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PDA take Medicines to Ukraine campaign to British parliaments

The PDA has taken the Medicines to Ukraine campaign to the capitals of all three British nations and secured support from parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

Wed 8th February 2023 The PDA

The Medicines to Ukraine campaign is part of a pan-European effort established by an organisation called EPhEU (Employed pharmacists in Europe) of which the PDA is a member. The campaign procures and sends specialist hospital medicines that are running low or that are no longer available in Ukraine directly to Ukrainian hospitals that are treating the casualties of the war. This campaign demonstrates how similar pharmacist-led campaigns could ultimately provide help in other crisis zones around the world.

PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol, was elected as the Secretary General of EPhEU in 2019 and worked on the creation of the continental campaign. The Medicines to Ukraine campaign relies upon a ‘Pull’ approach to delivering the aid, whereby clinicians on the ground in Ukraine specify what they need and pharmacists outside of Ukraine raise the funds to procure and deliver the right medicines to where they are needed most.

This contrasts with the traditional ‘Push’ approach which often sees governments and institutions sending their excess supplies which they assume may well come in handy, but which ultimately are not. Often medicines sent in this way are not needed at all, or are nearing their expiry dates. Well-meaning members of the public have also sent random donations of items in boxes to the border areas. Sadly, many of these end up being piled up in fields waiting to be destroyed. This is why the EPhEU campaign focuses on asking the public to simply donate funds, leaving the pharmacist volunteers to do the rest.

So far more than £200,000 has been raised in the UK, with more than £2 million raised across the European continent.

The ‘Pull’ approach, which sees aid to crisis zones coordinated by pharmacists using their expertise, also shows the value that pharmacists can bring to such campaigns. Organisations affiliated to EPhEU, including the PDA in the UK, are working with a charity partner in each of their countries, ensuring that no pharmacists or pharmacy organisations are ever involved in handling any of the funds raised. In the UK, the PDA is partnered with CAFOD.

Gaining support

Mark attended the FIP annual congress in Seville last year

Mark Koziol presented the Medicines to Ukraine campaign at the FIP annual congress in Seville. He explained that whilst support for Ukraine was an immediate ask, pharmacy bodies around the globe should consider how they can follow this approach to help in providing medicines to other crisis zones, be they conflict or natural disasters. Driving this global pharmacist led humanitarian project was one of the reasons why the PDA joined FIP in October 2022.

Mark presenting at the Pharmacy Show last year

Mark has also presented and the campaign has had a presence at the pharmacy show and elsewhere.

Awareness raising with parliamentarians

As part of the awareness campaign in Britain, the PDA has taken the campaign to the Senedd in Wales, Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and to Westminster. At all three centres of government, parliamentarians from across the political spectrum showed their support for the campaign and many were photographed with the campaign posters. Unfortunately, as the NI assembly is currently not sitting, we have not yet been able to undertake a similar session in Northern Ireland.

The key messages for politicians attending the sessions were to;

  • Ask them to share information about the specific campaign for Ukraine in their communities, including promoting the campaign poster to be displayed prominently within their constituency.
  • Showcase what pharmacists could achieve and get them to appreciate that pharmacists have the knowledge and expertise to support the deployment of aid and medicines to crisis zones, be that conflict or natural disaster.
  • Ask them to consider how government can support this and future exercises of pharmacists providing international aid.

The PDA is not affiliated to any political party and works with government and opposition parties across all parts of the United Kingdom. These photos are examples of the many parliamentarians that have met with the PDA team at parliamentary events to show their support for the Medicines to Ukraine campaign.

Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of HM’s Opposition and of the Labour party (left) 

Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat

Sir John Whittingdale MP, Conservative (right) 

Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales and Leader of Welsh labour

Adam Price MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru (centre) 

Hannah Blythyn MS  and Jack Sargeant MS, Welsh Labour (centre)


Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish National Party (left)

Murdo Fraser MSP, Scottish Conservatives (centre)

Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour (centre)

Kevan Jones MP , Labour party 

Re-visit Kevan Jones’ Westminster adjournment debate about mental health and pharmacists here.

Baroness Merron 


DOWNLOAD the campaign POSTER here

thumbnail of Ukraine Campaign Poster

The PDA has already distributed copies of the campaign poster to each community pharmacy in the United Kingdom, however not every pharmacy has yet displayed theirs. On the continent, far more posters have been displayed in pharmacy windows than has been the case here in the UK. We encourage those who wish to display a poster to contact the PDA.

While the posters were originally produced to be displayed in pharmacies, they could also be displayed in other locations such as hospital pharmacies or GP practice waiting rooms where the public may be inspired to donate.

Learn more

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