment

Our speakers explain how the COVID-19 outbreak is changing the way pharmacies work, and some of these changes could enhance the way pharmacies provide their services to the community long after the outbreak is over. Watch Dr. Koczian and Ing. Di Guardo share their learnings and recommendations for pharmacists in other countries:

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Full recording of the webcast from  April 9th 2020
Link to video