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1.  Role of community pharmacies in relation to HIV prevention and drug misuse: findings from the 1995 national survey in England and Wales. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7052):272-274.
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.
PMCID: PMC2351660  PMID: 8704541
2.  Should Pharmacists have a Role in Harm Reduction Services for IDUs? A Qualitative Study in Tallinn, Estonia 
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.
doi:10.1007/s11524-009-9400-5
PMCID: PMC2791822  PMID: 19921542
Injecting drug users; Pharmacists; Harm reduction services
3.  New York City pharmacists' attitudes toward sale of needles/syringes to injection drug users before implementation of law expanding syringe access 
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.
doi:10.1007/BF02344038
PMCID: PMC3456774  PMID: 11194317
4.  Access to syringes for HIV prevention for injection drug users in St. Petersburg, Russia: syringe purchase test study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:183.
Background
The HIV epidemic in Russia is concentrated among injection drug users (IDUs). This is especially true for St. Petersburg where high HIV incidence persists among the city’s estimated 80,000 IDUs. Although sterile syringes are legally available, access for IDUs may be hampered. To explore the feasibility of using pharmacies to expand syringe access and provide other prevention services to IDUs, we investigated the current access to sterile syringes at the pharmacies and the correlation between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence in St. Petersburg.
Methods
965 pharmacies citywide were mapped, classified by ownership type, and the association between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence at the district level was tested. We selected two districts among the 18 districts – one central and one peripheral – that represented two major types of city districts and contacted all operating pharmacies by phone to inquire if they stocked syringes and obtained details about their stock. Qualitative interviews with 26 IDUs provided data regarding syringe access in pharmacies and were used to formulate hypotheses for the pharmacy syringe purchase test wherein research staff attempted to purchase syringes in all pharmacies in the two districts.
Results
No correlation was found between the density of pharmacies and HIV prevalence at the district level. Of 108 operating pharmacies, 38 (35%) did not sell syringes of the types used by IDUs; of these, half stocked but refused to sell syringes to research staff, and the other half did not stock syringes at all. Overall 70 (65%) of the pharmacies did sell syringes; of these, 49 pharmacies sold single syringes without any restrictions and 21 offered packages of ten.
Conclusions
Trainings for pharmacists need to be conducted to reduce negative attitudes towards IDUs and increase pharmacists’ willingness to sell syringes. At a structural level, access to safe injection supplies for IDUs could be increased by including syringes in the federal list of mandatory medical products sold by pharmacies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-183
PMCID: PMC3616994  PMID: 23452390
Injection drug use; HIV prevention; Syringe access; Pharmacy
5.  Pharmacy access to syringes among injecting drug users: follow-up findings from Hartford, Connecticut. 
Public Health Reports  1998;113(Suppl 1):81-89.
OBJECTIVE: To break the link between drug use and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in 1992 the state of Connecticut rescinded a 14-year ban on pharmacy sales of syringes without a physician's prescription. In 1993, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated the impact of the new legislation on access to syringes among injecting drug users (IDUs) and found an initial pattern of expanded access. However, it also found that some pharmacies, after negative experiences with IDU customers, reverted to requiring a prescription. This chapter reports findings from a four-year follow-up study of current IDU access to over-the-counter (OTC) pharmacy syringes in Hartford, Connecticut. METHODS: Through structured interviews, brief telephone interviews, and mailed surveys, data on nonprescription syringe sale practices were collected on 27 pharmacies, including 18 of the 21 pharmacies in Hartford and none from pharmacies in contiguous towns, during June and July 1997. Interview data on pharmacy syringe purchase from two sample of IDUs, a group of out-of-treatment injectors recruited through street outreach, and a sample of users of the Hartford Needle Exchange Program, also are reported. RESULTS: The study found that, while market trends as well as negative experiences have further limited pharmacy availability of nonprescription syringes, pharmacies remain an important source of sterile syringes for IDUs. However, the distribution of access in not even; in some areas of the city it is much easier to purchase nonprescription syringes than in other. All of the seven pharmacies located on the north end of Hartford reported that they had a policy of selling OTC syringes, whereas only six (54.5%) of the II pharmacies located on the south end have such a policy. Overt racial discrimination was not found to be a barrier to OTC access to syringes. CONCLUSIONS: To further decrease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) risk among IDUs, there is a need for public education to counter empirically unsupported stereotypes about IDUs that diminish their access to health care and AIDS prevention resources and services. In states or cities where pharmacy sale of nonprescription syringes is illegal, policy makers should examine the benefits of removing existing barriers to sterile syringe acquisition. In cases in which pharmacy sale of nonprescription syringes is legal, local health departments should implement educational programs to inform pharmacy staff and management about the critically important role low-cost (or cost-free), sterile syringe access can play in HIV prevention.
PMCID: PMC1307730  PMID: 9722813
6.  A community based approach to linking injection drug users with needed services through pharmacies: An evaluation of a pilot intervention in New York City 
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.
doi:10.1521/aeap.2010.22.3.238
PMCID: PMC2883795  PMID: 20528131
Community Based Participatory Research; Structural Intervention; Harm Reduction; Pharmacies; HIV Prevention; Injection Drug Use
7.  Pharmacy Participation in Non-Prescription Syringe Sales in Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties, 2007 
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.
doi:10.1007/s11524-010-9483-z
PMCID: PMC2900565  PMID: 20549568
HIV; Viral hepatitis; Sterile syringe access; Pharmacy; Policy; Evaluation
8.  Pharmacist and Pharmacy Staff Experiences with Non-prescription (NP) Sale of Syringes and Attitudes Toward Providing HIV Prevention Services for Injection Drug Users (IDUs) in Providence, RI 
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.
doi:10.1007/s11524-010-9503-z
PMCID: PMC3005095  PMID: 21116724
Pharmacies; IDUs; HIV prevention; OTC syringes
9.  Patients’ perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacists’ role as health care provider in community pharmacy setting at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Objectives
This study will provide guiding information about the population perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacist’s performance as health care provider in the community pharmacy setting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Method
The study was conducted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from July through December 2010. A total of 125 community pharmacies in Riyadh city were randomly selected according to their geographical distribution (north, south, east, and west). They represent about 10–15% of all community pharmacies in the city. The questionnaire composed of 8 items about patients’ views and satisfaction with the pharmacists’ role in the current community pharmacy practice. The questionnaire was coded, checked for accuracy and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois).
Results
The response rate was almost 85% where 2000 patients were approached and 1699 of them responded to our questionnaire. The majority of respondents is young adults and adults (82.8%), male (67.5%) and married (66.9%). Seventy one percent of respondents assured that community pharmacist is available in the working while only 37.3% of respondents perceived the pharmacist as a mere vendor. About 38% assured sou moto counseling by the pharmacist, 35% reported pharmacist plays an active role in their compliances to treatments, 43% acknowledged the role of pharmacist in solving medication related problems, 34% considered the pharmacist as a health awareness provider and 44.6% felt that pharmacist is indispensable and an effective part of the health care system.
Conclusion
The image and professional performance of community pharmacist are improving in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi patients show better satisfaction, perception and appreciation of the pharmacists’ role in the health care team. However, extra efforts should be paid to improve the clinical skills of the community pharmacists. Community pharmacists need to be able to reach out to patient, assess their hesitations and promptly offer solution which was appreciated by the patients as the survey indicates. They should play a pro-active role in becoming an effective and indispensable part of health care. Furthermore, they should be able to advice, guide, direct and persuade the patient to comply correct usage of drugs. Finally, community pharmacists should equip themselves with appropriate knowledge and competencies in order to tender efficient and outstanding pharmaceutical health care.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.05.007
PMCID: PMC3745196  PMID: 23960807
Community; Pharmacist; Satisfaction; Care; Drug; Perception
10.  Prescribing injectable and oral methadone to opiate addicts: results from the 1995 national postal survey of community pharmacies in England and Wales. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7052):270-272.
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.
PMCID: PMC2351715  PMID: 8704540
11.  Pharmacy staff characteristics associated with support for pharmacy-based HIV-testing in pharmacies participating in the New York State Expanded Access Syringe Exchange Program 
Objective
To determine support of in-pharmacy HIV-testing among pharmacy staff and the individual-level characteristics associated with in-pharmacy HIV testing support.
Design
Descriptive, nonexperimental, cross-sectional study.
Setting
New York City (NYC) during January 2008 to March 2009.
Intervention
131 pharmacies registered in the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) completed a survey.
Participants
480 pharmacy staff, including pharmacists, owners/managers, and technicians/clerks.
Main outcome measures
Support of in-pharmacy HIV testing.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1331/JAPhA.2012.10194
PMCID: PMC3703741  PMID: 22825227
Injection drug users; HIV testing; pharmacy services; New York City
12.  Syringe Acquisition Experiences and Attitudes among Injection Drug Users Undergoing Short-Term Opioid Detoxification in Massachusetts and Rhode Island 
Access to sterile syringes for injection drug users (IDUs) is a critical part of a comprehensive strategy to combat the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C virus, and other bloodborne pathogens. Understanding IDUs’ experiences and attitudes about syringe acquisition is crucial to ensuring adequate syringe supply and access for this population. This study sought to assess and compare IDUs’ syringe acquisition experiences and attitudes and HIV risk behavior in two neighboring states, Massachusetts (MA) and Rhode Island (RI). From March 2008 to May 2009, we surveyed 150 opioid IDUs at detoxification facilities in MA and RI, stratified the sample based on where respondents spent most of their time, and generated descriptive statistics to compare responses among the two groups. A large proportion of our participants (83%) reported pharmacies as a source of syringe in the last 6 months, while only 13% reported syringe exchange programs (SEPs) as a syringe source. Although 91% of our sample reported being able to obtain all of the syringes they needed in the past 6 months, 49% had used syringes or injection equipment previously used by someone else in that same time period. In comparison to syringe acquisition behaviors reported by patients of the same detoxification centers in 2001–2003 (data reported in previous publication), we found notable changes among MA participants. Our results reveal that some IDUs in our sample are still practicing high-risk injection behaviors, indicating a need for expanded and renewed efforts to promote safer injection behavior among IDUs. Our findings also indicate that pharmacies have become an important syringe source for IDUs and may represent a new and important setting in which IDUs can be engaged in a wide array of health services. Efforts should be made to involve pharmacists in providing harm reduction and HIV prevention services to IDUs. Finally, despite limited SEP access (especially in MA), SEPs are still used by approximately one of the three IDUs in our overall sample.
doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9669-7
PMCID: PMC3535136  PMID: 22427232
Injection drug users; IDUs; Syringes; Non-prescription syringes; Pharmacy; Syringe; Exchange program; Needle exchange program; Harm reduction
13.  New York State pharmacists' attitudes toward needle and syringe sales to injection drug users before implementation of syringe deregulation 
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.
doi:10.1007/BF02344037
PMCID: PMC3456767  PMID: 11194316
14.  Tobacco sales in pharmacies: a survey of attitudes, knowledge and beliefs of pharmacists employed in student experiential and other worksites in Western New York 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:413.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-413
PMCID: PMC3492148  PMID: 22867129
Tobacco sales; Pharmacists; Preceptors; Public health policy; Survey research; Pharmacies
15.  Injection Drug Users’ Perspectives on Placing HIV Prevention and Other Clinical Services in Pharmacy Settings 
In their role as a source of sterile syringes, pharmacies are ideally situated to provide additional services to injection drug users (IDUs). Expanding pharmacy services to IDUs may address the low utilization rates of healthcare services among this population. This qualitative study of active IDUs in San Francisco explored perspectives on proposed health services and interventions offered in pharmacy settings, as well as facilitators and barriers to service delivery. Eleven active IDUs participated in one-on-one semistructured interviews at a community field site and at a local syringe exchange site between February and May 2010. Results revealed that most had reservations about expanding services to pharmacy settings, with reasons ranging from concerns about anonymity to feeling that San Francisco already offers the proposed services in other venues. Of the proposed health services, this group of IDUs prioritized syringe access and disposal, clinical testing and vaccinations, and provision of methadone. Pharmacists’ and pharmacy staff’s attitudes were identified as a major barrier to IDUs’ comfort with accessing services. The findings suggest that although IDUs would like to see some additional services offered within pharmacy settings, this is contingent upon pharmacists and their staff receiving professional development trainings that cultivate sensitivity towards the needs and experiences of IDUs.
doi:10.1007/s11524-011-9651-9
PMCID: PMC3324615  PMID: 22231488
IDU; Pharmacy; California; Qualitative; Prevention services
16.  Stigmatizing attitudes and low levels of knowledge but high willingness to participate in HIV management: A community-based survey of pharmacies in Pune, India 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:517.
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the role of pharmacists in low-income settings be expanded to address the increasing complexity of HIV antiretroviral (ARV) and co-infection drug regimens. However, in many such settings including in India, many pharmacists and pharmacy workers are often neither well trained nor aware of the intricacies of HIV treatment. The aims of our study were; to determine the availability of ARVs, provision of ARVs, knowledge about ARVs, attitudes towards HIV-infected persons and self-perceived need for training among community-based pharmacies in an urban area of India.
Methods
We performed a survey of randomly selected, community-based pharmacies located in Pune, India, in 2004-2005 to determine the availability of ARVs at these pharmacies, how they were providing ARVs and their self-perceived need for training. We also assessed knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on HIV and ARVs and factors associated with stocking ARVs.
Results
Of 207 pharmacies included in the survey, 200 (96.6%) were single, private establishments. Seventy-three (35.3%) pharmacies stocked ARVs and 38 (18.4%) ordered ARVs upon request. The reported median number of ARV pills that patients bought at one time was 30, a two week supply of ARVs (range: 3-240 pills). Six (2.9%) pharmacy respondents reported selling non-allopathic medicines (i.e. Ayurvedic, homeopathy) for HIV. Ninety (44.2%) pharmacy respondents knew that ARVs cannot cure HIV, with those stocking ARVs being more likely to respond correctly (60.3% vs. 34.8%, p = 0.001). Respondents of pharmacies which stocked ARVs were also more likely to believe it was a professional obligation to provide medications to HIV-infected persons (91.8% vs. 78.8%, p = 0.007) but they were also more likely to believe that HIV-infected persons are unable to adhere to their medicines (79.5% vs. 40.9%, p < 0.01). Knowledge of the most common side effects of nevirapine, abnormal liver enzyme profile and skin rash, was reported correctly by 8 (3.9%) and 23 (11.1%) respondents, respectively. Seven (3.4%) respondents reported that they had received special training on HIV, 3 (1.5%) reported receipt of special training on ART and 167 (80.7%) reported that they believed that pharmacy staff should get special training on ART.
Conclusion
There is a high willingness to participate in HIV management among community-based pharmacies but there is a tremendous need for training on HIV therapies. Furthermore, stigmatizing attitudes towards HIV-infected persons persist and interventions to reduce stigma are needed, particularly among those that stock ARVs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-517
PMCID: PMC2939646  PMID: 20799948
17.  Public’s attitudes towards community pharmacy in Qatar: a pilot study 
Objectives
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S22117
PMCID: PMC3176180  PMID: 21949604
pharmacist; public; attitudes; Qatar
18.  Experiences with Policing among People Who Inject Drugs in Bangkok, Thailand: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(12):e1001570.
Using thematic analysis, Kerr and colleagues document the experiences of policing among people who inject drugs in Bangkok and examine how interactions with police can affect drug-using behaviors and health care access.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Despite Thailand's commitment to treating people who use drugs as “patients” not “criminals,” Thai authorities continue to emphasize criminal law enforcement for drug control. In 2003, Thailand's drug war received international criticism due to extensive human rights violations. However, few studies have since investigated the impact of policing on drug-using populations. Therefore, we sought to examine experiences with policing among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Bangkok, Thailand, between 2008 and 2012.
Methods and Findings
Between July 2011 and June 2012, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 42 community-recruited PWID participating in the Mitsampan Community Research Project in Bangkok. Interviews explored PWID's encounters with police during the past three years. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, and a thematic analysis was conducted to document the character of PWID's experiences with police. Respondents indicated that policing activities had noticeably intensified since rapid urine toxicology screening became available to police. Respondents reported various forms of police misconduct, including false accusations, coercion of confessions, excessive use of force, and extortion of money. However, respondents were reluctant to report misconduct to the authorities in the face of social and structural barriers to seeking justice. Respondents' strategies to avoid police impeded access to health care and facilitated transitions towards the misuse of prescribed pharmaceuticals. The study's limitations relate to the transferability of the findings, including the potential biases associated with the small convenience sample.
Conclusions
This study suggests that policing in Bangkok has involved injustices, human rights abuses, and corruption, and policing practices in this setting appeared to have increased PWID's vulnerability to poor health through various pathways. Novel to this study are findings pertaining to the use of urine drug testing by police, which highlight the potential for widespread abuse of this emerging technology. These findings raise concern about ongoing policing practices in this setting.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In many countries, the dominant strategy used to control illegal drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine is criminal law enforcement, a strategy that sometimes results in human rights abuses such as ill-treatment by police, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary detention. Moreover, growing evidence suggests that aggressive policing of illicit drug use can have adverse public-health consequences. For example, the fear engendered by intensive policing may cause people who inject drugs (PWID) to avoid services such as needle exchanges, thereby contributing to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. One country with major epidemics of illicit drug use and of HIV/AIDS among PWID is Thailand. Although Thailand reclassified drug users as “patients” instead of “criminals” in 2002, possession and consumption of illicit drugs remain criminal offenses. The 2002 legislation also created a system of compulsory drug detention centers, most of which lack evidence-based addiction treatment services. In 2003, the Thai government launched a campaign to suppress drug trafficking and to enrol 300,000 people who use drugs into treatment. This campaign received international criticism because it involved extensive human rights violations, including more than 2,800 extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and dealers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Drug-related arrests and compulsory detention of drug users are increasing in Thailand but what is the impact of current policing practices on drug users and on public health? In this qualitative study (a study that aims for an in-depth understanding of human behavior), the researchers use thematic analysis informed by the Rhodes' Risk Environment Framework to document the social and structural factors that led to encounters with the police among PWID in Bangkok between 2008 and 2012, the policing tactics employed during these encounters, and the associated health consequences of these encounters. The Risk Environment Framework posits that a range of social, political, economic, and physical environmental factors interact with each other and shape the production of drug-related harm.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between July 2011 and June 2012, the researchers conducted in-depth interviews with a convenience sample (a non-random sample from a nearby population) of 42 participants in the Mitsampan Community Research Project, an investigation of drug-using behavior, health care access, and drug-related harms among PWID in Bangkok. Respondents reported that policing activities had intensified since rapid urine toxicology screening became widely available and since the initiation of a crackdown on drug users in 2011. They described various forms of violence and misconduct that they had experienced during confrontations with police, including false accusations, degrading stop and search procedures, and excessive use of force. Urine drug testing was identified as a key tool used by the police, with some respondents describing how police caused unnecessary humiliation by requesting urine samples in public places. It was also reported that the police used positive test results as a means of extortion. Finally, some respondents reported feeling powerless in relation to the police and cited fear of retaliation as an important barrier to obtaining redress for police corruption. Others reported that they had adopted strategies to avoid the police such as staying indoors, a strategy likely to impede access to health care, or changing their drug-using behavior by, for example, injecting midazolam rather than methamphetamine, a practice associated with an increased risk of injection-related complications.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the policing of PWID in Bangkok between 2008 and 2012 involved injustices, human rights abuses, and corruption and highlight the potential for widespread misuse of urine drug testing. Moreover, they suggest that policing practices in this setting may have increased the vulnerability of PWID to poor health by impeding their access to health care and by increasing the occurrence of risky drug-using behaviors. Because this study involved a small convenience sample of PWID, these findings may not be generalizable to other areas of Bangkok or Thailand and do not indicate whether police misconduct and corruption is highly prevalent across the all police departments in Bangkok. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that multilevel structural changes and interventions are needed to mitigate the harm associated with policing of illicit drug use in Bangkok. These changes will need to ensure full accountability for police misconduct and access to legal services for victims of this misconduct. They will also need to include ethical guidelines for urine drug testing and the reform of policies that promote repressive policing and compulsory detention.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001570.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Burris and Koester
Human Rights Watch, a global organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, has information about drug policy and human rights, which includes information on Thailand
The Global Commission on Drug Policy published a report in June 2012 entitled “The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS: How the Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global Pandemic” (available in several languages)
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law published a report in July 2012 entitled “HIV and the Law: Risk, Rights and Health” (available in several languages), the Open Society Foundations have prepared a briefing on this report
More information about the Mitsampan Community Research Project is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001570
PMCID: PMC3858231  PMID: 24339753
19.  Exploring successful community pharmacist-physician collaborative working relationships using mixed methods 
Background
Collaborative working relationships (CWRs) between community pharmacists and physicians may foster the provision of medication therapy management services, disease state management, and other patient care activities; however, pharmacists have expressed difficulty in developing such relationships. Additional work is needed to understand the specific pharmacist-physician exchanges that effectively contribute to the development of CWR. Data from successful pairs of community pharmacists and physicians may provide further insights into these exchange variables and expand research on models of professional collaboration.
Objective
To describe the professional exchanges that occurred between community pharmacists and physicians engaged in successful CWRs, using a published conceptual model and tool for quantifying the extent of collaboration.
Methods
A national pool of experts in community pharmacy practice identified community pharmacists engaged in CWRs with physicians. Five pairs of community pharmacists and physician colleagues participated in individual semistructured interviews, and 4 of these pairs completed the Pharmacist-Physician Collaborative Index (PPCI). Main outcome measures include quantitative (ie, scores on the PPCI) and qualitative information about professional exchanges within 3 domains found previously to influence relationship development: relationship initiation, trustworthiness, and role specification.
Results
On the PPCI, participants scored similarly on trustworthiness; however, physicians scored higher on relationship initiation and role specification. The qualitative interviews revealed that when initiating relationships, it was important for many pharmacists to establish open communication through face-to-face visits with physicians. Furthermore, physicians were able to recognize in these pharmacists a commitment for improved patient care. Trustworthiness was established by pharmacists making consistent contributions to care that improved patient outcomes over time. Open discussions regarding professional roles and an acknowledgment of professional norms (ie, physicians as decision makers) were essential.
Conclusions
The findings support and extend the literature on pharmacist-physician CWRs by examining the exchange domains of relationship initiation, trustworthiness, and role specification qualitatively and quantitatively among pairs of practitioners. Relationships appeared to develop in a manner consistent with a published model for CWRs, including the pharmacist as relationship initiator, the importance of communication during early stages of the relationship, and an emphasis on high-quality pharmacist contributions.
doi:10.1016/j.sapharm.2009.11.008
PMCID: PMC3004536  PMID: 21111388
Pharmacists; Physicians; Collaborative working relationships; Pharmacist-physician collaborative index; Community
20.  Community pharmacy interventions for public health priorities: protocol for a systematic review of community pharmacy-delivered smoking, alcohol and weight management interventions 
Systematic Reviews  2014;3:93.
Background
Community pharmacists can deliver health care advice at an opportunistic level, related to prescription or non-prescription medicines and as part of focused services designed to reduce specific risks to health. Obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol intake are three of the most significant modifiable risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the UK, and interventions led by community pharmacists, aimed at these three risk factors, have been identified by the government as public health priorities. In 2008, the Department of Health for England stated that ‘a sound evidence base that demonstrates how pharmacy delivers effective, high quality and value for money services is needed’; this systematic review aims to respond to this requirement.
Methods/design
We will search the databases MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Sciences Citation Index, ASSIA, IBSS, Sociological Abstracts, Scopus and NHS Economic Evaluation Database for studies that have evaluated interventions based on community pharmacies that aim to target weight management, smoking cessation and alcohol misuse. We will include all randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials (NRCTs), controlled before-after studies (CBAs) and interrupted time series (ITS) and repeated measures studies. Data from included studies will be extracted by two independent reviewers and will include study details methods, results, intervention implementation/costs and methodological quality. Meta-analysis will be conducted if appropriate; if not, the synthesis will be restricted to a narrative overview of individual studies looking at the same question.
Discussion
The review aims to summarise the evidence base on the effectiveness of community pharmacy interventions on health and health behaviours in relation to weight management, smoking cessation and alcohol misuse. It will also explore if, and how, socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity and age moderate the effect of the interventions and will describe how the interventions included in the review have been organised, implemented and delivered, since context is an important factor governing the success of public health interventions. The findings from this review will have an impact on the commissioning of public health services aiming to promote healthy weight, smoking cessation and prevent excessive alcohol consumption.
Systematic review registration
The review has been registered with PROSPERO (registration no. CRD42013005943). Available at: http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.asp?ID=CRD42013005943.
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-93
PMCID: PMC4145162  PMID: 25145710
Systematic review; Public health; Interventions; Community pharmacy; Obesity; Weight management; Smoking cessation; Alcohol misuse
21.  An assessment of pharmacists’ readiness for paperless labeling: a national survey 
Objective
To assess the state of readiness for the adoption of paperless labeling among a nationally representative sample of pharmacies, including chain pharmacies, independent retail pharmacies, hospitals, and other rural or urban dispensing sites.
Methods
Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were used to analyze responses to a cross-sectional survey disseminated to American Pharmacists Association pharmacists nationwide. The survey assessed factors related to pharmacists’ attitudinal readiness (ie, perceptions of impact) and pharmacies’ structural readiness (eg, availability of electronic resources, internet access) for the paperless labeling initiative.
Results
We received a total of 436 survey responses (6% response rate) from pharmacists representing 44 US states and territories. Across the spectrum of settings we studied, pharmacists had work access to computers, printers, fax machines and access to the internet or intranet. Approximately 79% of respondents believed that the initiative would improve the adequacy of drug information available in their work site and 95% believed it would either not change (33%) or would improve (62%) communication to patients. Overall, respondents’ comments supported advancing the initiative; however, some comments revealed reservations regarding corporate or pharmacy buy-in, success of implementation, and ease of adoption.
Conclusions
This is the first nationwide study to report about pharmacists’ perspectives on paperless labeling. In general, pharmacists believe they are ready and that their pharmacies are well equipped for the transition to paperless labeling. Further exploration of perspectives from product label manufacturers and corporate pharmacy offices is needed to understand fully what will be necessary to complete this transition.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2013-001654
PMCID: PMC3912718  PMID: 23523874
Drug Information Services; Feasibility Studies; Pharmacies; Pharmacists; Product labeling/methods
22.  Pharmacy Syringe Purchase Test of Nonprescription Syringe Sales in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2010 
The two main legal sources of clean needles for illicit injection drug users (IDUs) in California are syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and nonprescription syringe sales (NPSS) at pharmacies. In 2004, California became one of the last states to allow NPSS. To evaluate the implementation of NPSS and the California Disease Prevention Demonstration Project (DPDP), we conducted syringe purchase tests in San Francisco (SF) and Los Angeles (LA) between March and July of 2010. Large differences in implementation were observed in the two cities. In LA, less than one-quarter of the enrolled pharmacies sold syringes to our research assistant (RA), and none sold a single syringe. The rate of successful purchase in LA is the lowest reported in any syringe purchase test. In both sites, there was notable variation among the gauge size available, and price and quantity of syringes required for a purchase. None of the DPDP pharmacies in LA or SF provided the requisite health information. The findings suggest that more outreach needs to be conducted with pharmacists and pharmacy staff. The pharmacies' failure to disseminate the educational materials may result in missed opportunities to provide needed harm reduction information to IDUs. The varied prices and required quantities may serve as a barrier to syringe access among IDUs. Future research needs to examine reasons why pharmacies do not provide the mandated information, whether the omission of disposal options is indicative of pharmacies' reluctance to serve as disposal sites, and if the dual opt-in approach of NPSS/DPDP is a barrier to pharmacy enrollment.
doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9713-7
PMCID: PMC3675724  PMID: 22718357
Nonprescription syringe sales; IDU; SB1159; California; Pharmacy; Policy
23.  A comprehensive system of pharmaceutical care for drug misusers 
This article outlines the evolution of a community pharmacy-based supervised consumption of methadone program in Grater Glasgow. The formalization of this program in 1994 promoted full patient compliance with the methadone regimen and reduced seepage of the drug to the illicit market. 184 of the area's 215 community pharmacies now dispense methadone for the treatment of opiate dependence. Of these, 173 have a supplementary contract with the local health board to supervise the consumption of methadone on their premises. In addition 15 of "methadone" pharmacists are involved in the provision of a pharmacy based needle exchange scheme. This has been shown to be the most efficient and cost effective method of delivering clean injecting equipment to injecting drug users in the Greater Glasgow area. Glasgow's pharmacists' have now been involved in the methadone and needle exchange programs for more than ten years. The support needed by pharmacists and the steps that have been put in place to provide this level of commitment are described. The development of the Glasgow pharmacy based services to drug users has had a major impact on practice elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-1-6
PMCID: PMC428584  PMID: 15169565
24.  English community pharmacists’ experiences of using electronic transmission of prescriptions: a qualitative study 
Background
The Electronic Prescription Service Release 2 (EPS2) in England has been designed to provide electronic transmission of digitally-signed prescriptions between primary care providers, with the intent on removing the large amounts of paper currently exchanged. As part of a wider evaluation of the EPS service, we wished to explore pharmacists’ experience with the new system and their perceptions of its benefits and any associated problems.
Methods
We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with community pharmacists using EPS2. We used a purposive sampling technique to obtain views from pharmacists working in pharmacies with a range of sizes and locations and to include both independent pharmacies and multiples. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded using grounded theory to identify the main factors that have influenced deployment and implementation in the eyes of respondents. QSR Nvivo was used as to aid in this process.
Results
It became apparent from the analysis that respondents perceived a wide range of advantages of EPS including improved safety, stock control, time management and improved relationships between pharmacy and General Practice staff. Respondents did not perceive a large difference in terms of work processes or development of their professional role. A large number of problems had been experienced in relation to both the technology itself and the way it was used by General Practices. It became apparent that work-around procedures had been developed for dealing with these issues but that not all these problems were perceived as having been addressed sufficiently at source. This sometimes had implications for the extent of EPS2 use and also limited some of the potential advantages of the EPS2 system, such as reduced effort in the management of prescription reimbursement. Respondents made suggestions for future improvements to EPS2. While interview data demonstrated that there were some feedback procedures in place, these were not regarded as being sufficient by the majority of respondents.
Conclusions
Whilst pharmacists perceived a wide range of benefits of EPS, a large number of problems had been experienced. Despite these difficulties, no pharmacists expressed an overall negative view.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-435
PMCID: PMC4015561  PMID: 24152293
25.  Availability of Tobacco and Alcohol Products in Los Angeles Community Pharmacies 
Journal of Community Health  2012;37(1):113-118.
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.
doi:10.1007/s10900-011-9424-0
PMCID: PMC3394176  PMID: 21644021
Tobacco sales; Alcohol sales; Tobacco control; Pharmacies

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