The pharmacist has a key role to play in French health policy, according to a leading member of France's Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Professor Claude Dreux, president of France's College of Pharmacists' Cespharm Committee, said that pharmacists should be at the forefront of his government's emphasis on preventative health during an academic sessions at the Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy.
"The roadmap for the government national health strategy has prevention as a priority," said Dreux, adding that the promotion of health is not solely the responsibility of health professionals, but also of patient groups, for instance.
The latter have an important role to play in reaching “populations in need”, he said.
Regularly in contact with the public put pharmacists “in the front line”, said Dreux, enabling them to be first to deliver preventative advice, to warn about risk behaviours and to participate in monitoring certain patients.
This system is already in place in France for patients on anticoagulants, and is soon to be introduced for patients suffering from asthma.
"Although scattered across the country, pharmacists have their place in the promotion of health," Dreux concluded.
Dreux also suggested the establishment of a joint working group involving academics specialising in medicine, pharmacy and veterinary science. This should be devoted to health education, patient education and prevention, he recommended.
The proposed working group should participate in the development of the new healthcare law, due to be revealed in 2015, said Dreux.