Seven billion humans and 98 trillion medicine doses

Claire Anderson, Ian Bates, Tina Brock

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In 2008 a contemporary art exhibition at the British Museum called Cradle to Grave aimed to represent modern approaches to health and explore the medicine histories of a typical British man and woman. Each of the “pilldiaries” in this exhibit consisted of a 13 meter long by 0.5 meter wide net of fabric, into which were stitched more than 14,000 tablets and capsules, representing the prescription medicines that a typical person would take in his or her lifetime. The exhibit was a powerful reminder that people all over the world, even people we would consider healthy, take a lot of medicines over the course of their lives. Anywhere there are a lot of medicines, we might assume there will be a corresponding number of pharmacists; however, this remains an assumption. Pharmacists serve as medicines experts in health systems and communities world-wide. But our planet has a population of 7 billion people.How many of these medicines experts are needed, for what specific roles should they be prepared, and which (if any) of the current educational models are appropriate for achieving these goals? Furthermore, what roles should professional organizations play in creating an infrastructure for safe and effective medicines systems?
Original languageEnglish
Article number194
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

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