The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) have signed a landmark initiative to improve engagement between pharmacists and tuberculosis health workers.

The landmark WHO/FIP joint statement – Engaging Pharmacists in TB Care and Control – aims to substantially reduce the number of deaths from tuberculosis by encouraging the FIP’s network of two million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to become more engaged in national tuberculosis care and control efforts.

FIP president Dr Michel Buchmann said that the FIP will endeavour to support the WHO and its member states to enable national tuberculosis programmes and national pharmacy associations to strengthen their collaboration.

The statement calls on tuberculosis programmes and pharmacy associations to increase awareness of tuberculosis, and refer people with tuberculosis symptoms to facilities for diagnosis and treatment.

In addition it calls for patient-centred treatment supervision to promote adherence and help prevent multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; promotion of the rational use of anti- tuberculosis medicines; and the prohibition of the sale of anti- tuberculosis medicines over the counter or without a prescription.