The opportunity to establish a new leadership body for pharmacists is a once in a lifetime opportunity to consolidate the fragmented representation in pharmacy, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has said in comments to the Clarke Inquiry.

"The pharmaceutical industry wants to work with an effective and efficient professional body representing the views of all pharmacists," said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.

"Pharmacists are becoming increasingly important members of the healthcare team, with expertise in medicines and broader roles in prescribing and dealing with patients. In these circumstances, it is vital that the profession is well led and well represented at national level."

The ABPI's view that a new professional body is needed stems from its difficulty in finding an effective joint working relationship with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain over the years, because of its dual role as regulator and professional body, at a time when partnership working is of increasing importance among healthcare providers.

With numerous bodies seeking to represent pharmacy at national level, this creates further difficulties for those seeking to work with pharmacy, and the ABPI comments suggest that this is an opportunity to look to consolidation between the various pharmacy bodies.

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry