Gender and the practice of pharmacy – a guest blog by Dr Christine Heading

Read the latest NAWP guest blog. Here, Dr Christine Heading, past President of NAWP talks about gender differences within pharmacy practice and amidst COVID-19.

Thu 30th April 2020 The PDA

Christine shares some of the insights from these classes and touches on how understanding the role gender plays in healthcare is now of heightened importance. Read more below.

Since 2016, NAWP has given a talk to University College London School of Pharmacy students on why patient gender needs to be considered in all sectors of pharmacy practice, not only face-to-face settings. This year, the cessation of classes because of COVID-19 meant that students had to settle for a recording of the 2019 version.

Here, gender is defined as a product of biological sex and environmental influences, and the principles apply regardless of how an individual defines their gender. When practiced well, pharmacy adopts a holistic approach to its practice, acknowledging biological, behavioural and social factors, and their inter-relationship. Thus, there are many differences we should consider, not only those obviously linked to reproduction. Under-recognised differences include: cardiovascular diagnosis, therapy and prognosis; smoking cessation prescribing and effectiveness; optimal needle lengths for autoinjectors; COPD prognosis; substance abuse and attitudes to health messages as well as many pharmacokinetic factors.

Tragically, we are currently witnessing one of the numerically dramatic gender-related health differences. Already tens of thousands more men than women have died from COVID-19. Contributors to this are tentatively thought to include differences in immune responses and in patterns of tobacco smoking. When the dust settles, pharmacy could ask itself how often it thinks about gender differences in immune disorders (asthma, autoimmune conditions etc), or education and products for smoking cessation.

By Christine Heading, past President of NAWP

Learn more

BBC 4 podcast on the genetic gender gap and the Coronavirus.

PDA Member Networks

As part of our work to meet the demands of our growing membership and advance our work on equality, earlier this year we launched four Equality, Diversity and Inclusions (EDI) networks, including the NAWP Network (National Association of Women Pharmacists). Click the button below to learn more and join one or more of our networks today.


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