The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said its decision not to renew its organisational membership of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in 2022 was a financial one.  

In an open letter sent to members and fellows last week (19 March), RPS president, Claire Anderson, explained the reasoning behind RPS’s decision to leave the international pharmacy body and its reasoning behind not pursuing a Royal College status.  

This comes RPS members complained about the lack of transparency around the body's decision to leave FIP.  

Ms Anderson said that the assembly's decision to have discussions around its FIP membership in private was ‘the wrong call’.  

‘On occasion, we have been overly cautious in airing these decisions in public, and I freely admit we don’t always get this judgement right,’ she explained.  

Decision to leave FIP 

According to the letter, there were concerns over the amount of money spent on the FIP membership and associated costs, which was on average £84,000 per year.  

The body deemed that there was ‘no perceptible value in membership of FIP as currently experienced, and it was difficult to identify any return on investment’.  

The letter said that some assembly members ‘strongly voiced the opposing view’ and said there would be ‘value if the RPS chose to make better use of its membership’.  

Ms Anderson added that RPS had previously invited FIP to propose new ways to work with RPS to ‘improve the value and reduce the cost of membership’. 

Royal College status 

The letter also discussed the RPS’s decision to not pursue Royal College status in March 2021 – a call made without the backing of its members and fellows.  

Ms Anderson said the assembly had decided there was ‘no evidence’ that changing its name would give RPS any more influence or prestige.  

She added that pursuing Royal College status would require ‘substantial work and cost’, which would need to be ‘diverted from other activities’. 

Very keen to hear views 

In the letter, she acknowledged both decisions were judgements that the RPS assembly has taken on behalf of the RPS and the profession and Ms Anderson called on members to voice their views on both matters.  

‘If you haven’t booked already, I would encourage you to attend our AGM in May, and to please consider writing a motion if you feel strongly about these or other issues,’ she said.  

She also said she would be working with the team at the RPS to see what other mechanisms could allow for a ‘better two-way dialogue’. 

‘As president, I can and will be asking for changes to be made around decision making, how members can be involved and be made better aware of how the RPS decides its policies and direction,’ she added. 

It follows media speculation from the pharmacy press, which claimed that Robbie Turner, RPS’s director of pharmacy, and Gail Fleming, its director of education, were to be made redundant