Saturday, October 6, 2018

WPD - The Significance behind the Abbreviation

In 2009, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) designated September 25th as World Pharmacist Day, commonly abbreviated as WPD.1 The theme for this year is "Pharmacists: Your medication experts".Although World Pharmacist Day shares the same date as other international holidays - World Dream Day, German Butterbrot Day, and One-Hit Wonder Day - the day has a great meaning to pharmacists and pharmacy students across the world.2

The Theme

The goal of World Pharmacist Day is to encourage pharmacists to advocate for their role in healthcare and to bring awareness to their unique knowledge base. Regardless of the differing scopes of pharmacists across the world, the most fundamental responsibility is to ensure that the right patient receives the right medication. This breaks down the perception of pharmacists as "pill counters" and emphasizes that pharmacists have a role in protecting health by using their expert medication knowledge to assess the appropriateness of medications for each patient. In keeping with the idea of pharmacists as one of the most trusted professionals, this year's theme also highlights that not only do we provide current and evidence-based information about medication to patients, but also to other healthcare professionals.1,3

Past World Pharmacist Day themes, such as last year's theme "From research to healthcare: Your pharmacist is at your service", have similarly countered other publicly-held opinions of pharmacists.4 The 2017 theme reflects that pharmacists contribute to patient health not only in patient-care settings like hospital or community pharmacy, but also in diverse settings like research, industry, and education.4

The 2018 Celebrations

The president of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, Dominique Jordan, invited pharmacists across the world to spread this year's message within their communities, at work, and on social media by decorating their profile pictures with a World Pharmacist Day Twibbon.

Pharmacy students at the University of Toronto embraced the theme by participating in a social media competition that involved completing the sentence "I am a future pharmacist and I am an expert in ____" and posting a photo on social media holding up the message. Outside of the University of Toronto pharmacy world, a simple search of "World Pharmacist Day 2018" or "WPD 2018" on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pulls up a long list of pharmacists, patients, and organizations from across the world celebrating the impact of pharmacists.

The Impact

Appreciation days, whether they are for bringing awareness to pharmacists or the best one-hit wonders, are meant to get the conversation started and serve as a platform for more questions and opportunities to advocate in the future. From my experience participating in Pharmacy Awareness Month last March where I spoke to patients about the expanded scope of Ontario pharmacists, many people were unaware of some of the things their pharmacists could do for them. Although I didn't have an extensive conversation about it with every patient, I'm sure I left the door open for them to ask their pharmacist about it at their next visit or ask their friends or family if they've had experience with it. 

Judging by the number of likes, comments, and shares of WPD 2018 social media posts and pictures, the campaign must be working to get people engaged and talking about the role of pharmacists.

Hope you had a happy World Pharmacist Day!


  1. International Pharmaceutical Federation. World Pharmacist Day. Accessed on October 2, 2018:
  2. Days of the Year. Browse all the weird holidays on ... 25th, September 2018. Accessed on October 2, 2018:
  3. Marotta, Ryan. (2018, February 9). Pharmacists Remain Among Most Trust and Ethical Professionals. Accessed on October 2, 2018:
  4. International Pharmaceutical Federation. Diversity of profession to be focus of World Pharmacist Day 2017. Accessed on October 2, 2018: