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London Olympics put pharmacy on a 'global stage'

The London Olympics put pharmacy on a “global stage” and produced a group of pharmacists who are experts in sports medicine, according to clinical lead Mark Stuart.

The London Olympics put pharmacy on a "global stage" and produced a group of pharmacists who are experts in sports medicine, according to Olympics clinical lead Mark Stuart.

Last month, Mr Stuart became the first pharmacist to be appointed to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) medical commission, which has responsibility for all medical issues at the games.

Mr Stuart, who was superintendent pharmacist and pharmacy clinical lead for the London Olympics, described his appointment as testament to what every pharmacist working at London 2012 achieved.

"A whole new cohort of educated pharmacists has come out of the games and are now experts in sports medicine. It's probably one of the big legacies" Mark Stuart, IOC

The London games opened the eyes of the IOC to the potential of pharmacy, said Mr Stuart, who previously worked on pharmacy operations at the Olympics in Beijing, Athens and Sydney.

"I think our pharmacy service was a really good showcase for the best of UK pharmacy practice. The IOC has said the medical services were one of the best at any Olympic games," he told C+D.

As part of the preparations for the games, an online e-learning programme was used to train more than 100 pharmacy volunteers in the use of drugs in sport.

"A whole new cohort of educated pharmacists has come out of the games and are now experts in sports medicine. It's probably one of the big legacies," Mr Stuart said.

The e-learning programme was one of a number of services provided by pharmacists at the games for the first time, including a formulary, a medicines information service and a minor ailments scheme that benefited more than 1,000 non-athletes.

report into pharmacy innovation at the London Olympics, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on February 16 and co-written by Mr Stuart, said these services meant pharmacy was no longer "on the periphery" but was central to medical services at the games.

"The innovations and robust analysis of the pharmacy services will provide a valuable post-games legacy for the Olympic movement and for the national and international pharmacy profession," said the report's authors.

More than 5,000 prescriptions were dispensed from the three polyclinic pharmacies during the London Olympics and Paralympics, the report said.

Mr Stuart told C+D he would use his role on the IOC to support similar legacy initiatives in other Olympics host nations.

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