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Logo of bmjThe BMJ
BMJ. 1996 March 23; 312(7033): 758–760.
PMCID: PMC2350455

Over the counter drugs. The interface between the community pharmacist and patients.


Pharmacists play an important part in primary health care, and their accessibility is a key factor. Their NHS payments relate predominantly to the dispensing of prescribed medicines; to recognise the service element of their advisory role, an NHS funded professional fee could be built into the cost structure for pharmacy medicines. The increased number of medicines available over the counter has highlighted the need for training for counter assistants; it will become compulsory in July 1996, and some family health services authorities are providing this. The shift to care in the community could mean that pharmacists will have an even greater role in the primary health care team. Encouraging the public to seek advice from the community pharmacist may lead to a greater proportion of visits to doctors resulting from referrals from the pharmacist. Joint development by pharmacists and doctors of guidelines for advice on, and recommendation of, over the counter medicines is needed.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Eaton G, Webb B. Boundary encroachment: pharmacists in the clinical setting. Sociol Health Illn. 1979 Jun;1(1):69–89. [PubMed]
  • Goodburn E, Mattosinho S, Mongi P, Waterston T. Management of childhood diarrhoea by pharmacists and parents: is Britain lagging behind the Third World? BMJ. 1991 Feb 23;302(6774):440–443. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bond CM, Grimshaw JM. Multi-disciplinary guideline development: a case study from community pharmacy. Health Bull (Edinb) 1995 Jan;53(1):26–33. [PubMed]

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