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The first meeting of the BPA was on January 8th 1978, to improve the standards of pharmaceutical related services and to replace other societies and associations that dealt with the practice of pharmacy in Bermuda, these were dissolved and the BPA was formed. Eighteen pharmacists were present at this inaugural meeting and discussions soon began on a draft constitution that was modelled on that of the Bermuda Medical Society. This initial committee of dedicated pharmacists were very much involved in bringing all the pharmacists in Bermuda together and giving them a platform to be heard.

 

The BPA's constitution was formed and the following objectives were founded:

  • To foster good relations between members of the pharmaceutical profession
  • To establish and maintain the highest possible standards of ethics and conduct in pharmacy in Bermuda
  • To assist in improving the professional knowledge and skills of its members
  • To exert such influence as it considers appropriate for the benefit of the people of Bermuda in matters relating to health and welfare
  • To represent and further the interests of the pharmaceutical profession in all spheres of activity.

 

One of the aims was to facilitate co-operation between the government, the physicians and every pharmacist in Bermuda and an objective was to make membership of the BPA a prerequisite for registration as a pharmacist in Bermuda.

 

During these early years the BPA held joint meetings with the Bermuda Medical Society to discuss various topics of mutual interest concerning prescribing and dispensing practices of the day, introducing dialogue between the professions.

 

Agreements were reached on standardising areas of practice that would benefit both professions and these meetings laid the ground work for the prescribing and dispensing practices that we have in place today and also greatly improved relationships between the physicians and the pharmacists.
In these early years the BPA committee met regularly and strived to provide continuing education to their membership as well as producing newsletters, giving speeches at public events and advice to schools pertaining to careers in pharmacy.


It also saw the framing of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act of 1979, which occupied a large amount of time as committee members collaborated with the Attorney General’s office in the Act's development. Following this three pharmacists were elected to sit on the Pharmacy Council which comprised a chairman and a medical practitioner.

 

Over the next few years the membership grew as the island's demand for pharmacists increased and by 1986 there were 32 pharmacists registered in Bermuda, 17 were Bermudian and spouses of Bermudians and 15 were non- Bermudian. With this the BPA grew and needed to form subcommittees, to include a legislative committee, an examination committee, a continuing education committee, an ethics committee, an advertising committee, a social committee and it also needed a BPSA representative as all the island's pharmacists became unionised. The membership was advised on matters that were discussed at executive meetings via news letters sent out by the newsletter editor these were circulated to the membership, as this was the time before the electronic age.

 

Over the years the BPA has continually made updates to its code of ethics and constitution and suggested amendments to the Pharmacy and Poisons regarding the scheduling of drugs. It also requested a government pharmacist post, to inspect pharmacies and other outlets selling drug products, this was approved in April 1985. It also introduced a one month apprenticeship for new pharmacists to Bermuda prior to their registration with the pharmacy council.

 

1987 - The BPA hosted its first public "Pharmacy Awareness Programme", this included a week of activities including workshops, posters and leaflets in pharmacies. There were press releases and interviews with local TV and radio, the aim was to enhance the public's awareness of the role of the pharmacist as a member of the healthcare team and it was an "unqualified success".

 

1988 - The BPA were invited to join the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association and sent two representatives to attend a conference in Barbados of the CPA and Caribbean Association of Pharmacists, following this a CPA representative was appointed. As a result of this, our representative would attend several of these conferences around the world.

 

1989 - Saw the first faxed prescriptions being used and the BPA lobbied for the use of child resistant caps in dispensing, a dump campaign was also initiated for the collection of unwanted medicines.

 

1991 - The BPA representative of the CAP attends the conference in Trinidad and sits on an advisory committee regarding pharmacy practice. Meetings are held with the Health Minister to look at reducing the cost of medications for patients and Colonial Insurance announces it's going to start covering some of the costs of prescription medications.

 

The next few years saw the BPA set up its pharmacy scholarship in the name of the late Kathyanne White who was a pharmacist and a member of the executive committee of the BPA.


Once again, several other sub-committees were set up namely and act revision, entertainment, public awareness, Duty free drug list and a national drug formulary committee and the BPA's goal was to increase awareness of pharmacy to the public and physicians via the press and with regular meetings respectively.

 

1996 - Sees the first annual pharmacy award given to a student pursuing a pharmacy career.


1997 - Sees the beginning of mandatory CE's for all pharmacists registered in Bermuda.

 

Over the years that followed the BPA CE committee is very active and hosts numerous CE symposiums and health fares and the BPA establishes links with TB Cancer and health to support local health initiatives as well as hosting its own health promotional events.

 

2005 - The BPA are invited, by the Minister of Finance and Family Services, to attend the first ever Bermuda Health Summit which looks at ways to provide high quality services whilst maintaining costs in the Bermuda healthcare system. The BPA is also asked to join the Collaboration Committee of the Bermuda Health Council to represent the profession of pharmacy which begins to standardise the licensing for each of the healthcare professions.

 

2008 - Immigration granted pharmacists "Key employee status" meaning no time limit restrictions were placed on the employment of pharmacists reflecting the shortage of qualified people within the profession.

 

2012 - The BPA organises its first charity event for the May 24th run and managed to raise over $11,000 with monies being donated to the Bermuda Diabetes Association and the development of a clinic in Haiti.

 

2013 - Collaboration with many bodies and the policy analyst at the Ministry of Health facilitates the review process of pharmacy legislation. With this, changes are made to the Pharmacy and Poisons act to include new guidelines for the registration of pharmacists which includes mandatory CPD and practice hours to come into effect for 2015 re-registration. December 31st 2013, the Pharmacy and Poisons Amendment Act is published and comes into effect, this includes from Feb 1st 2014 that mandatory generic substitution enables pharmacists to dispense the least expensive appropriate substitute they have available unless the prescriber has clearly indicated that this is prohibited.

 

2014 - The BPA were instrumental in giving guidance to the Bermuda Pharmacy Council who in collaboration with the Bermuda Health Council (BHEC) produced new standards of practice for pharmacists.

 

The BPA has come a long way since its formation in 1978 even though through the recent changes in legislation it is no longer mandatory to be a member of the BPA to retain registration with the pharmacy council. The BPA encourages its members to retain their membership and with continued support from its membership the BPA wishes to provide the pharmacy profession with a stronger, more pro-active professional body, leading on the issues that matter and providing services which support pharmacists in the practice and plan to carry on being a driving force for the profession of pharmacy in Bermuda.

© Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association, 2017
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