1. Overview of member country’s Pharmacy Technician Association
Since may 11th of 1991, the Portuguese Association of Graduated in Pharmacy (APLF) is an institution for the defense, promotion and professional qualification of Pharmacy Technicians in Portugal. With a dynamic organization model, the APLF aims to promote the scientific update of its associates, ensuring professional qualification, in defense of deontological and ethical principles, safety and patient’s rights. Is closely connected to schools, expressing one’s view concerning the professional, technological and scientific progress, adapted to the needs in the field of pharmacy. Also promotes a national and international network, in order to promote the development in the fields of education, training and employment.
2. Member country web links to other important organisations , for example the countries pharmacy professional regulator if pharmacy technicians are registered
Ministry of Health - http://www.portaldasaude.pt/
General Directorate of Health - http://www.dgs.pt/
National Authority of Medicines – http://www.infarmed.pt
National Regulatory body – http://www.acss.pt
3. Overview of members country’s pharmacy and pharmacy technicians
In Portugal, a Pharmacy Technician is responsible to ensure the best treatment, adequate to patients’ need, managing and guarantying the right use of medicines. Has its intervention through community and hospital pharmacies, industry, radiopharmaceuticals handling, teaching and research teams.
The Pharmacy Technician is legally registered and scientifically qualified to conceive, plan, organize, apply and evaluate all the phases of medicines circuit and health products. Is a
professional endowed with a wide range of knowledge in the area of medicines like production, acquisition and distribution. Plays an important role in multidisciplinary teams, capable of assuming
responsibility opinions and decisions in order to promote best use of medicines in patient’s treatment.
In Portugal a Pharmacy can be the owner of a pharmacy or a parapharmacy (OTC drugstore) and assume the technical responsibility of a parapharmacy.
News from Portugal 2018:
News from Portugal 2018:
HIV and Hepatitis B and C point-of-care tests in Portuguese Community Pharmacies
The Ministry of Health authorised the use of devices for these rapid tests in pharmacies and also in pathology laboratories to reduce the “rate of late diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in Portugal is "highest" in the European Union.”
Likewise, to other biochemical and physiological parameters already evaluated in pharmacies network (such as diabetes, cholesterol or PSA), these rapid screening tests will allow increasing earlier detection of these diseases. In about 15 minutes, patients could have access to the results that should always have to be confirmed later if they are reactive (positive). This measure will allow early identification of cases of infection and will eventually contribute to reducing social stigma.
The National competent authority – INFARMED IP - is now publishing the necessary guidelines to start these tests, safeguarding confidentiality and privacy and providing appropriate information by health professionals – “who will have training for counselling before and after the test and appropriate referral”, referred the office to the national press.
The adherence of pharmacies to perform these tests is voluntary.
News from Portugal:
Overview on Portuguese Community Pharmacy – new trends
Since February of 2015, community pharmacies are implementing the dematerialization of the paper prescription. The first paperless prescriptions appeared at the beginning of 2016 and the access could be done via smartphone or text message, National ID Card, email, and other electronic platforms or through the consumer treatment guide (still in the paper). All prescriptions are stored in a national database for prescriptions owned by Health Ministry (SPMS®) until their expiry date (one month for acute treatments and six months for chronic treatments). Every prescription has a unique pin code to access it.
This represents the biggest change in the prescription system ever because until then consumers were obliged to obtain all medicines in one prescription at one time. Greater accessibility is guaranteed allowing consumers to bought prescribed medicines at different times, and the same prescription could be used in several pharmacies until all medicines are dispensed.
The system appears to have a positive impact in sparing the expenses (eg. in paper, time and resources), as well as a decrease in dispensing errors related with prescription . Also allows a faster profit return for pharmacies; however, in the first months some errors and failures were reported, and the system was down several times, compromising the normal prescription and dispense of medicines.
Until October 2016, approximately 260,000 prescriptions were issued, without any associated impression, sending only by SMS or email. An effective decrease in the paper estimated in, at least 90 thousand tons per year.
Since this year, pharmacies can now dispense some generics with discount. The measure covers reimbursed generic medicines, and if its price is higher than the fourth cheapest medicine in their homogenous group, the pharmacy could sell it at a discount price equal to or less than the fourth cheapest medicine, allowing pharmacies to sell drugs with a higher profit margin at the same price.
Furthermore, the government has also accomplished to settle agreements with the pharmaceutical industry to through partnership assure access to medicines, creating a more competitive and attractive pricing system, with periodic reviews that usually allow to reduce the price of medicines. The government is now creating an incentive program to encourage the sale of generic drugs, proposing the payment of small value to the pharmacies for each generic drug unit traded (expected to be 0,35€/box and starts in January of 2017). Currently, the rate of generics sold is around 40%, and it is projected to reach 60% in 2018.
Coimbra, 8th of December 2016
APLF General Secretary
The Portuguese Association of Pharmacy Graduated (APLF) is leading a discussion forum on Practical Oncology in an attempt to gather consensus regarding procedures and regulations in the preparation of antineoplastics in Portuguese hospital pharmacies.
On November 19, experts gathered for the first meeting, in Oporto, where different concerns, ideas, and modus operandi were shared, according to each hospital practices.
It was recognised the need for standardisation of procedures at a national level, with the aim of training and informing all the professionals involved in the circuit of these medicines, with so many specificities and safety needs.
To this purpose, an action plan has been set up to include other colleagues in further meetings, the inclusion of schools (as basic training entities), the participation of training providers (such as the trade union, laboratories, and others) intending to creating a national APLF procedure manual.
After publication, this guide will be a base tool guiding the professionals already in the field and the certified formation and training of new professionals. It is APLF’s intention to share and discuss this document with its EAPT partners, in order, perhaps, to be possible to standardise procedures at European level.
Coimbra, 8th of December 2016