OBJECTIVES--To establish activity levels of community (high street) pharmacies in the provision of HIV prevention services to drug misusers and to compare these findings with the levels identified in 1988. DESIGN--Self completion questionnaire (four mailings) to a random 1 in 4 sample of all community pharmacies, stratified by family health services authority. SETTING--England and Wales. SUBJECTS--Data provided by pharmacist in charge of the dispensary, on service provision at the pharmacy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Quantitative reports of current activity levels for (a) dispensing of controlled drugs to drug misusers, (b) sale of needles and syringes, (c) needle and syringe exchange. RESULTS--74.8% response rate (1984/2654). In 1995, 50.1% (992/1980) of pharmacies were dispensing controlled drugs (mostly methadone), compared with 23.0% (562/2457) in 1988; 34.5% (677/1962) of pharmacies were selling injecting equipment, compared with 28.0% (676/2434) in 1988; 18.9% (366/1937) were providing a needle exchange service, compared with 3.0% (65/2415) in 1988. CONCLUSION--Activity levels increased substantially across all three service areas. Increased activity included greater individual activity as well as higher proportions of pharmacies participating. The network of community pharmacies represents an underused point of contact for this Health of the Nation target population.
OBJECTIVE--To establish the extent of prescribing injectable and oral methadone to opiate addicts and the practice characteristics and dispensing arrangements attached to these prescriptions. DESIGN--National survey of 25% random sample of community (high street) pharmacies through postal questionnaire, with four mailings. SETTING--England and Wales. SUBJECTS--1 in 4 sample of all 10,616 community pharmacies, stratified by family health services authority. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Data were collected on each prescription for controlled drugs currently being dispensed by pharmacies to misusers, describing the drug, form, dose, source (general practice or hospital; and NHS or private), and numbers of dispensing pick ups a week. RESULTS--Methadone was the opiate most commonly dispensed to misusers (96.0% of 3846 opiate prescriptions). 79.6% of methadone prescriptions were for the oral liquid form, 11.0% for tablet, and 9.3% for injectable ampoules. More than one third of all methadone prescriptions were for weekly or fortnightly pick up, with a further third being for daily pick up. Tablets and ampoules were even less likely to be dispensed on a daily basis. Private prescriptions were significantly more likely than NHS ones to be for tablets or ampoules, to be for substantially higher daily doses, and to be collected on a weekly or fortnightly basis. CONCLUSIONS--The distinctively British practice of prescribing injectable methadone was found to be widespread and, contrary to guidance, to be as prevalent in non-specialist as specialist settings. In view of the frequent crushing and injecting of methadone tablets, clearer more authoritative guidance is needed on the contexts in which injectable methadone (tablets as well as ampoules) should be prescribed and on the responsibilities for monitoring and supervision which should be attached.
Despite the high number of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Estonia, little is known about involving pharmacies into human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention activities and potential barriers. Similarly, in other Eastern European countries, there is a need for additional sources for clean syringes besides syringe exchange programmes (SEPs), but data on current practices relating to pharmacists’ role in harm reduction strategies is scant. Involving pharmacies is especially important for several reasons: they have extended hours of operation and convenient locations compared to SEPs, may provide access for IDUs who have avoided SEPs, and are a trusted health resource in the community. We conducted a series of focus groups with pharmacists and IDUs in Tallinn, Estonia, to explore their attitudes toward the role of pharmacists in HIV prevention activities for IDUs. Many, but not all, pharmacists reported a readiness to sell syringes to IDUs to help prevent HIV transmission. However, negative attitudes toward IDUs in general and syringe sales to them specifically were identified as important factors restricting such sales. The idea of free distribution of clean syringes or other injecting equipment and disposal of used syringes in pharmacies elicited strong resistance. IDUs stated that pharmacies were convenient for acquiring syringes due to their extended opening hours and local distribution. IDUs were positive toward pharmacies, although they were aware of stigma from pharmacists and other customers. They also emphasized the need for distilled water and other injection paraphernalia. In conclusion, there are no formal or legislative obstacles for providing HIV prevention services for IDUs at pharmacies. Addressing negative attitudes through educational courses and involving pharmacists willing to be public health educators in high drug use areas would improve access for HIV prevention services for IDUs.
Injecting drug users; Pharmacists; Harm reduction services
Increased access to sterile syringes among injection drug users (IDUs) has been correlated with reduced syringe sharing. Many states, including Rhode Island, have legalized non-prescription (NP) sale of syringes in pharmacies. Previous studies have suggested that training pharmacists to provide HIV-related services to IDUs may be an important opportunity to engage IDUs and provide them with such services. However, it is not clear to what extent pharmacy staff are willing to expand their roles in providing services to IDUs who come in to purchase syringes. We recruited pharmacists and pharmacy staff from the 48 pharmacies indicating NP sale of syringes in the greater Providence, RI area, to participate in an online survey consisting of demographic information; views about the current syringe laws in Rhode Island; willingness to provide HIV-related services, including referral for HIV testing, substance use treatment, and medical and social services, to IDUs; and past experiences with IDU customers. One hundred and forty-six individuals completed the online survey (32 pharmacies, 114 pharmacy staff). Most participants were employed by chain pharmacies (92%). Most participants thought that pharmacies are important resources for IDU customers (77%) and that they would be willing to provide health and prevention information/referrals to IDU customers who purchase NP syringes (59%). With respect to willingness to offer HIV prevention-related services, access to confidential space and concern about personal safety had the strongest associations with willingness to provide HIV prevention services (OR, 4.3 and 0.1, respectively). As the nature of the retail pharmacy shifts, researchers, pharmacy executives, and health care officials can build upon the willingness of pharmacists and pharmacy staff in order to address the health needs of injection drug users and other underserved populations.
Pharmacies; IDUs; HIV prevention; OTC syringes
To determine the availability of nonprescription needles and syringes (NS) through pharmacy sales and to assess the impact of pharmacy policies and municipal paraphernalia laws on pharmacists' selling practices.
Telephone survey of all pharmacies in Alaska's four largest cities.
Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan, Alaska.
A single pharmacist from each pharmacy represented in the cities' phone books.
Main Outcome Measures
Reports of (1) pharmacies' policies and individual pharmacists' procedures regarding the nonprescription sale of NS, (2) pharmacists' selling practices, and (3) identification of conditions that may affect pharmacists' decisions to sell nonprescription NS.
Response rate of 86% (37/43); 77% of pharmacists reported selling at least one nonprescription NS in the last month. Store policy was related to selling practices; however, there was no difference in selling practices between a city with a paraphernalia law and cities without such laws. Logistic regression revealed pharmacists were more likely to sell NS if they worked in chain pharmacies and estimated that a high number of other local pharmacists sell nonprescription NS.
NS are available through nonprescription sales in Alaskan pharmacies. The majority of pharmacies have store policies that permit pharmacists to sell nonprescription NS, either in all cases or at their discretion. Municipal paraphernalia laws do not determine the selling practices of individual pharmacists.
GPs occupy a pivotal position in relation to providing services to opiate misusers in the UK, and this is now cited to support initiatives in other countries.
To investigate GP involvement in the management of opiate misusers; and to examine the nature of this prescribing of methadone and other opioids.
GP data collected via self-completion postal questionnaire from a 10% random sample of the 30 000 GPs across England and Wales. Patient prescription data obtained on opiate misusers treated during the preceding 4 weeks.
Primary healthcare practice in England and Wales in mid-2001.
A questionnaire was mailed to a random 10% sample of GPs stratified by number of partners in the practice, with three follow-up mailshots. Data on drugs prescribed by these practitioners were also studied, including drug prescribed, form, dose and dispensing arrangements.
The response rate was 66%. Opiate misusers had been seen by 51% of GPs in the preceding 4 weeks (mean of 4.1 such patients), of whom 50% had prescribed opiate-substitution drugs. This provided a study sample of 1482 opiate misusers to whom GPs were prescribing methadone (86.7%), dihydrocodeine (8.5%) or buprenorphine (4.4%). Of 1292 methadone prescriptions, mean daily dose was 36.9 mg — 47.9% being for 30 mg or less. Daily interval dispensing was stipulated by 44.6%, while 42.9% permitted weekly take-away supply.
In 2001 nearly three times as many GPs were seeing opiate misusers than was the case in 1985. Half were prescribing substitute-opiate drugs such as methadone (to an estimated 30 000 patients). However, there are grounds for concern about the quality of this prescribing. Most doses were too low to constitute optimal methadone maintenance; widespread disregard of the availability of supervised or interval dispensing increases the risks of diversion to the blackmarket and deaths from methadone overdose. Increased quantity of care has been achieved. Increased quality is now required.
addiction; buprenorphine; methadone; narcotics; heroin; opiate-related disorders
A total of 150 chief and group chief pharmacists in England took part in a survey of the structure and role of pharmacy committees in hospitals. Just over half of the hospitals had such a committee. About two-thirds of these dealt only with pharmacy matters and one-third dealt also with other matters. The number of new committees set up increased slowly until 1967 and then showed a sharp rise. Their terms of reference, membership, and manner of appointment varied greatly. Among subjects dealt with the cost of drugs and the introduction of new prescribing sheets were prominent. Many of the respondents believed that the work of the committees, often with the help of smaller, more specialized groups, had significantly improved various aspects of the local supply and use of drugs.
To determine support of in-pharmacy HIV-testing among pharmacy staff and the individual-level characteristics associated with in-pharmacy HIV testing support.
Descriptive, nonexperimental, cross-sectional study.
New York City (NYC) during January 2008 to March 2009.
131 pharmacies registered in the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) completed a survey.
480 pharmacy staff, including pharmacists, owners/managers, and technicians/clerks.
Main outcome measures
Support of in-pharmacy HIV testing.
Support of in-pharmacy HIV testing is high among pharmacy staff (79.4%). Pharmacy staff that supported in-pharmacy vaccinations were significantly more likely to support in-pharmacy HIV testing. Pharmacy staff that think that selling syringes to IDUs causes the community to be littered with dirty syringes were significantly less likely to support in-pharmacy HIV testing.
Support for in-pharmacy HIV testing is high among our sample of ESAP pharmacy staff actively involved in non-prescription syringe sales. These findings suggest that active ESAP pharmacy staff may be amenable to providing HIV counseling and testing to injection drug users and warrants further investigation.
Injection drug users; HIV testing; pharmacy services; New York City
Pharmacies are venues in which patients seek out products and professional advice in order to improve overall health. However, many pharmacies in the United States continue to sell tobacco products, which are widely known to cause detrimental health effects. This conflict presents a challenge to pharmacists, who are becoming increasingly more involved in patient health promotion activities. This study sought to assess Western New York (WNY) area pharmacists’ opinions about the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, and pharmacists’ opinions on their role in patient smoking cessation.
Participants responded to two parallel surveys; a web-based survey was completed by 148 university-affiliated pharmacist preceptors via a list based sample, and a mail-based survey was completed by the supervising pharmacist in 120 area pharmacies via a list-based sample. The combined response rate for both surveys was 31%. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed to determine any significant differences between the preceptor and supervising pharmacist survey groups.
Over 75% of respondents support legislation banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. Over 86% of respondents would prefer to work in a pharmacy that does not sell tobacco products. Differences between preceptor and supervising pharmacist groups were observed. Action regarding counseling patients was uncommon among both groups.
Pharmacists support initiatives that increase their role in cessation counseling and initiatives that restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. These data could have important implications for communities and pharmacy practice.
Tobacco sales; Pharmacists; Preceptors; Public health policy; Survey research; Pharmacies
New Zealand has been offering needle exchange services since 1987. Over 170 community pharmacies are involved in the provision of this service. However, no recent detailed review of New Zealand's pharmacy-based needle exchange has been published. This study aimed to explore service provision, identify problems faced by pharmacists, and look for improvements to services.
The study used a cross-sectional survey of all needle exchange pharmacies. Postal questionnaires were used with postal and telephone follow-up.
A response rate of 88% was obtained overall. Pharmacists had been providing the service for a mean of 6 years. Pharmacies had given out an average of 130 injecting units, in a mean of 62 transactions to a mean of 17 clients in the 4 weeks prior to completing the questionnaire. The majority had not incurred problems such as violence or intoxicated clients in the last 12 months, although almost one third had experienced shoplifting which they associated with service provision. Training and improving return rates were identified as potential areas for further development.
New Zealand needle exchange pharmacies are providing services to a number of clients. The majority of service providers had been involved for a number of years, indicating the problems incurred had not caused them to withdraw their services – findings which echo those from the UK. Further training and support, including an exploration of improving return rates may be needed in the future.
In mid-1988 a postal survey was conducted of one in five general practitioners in England and Wales, to examine their contact with people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or with worries about HIV infection or AIDS. The response rate was 63.9%. Of the 3339 respondents 22.7% knew of an asymptomatic HIV positive patient within their practice, 5.4% knew of a symptomatic HIV positive patient and 6.4% knew of a patient with AIDS. The estimated annual rate for HIV-related consultations in general practice (including consultations with the 'worried well') was 6.5 per 1000 population. HIV-related consultations occurred more frequently in the four Thames health regions than elsewhere. A sample of 715 practitioners who reported consultations with HIV infected people or those with worries about infection in the previous month, were invited to keep a diary of HIV-related consultations for one week. The response rate to the diary was 64%. Nineteen per cent of the 273 consultations recorded in the diaries were initiated by homosexual men, 16.5% by injecting drug users, 10.3% by the sexual partners of people at risk of infection; 42.9% of consultations were not associated with recognized risk factors. The results indicate that general practitioners have substantial contact with patients with HIV infection, with AIDS and with worries about HIV infection or AIDS. This contact is likely to increase, alongside the anticipated spread of HIV infection, with consequent implications for general practice resources.
Alcohol has become a major public health problem in the UK. In order to coordinate the work of both statutory and non-statutory agencies more efficiently and effectively, a government circular HN(89)4 has emphasized the need for development of local multi-agency alcohol misuse prevention strategies. Despite expressed enthusiasm for alcohol strategies, information about their development, effectiveness and overall national progress is scarce and needs to be improved. This national survey reports the most recent and accurate information about the development of district and regional alcohol strategies in England and Wales. Although only 51 (27%) districts stated they had a strategy, it was encouraging to find 90 (47%) other districts that were in the process of, or planning to develop such a document. Of the 51 districts with a strategy, the following key findings were noted: (1) Forty-three (84%) districts stated that they had started to implement their strategy, but none claimed to have fully implemented it. (2) Thirty-six (71%) districts stated that their strategy had an action plan. (3) Thirty-four (67%) districts stated that their strategy had been officially endorsed by the district health authority. (4) Thirty-eight (76%) districts stated that they had identified an individual or group to monitor the strategies' implementation. The results of the survey could be of interest to the Department of Health, the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, the Health Education Authority and the regional alcohol coordinators.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Of 32,983 specimens from 307 sources in England and Wales tested in the Virus Reference Laboratory for anti-HIV between 1984 and 1987, 6491 (20%) were positive. Ninety-five per cent of the positive subjects were male and 44% of them were from three London genito-urinary medicine clinics. In 1987 the numbers of newly diagnosed HIV infections decreased in homosexual men and haemophiliacs and increased in injecting drug abusers; 148/1199 (12%) of all the positive findings in 1987 were in females. Between 1984 and 1987 the proportion of anti-HIV positive individuals who were asymptomatic fell by nearly 10% and the proportion with AIDS/ARC rose by nearly 10%. Of the requests leading to positive results 1280 (20%) were recognized as duplicates of previous positive results, while for 34% of the requests no clinical information was provided. These deficiencies in the data compromise HIV surveillance based on diagnostic testing, and supplementary bias-free data are needed.
Pharmacists, with expertise in optimizing drug therapy outcomes, are valuable components of the healthcare team and are becoming increasingly involved in public health efforts. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in diverse community pharmacy settings can implement a variety of asthma interventions when they are brief, supported by appropriate tools, and integrated into the workflow. The Asthma Friendly Pharmacy (AFP) model addresses the challenges of providing patient-focused care in a community pharmacy setting by offering education to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on asthma-related pharmaceutical care services, such as identifying or resolving medication-related problems; educating patients about asthma and medication-related concepts; improving communication and strengthening relationships between pharmacists, patients, and other healthcare providers; and establishing higher expectations for the pharmacist’s role in patient care and public health efforts. This article describes the feasibility of the model in an urban community pharmacy setting and documents the interventions and communication activities promoted through the AFP model.
Asthma; Community pharmacy; Pharmacists; Pharmaceutical care; Collaboration; Communication
The availability of tobacco and alcohol products in community pharmacies contradicts the pharmacists’ Code of Ethics and presents challenges for a profession that is overwhelmingly not in favor of the sale of these products in its practice settings. The primary aim of this study was to estimate the proportion of pharmacies that sell tobacco products and/or alcoholic beverages and to characterize promotion of these products. The proportion of pharmacies that sell non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products as aids to smoking cessation also was estimated. Among 250 randomly-selected community pharmacies in Los Angeles, 32.8% sold cigarettes, and 26.0% sold alcohol products. Cigarettes were more likely to be available in traditional chain pharmacies and grocery stores than in independently-owned pharmacies (100% versus 10.8%; P < 0.001), and traditional chain drug stores and grocery stores were more likely to sell alcoholic beverages than were independently-owned pharmacies (87.5% vs. 5.4%; P < 0.001). Thirty-four (41.5%) of the 82 pharmacies that sold cigarettes and 47 (72.3%) of the 65 pharmacies that sold alcohol also displayed promotional materials for these products. NRT products were merchandised by 58% of pharmacies. Results of this study suggest that when given a choice, pharmacists choose not to sell tobacco or alcohol products.
Tobacco sales; Alcohol sales; Tobacco control; Pharmacies
The introduction of non-medical prescribing for professions such as pharmacy and nursing in recent years offers additional responsibilities and opportunities but attendant training issues. In the UK and in contrast to some international models, becoming a non-medical prescriber involves the completion of an accredited training course offered by many higher education institutions, where the skills and knowledge necessary for prescribing are learnt. Aims: to explore pharmacists' perceptions and experiences of learning to prescribe on supplementary prescribing (SP) courses, particularly in relation to inter-professional learning, course content and subsequent use of prescribing in practice.
A postal questionnaire survey was sent to all 808 SP registered pharmacists in England in April 2007, exploring demographic, training, prescribing, safety culture and general perceptions of SP.
After one follow-up, 411 (51%) of pharmacists responded. 82% agreed SP training was useful, 58% agreed courses provided appropriate knowledge and 62% agreed that the necessary prescribing skills were gained. Clinical examination, consultation skills training and practical experience with doctors were valued highly; pharmacology training and some aspects of course delivery were criticised. Mixed views on inter-professional learning were reported – insights into other professions being valued but knowledge and skills differences considered problematic. 67% believed SP and recent independent prescribing (IP) should be taught together, with more diagnostic training wanted; few pharmacists trained in IP, but many were training or intending to train. There was no association between pharmacists' attitudes towards prescribing training and when they undertook training between 2004 and 2007 but earlier cohorts were more likely to be using supplementary prescribing in practice.
Pharmacists appeared to value their SP training and suggested improvements that could inform future courses. The benefits of inter-professional learning, however, may conflict with providing profession-specific training. SP training may be perceived to be an instrumental 'stepping stone' in pharmacists' professional project of gaining full IP status.
With the recent unprecedented growth in the spread of drug misuse in the United Kingdom the role of the general practitioner has become more and more prominent, both in response to demands for treatment and as the focus of national policy on drug misuse. Although general practitioners may be the first contact, few data are available on the extent of their contact with drug misusers. A postal survey was carried out in mid-1985 of a 5% national sample of general practitioners in England and Wales concerning their role in and views on the treatment of opiate misusers, including the extent of their contact with such patients during a four week period. Of the 1166 general practitioners surveyed, 845 replied, a response rate of 72%. The results show that roughly one in five general practitioners in England and Wales attended an opiate misuser during this four week period, seeing an estimated 6000 to 9000 patients, one third of whom were "new" to the general practitioner. A cautious estimate of between 30,000 and 44,000 new cases of opiate misuse presenting to general practitioners in a year is suggested, with some adjustment necessary because of double counting. A wide variation in the prevalence of consultations among regional health authorities was found, and several of the regions with a high prevalence are outside the London area. The scale of contact thus confirms the importance of the general practitioner in the national response to drug misuse.
New York State (NYS) passed legislation authorizing pharmacists to administer immunizations in 2008. Racial/socioeconomic disparities persist in vaccination rates and vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza. Many NYS pharmacies participate in the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP), which allows provision of non-prescription syringes to help prevent transmission of HIV, and are uniquely positioned to offer vaccination services to low-income communities. To understand individual and neighborhood characteristics of pharmacy staff support for in-pharmacy vaccination, we combined census tract data with baseline pharmacy data from the Pharmacies as Resources Making Links to Community Services (PHARM-Link) study among ESAP-registered pharmacies. The sample consists of 437 pharmacists, non-pharmacist owners, and technicians enrolled from 103 eligible New York City pharmacies. Using multilevel analysis, pharmacy staff who expressed support of in-pharmacy vaccination services were 69% more likely to support in-pharmacy HIV testing services (OR, 1.69; 95% CI 1.39–2.04). While pharmacy staff who worked in neighborhoods with a high percent of minority residents were less likely to express support of in-pharmacy vaccination, those in neighborhoods with a high percent of foreign-born residents were marginally more likely to express support of in-pharmacy vaccination. While educational campaigns around the importance of vaccination access may be needed among some pharmacy staff and minority community residents, we have provided evidence supporting scale-up of vaccination efforts in pharmacies located in foreign-born/immigrant communities which has potential to reduce disparities in vaccination rates and preventable influenza-related mortality.
Vaccination access; Pharmacy services; Pharmacy staff support; Racial/ethnic disparities
Increasing sterile syringe access for injection drug users (IDUs) is one way to prevent HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission in this population. In 2005, California Senate Bill 1159 allowed counties to adopt the Disease Prevention Demonstration Project (DPDP). Where enacted, the DPDP allows pharmacies that register with the county to sell up to ten syringes to adults without a prescription. In the current study, we describe pharmacy participation in nonprescription syringe sales (NPSS) in two counties in California and examine factors associated with NPSS. Telephone and in-person interviews were conducted in Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco (SF) with 238 pharmacies in 2007 (n = 67 in SF; n = 171 in LA). Quantitative survey items captured pharmacy registration with the county, pharmacy policies/practices, episodes and conditions of NPSS and refusals to sell, potential negative consequences of NPSS, and staff attitudes regarding HIV and HCV prevention for IDUs. Overall, 42% of pharmacies reported NPSS (28% in LA and 81% in SF), although only 34% had registered with the county (17% in LA and 76% in SF). Many pharmacies required proof of a medical condition (80% in LA and 30% in SF) and refused NPSS if the customer was a suspected IDU (74% in LA, 33% in SF). Few negative consequences of NPSS were reported. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, we found that the odds of NPSS were significantly higher among pharmacists who thought syringe access was important for preventing HIV among IDUs [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.95; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.10–7.92], were chain pharmacies (AOR = 12.5; 95% CI = 4.55–33.33), and were located in SF (AOR = 4.88; 95% CI = 1.94–12.28). These results suggest that NPSS were influenced by pharmacists’ perception. NPSS might be increased through greater educational efforts directed at pharmacists, particularly those in non-chain pharmacies.
HIV; Viral hepatitis; Sterile syringe access; Pharmacy; Policy; Evaluation
Studies suggest that community-based approaches could help pharmacies expand their public health role, particularly pertaining to HIV prevention. Thirteen pharmacies participating in New York’s Expanded Syringe Access Program, which permits non-prescription syringe sales to reduce syringe-sharing among injection drug users (IDUs), were enrolled in an intervention to link IDU syringe customers to medical/social services. Sociodemographics, injection practices, beliefs about and experiences with pharmacy use, and medical/social service utilization were compared among 29 IDUs purchasing syringes from intervention pharmacies and 66 IDUs purchasing syringes from control pharmacies using chi-square tests. Intervention IDUs reported more positive experiences in pharmacies than controls; both groups were receptive to a greater public health pharmacist role. These data provide evidence that CBPR aided in the implementation of a pilot structural intervention to promote understanding of drug use and HIV prevention among pharmacy staff, and facilitated expansion of pharmacy services beyond syringe sales in marginalized, drug-using communities.
Community Based Participatory Research; Structural Intervention; Harm Reduction; Pharmacies; HIV Prevention; Injection Drug Use
To assess the public’s attitudes towards the community pharmacist’s role in Qatar, to investigate the public’s use of community pharmacy, and to determine the public’s views of and satisfaction with community pharmacy services currently provided in Qatar.
Materials and methods
Three community pharmacies in Qatar were randomly selected as study sites. Patients 16 years of age and over who were able to communicate in English or Arabic were randomly approached and anonymously interviewed using a multipart pretested survey.
Over 5 weeks, 58 patients were interviewed (60% response rate). A total of 45% of respondents perceived community pharmacists as having a good balance between health and business matters. The physician was considered the first person to contact to answer drug- related questions by 50% of respondents. Most patients agreed that the community pharmacist should provide them with the medication directions of use (93%) and advise them about the treatment of minor ailments (79%); however, more than 70% didn’t expect the community pharmacist to monitor their health progress or to perform any health screening. Half of the participants (52%) reported visiting the pharmacy at least monthly. The top factor that affected a patient’s choice of any pharmacy was pharmacy location (90%). When asked about their views about community pharmacy services in Qatar, only 37% agreed that the pharmacist gave them sufficient time to discuss their problem and was knowledgeable enough to answer their questions.
This pilot study suggested that the public has a poor understanding of the community pharmacist’s role in monitoring drug therapy, performing health screening, and providing drug information. Several issues of concern were raised including insufficient pharmacist– patient contact time and unsatisfactory pharmacist knowledge. To advance pharmacy practice in Qatar, efforts may be warranted to address identified issues and to promote the community pharmacist’s role in drug therapy monitoring, drug information provision, and health screening.
pharmacist; public; attitudes; Qatar
In May 2000, New York State passed legislation permitting the sale, purchase, and possession of up to 10 needles and syringes (hereafter “syringes”) without a prescription, intended to reduce blood-borne pathogen transmission among injection drug users (IDUs). To obtain baseline data on pharmacists' attitudes and practices related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention and IDUs, a telephone survey was administered to 130 pharmacists systematically selected in New York City. Less than half of pharmacists were aware of the new law; 49.6% were willing to or supported providing nonprescription sales of syringes to IDUs. Pharmacists in support tended to be less likely to consider customer appearance “very important.” Managing and supervising pharmacists were more likely than staff pharmacists to support syringe sales to IDUs. Managing and supervising pharmacists who stocked packs of 10 syringes and personal sharps disposal containers, pharmacists who supported syringe exchange in the pharmacy, and pharmacists who were willing to sell syringes to diabetics without a prescription were more likely to support syringe sales to IDUs. Syringe disposal was a prominent concern among all pharmacists. Those not in support of syringe sales to IDUs tended to be more likely to believe the practice would increase drug use. These data suggest the need for initiatives to address concerns about syringe disposal and tailored continuing education classes for pharmacists on HIV and viral hepatitis prevention among IDUs.
Background: Injection drug use and other high-risk behaviours are the cause of significant morbidity and mortality and thus have been the focus of many health promotion strategies. Community pharmacists are considered underutilized health providers and are often thought to be more accessible than other health professionals. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of community pharmacists' practices as well as pharmacists' attitudes and identified barriers toward providing harm reduction services. We will highlight the major harm reduction services being offered through community pharmacies, as well as identify barriers to implementing these services.
Methods: A review of the literature from 1995 to 2011 was conducted using the electronic databases MEDLINE, PubMed and Scopus, encompassing pharmacists' involvement in harm reduction services. Keywords included pharmacist, harm reduction, disease prevention, health promotion, attitudes, competence and barriers. References of included articles were examined to identify further relevant literature.
Results: Pharmacists are primarily involved in providing clean needles to injection drug users, as well as opioid substitution. Pharmacists generally have a positive attitude toward providing health promotion and harm reduction programs and express some interest in increasing their role in this area. Common barriers to expanding harm reduction strategies in community pharmacists' practice include lack of time and training, insufficient remuneration, fear of attracting unruly clientele and inadequate communication between health providers.
Conclusion: As one of the most accessible health care providers, community pharmacists are in an ideal position to provide meaningful services to injection drug users. However, in order to do so, pharmacists require additional support in the form of better health team and system integration, as well as remuneration models.
In May 2000, New York State passed legislation permitting the sale, purchase, and possession of up to 10 needles and syringes without a prescription. The law is intended to reduce the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis among injection drug users (IDUs), their sexual partners, and their children. To obtain baseline information about the attitudes and likely practices of New York State pharmacists, we distributed a self-administered questionnaire to attendees of the state pharmacy association meeting in June 2000. Of 48 usable responses, 19% were from New York City and the rest from New York State. Of the 48, 42% were unaware of the new law before the day of the survey, and 60% were somewhat or very willing to sell needles and syringes to an IDU. Of those who were not willing to sell to an IDU, 82% cited familiarity of the customer as a very important consideration in their decision making. Those who were not willing to sell to an IDU were more concerned about the detrimental impact of syringe sales on the community, were less likely to be aware of the new law, and were more likely to be concerned about legal liability for syringe sales. Over 80% of all pharmacists believed that syringe sales to IDUs are an important preventive health measure. The majority also favored learning more about the law. Compared to other state surveys of pharmacists, these preliminary data show a similar level of interest in becoming involved with syringe availability programs.
To measure agreement between advanced pharmacy practice experience students using a guided interview process and experienced clinical pharmacists using standard practices to identify drug therapy problems.
Student pharmacists enrolled in an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) and clinical pharmacists conducted medication therapy management interviews to identify drug therapy problems in elderly patients recruited from the community. Student pharmacists used a guided interview tool, while clinical pharmacists' interviews were conducted using their usual and customary practices. Student pharmacists also were surveyed to determine their perceptions of the interview tool.
Fair to moderate agreement was observed on student and clinical pharmacists' identification of 4 of 7 drug therapy problems. Of those, agreement was significantly higher than chance for 3 drug therapy problems (adverse drug reaction, dosage too high, and needs additional drug therapy) and not significant for 1 (unnecessary drug therapy). Students strongly agreed that the interview tool was useful but agreed less strongly on recommending its use in practice.
The guided interview process served as a useful teaching aid to assist student pharmacists to identify drug therapy problems.
guided interview; drug therapy; advanced pharmacy practice experience; interview; medication therapy management