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1.  A scenario-planning approach to human resources for health: the case of community pharmacists in Portugal 
Health workforce planning is especially important in a setting of political, social, and economic uncertainty. Portuguese community pharmacists are experiencing such conditions as well as increasing patient empowerment, shortage of primary care physicians, and primary health care reforms. This study aims to design three future scenarios for Portuguese community pharmacists, recognizing the changing environment as an opportunity to develop the role that community pharmacists may play in the Portuguese health system.
The community pharmacist scenario design followed a three-stage approach. The first stage comprised thinking of relevant questions to be addressed and definition of the scenarios horizon. The second stage comprised two face-to-face, scenario-building workshops, for which 10 experts from practice and academic settings were invited. Academic and professional experience was the main selection criteria. The first workshop was meant for context analysis and design of draft scenarios, while the second was aimed at scenario analysis and validation. The final scenarios were built merging workshops’ information with data collected from scientific literature followed by team consensus. The final stage involved scenario development carried by the authors alone, developing the narratives behind each scenario.
Analysis allowed the identification of critical factors expected to have particular influence in 2020 for Portuguese community pharmacists, leading to two critical uncertainties: the “Legislative environment” and “Ability to innovate and develop services”. Three final scenarios were built, namely “Pharmacy-Mall”, “e-Pharmacist”, and “Reorganize or Die”. These scenarios provide possible trends for market needs, pharmacist workforce numbers, and expected qualifications to be developed by future professionals.
In all scenarios it is clear that the future advance of Portuguese community pharmacists will depend on pharmaceutical services provision beyond medicine dispensing. This innovative professional role will require the acquisition or development of competencies in the fields of management, leadership, marketing, information technologies, teamwork abilities, and behavioural and communication skills. To accomplish a sustainable evolution, legislative changes and adequate financial incentives will be beneficial. The scenario development proves to be valuable as a strategic planning tool, not only for understanding future community pharmacist needs in a complex and uncertain environment, but also for other health care professionals.
PMCID: PMC4201711  PMID: 25312408
Community pharmacists; Human resources for health; Pharmaceutical services; Scenario planning; Portugal
2.  An assessment of community pharmacists’ attitudes towards professional practice in the Republic of Moldova  
Pharmacy Practice  2008;6(1):1-8.
Pharmacy in Moldova is undergoing a period of transition. The professional practice is adjusting to a market-oriented economy from the previous Soviet system. The pharmaceutical sector has been liberalised giving rise to a significant increase in the number of community pharmacies. This has led to some adverse effects on the profession of pharmacy with pharmacists having considerable difficulties fulfilling their professional aspirations and possibly losing confidence in further developing their professional role.
To assess community pharmacists’ attitudes towards their professional practice and to determine their perceived competence in various pharmaceutical activities.
A questionnaire which addressed managerial activities, dispensing activities, pharmaceutical care activities, inter-professional relationships, public health and competence was mailed to 600 community pharmacists who were asked to score the importance and perceived competence for each activity on a scale ranging from 0-5. In the case of pharmaceutical care activities, pharmacists were asked to score their degree of agreement or disagreement as to whether it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to engage in specific pharmaceutical care activities.
A total of 370 valid questionnaires were returned giving a response rate of 61.7%. Managerial and dispensing activities were scored the highest both in terms of perceived importance and competence. The more innovative pharmaceutical care activities scored relatively low. Overall scores relating to the importance of pharmacists engaging in public health activities appear to be the lowest of the entire questionnaire. Younger pharmacists between the ages of 22-30 obtained significantly higher scores with regards to the perceived pharmacist’s responsibility in engaging in various pharmaceutical care activities. Respondents who practiced in an accredited pharmacy scored higher in the majority of questions.
Pharmacists in Moldova appear to be deeply rooted in the traditional approach to the practice of pharmacy pertaining mainly to distributive practice model and are somewhat distant from the other models of practice such as pharmaceutical care, drug information and self-care.
PMCID: PMC4147272  PMID: 25170358
Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Moldova
3.  Delivering Medical Abortion at Scale: A Study of the Retail Market for Medical Abortion in Madhya Pradesh, India 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120637.
Medical abortion (mifepristone and misoprostol) has the potential to contribute to reduced maternal mortality but little is known about the provision or quality of advice for medical abortion through the private retail sector. We examined the availability of medical abortion and the practices of pharmacists in India, where abortion has been legal since 1972.
We interviewed 591 pharmacists in 60 local markets in city, town and rural areas of Madhya Pradesh. One month later, we returned to 359 pharmacists with undercover patients who presented themselves unannounced as genuine customers seeking a medical abortion.
Medical abortion was offered to undercover patients by 256 (71.3%) pharmacists and 24 different brands were identified. Two thirds (68.5%) of pharmacists stated that abortion was illegal in India. Only 106 (38.5%) pharmacists asked clients the timing of the last menstrual period and 38 (13.8%) requested to see a doctor’s prescription – a legal requirement in India. Only 59 (21.5%) pharmacists correctly advised patients on the gestational limit for medical abortion, 97 (35.3%) provided correct information on how many and when to take the tablets in a combination pack, and 78 (28.4%) gave accurate advice on where to seek care in case of complications. Advice on post-abortion family planning was almost nonexistent.
The retail market for medical abortion is extensive, but the quality of advice given to patients is poor. Although the contribution of medical abortion to women’s health in India is poorly understood, there is an urgent need to improve the practices of pharmacists selling medical abortion.
PMCID: PMC4379109  PMID: 25822656
4.  How can pharmacist remuneration systems in Europe contribute to generic medicine dispensing?  
Pharmacy Practice  2012;10(1):3-8.
Generic medicines can generate larger savings to health care budgets when their use is supported by incentives on both the supply-side and the demand-side. Pharmacists’'remuneration is one factor influencing the dispensing of generic medicines.
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of different pharmacist remuneration systems for generic medicines in Europe, with a view to exploring how pharmacist remuneration systems can contribute to generic medicine dispensing.
Data were obtained from a literature review, a Master thesis in Pharmaceutical Care at the Catholic University of Leuven and a mailing sent to all members of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union with a request for information about the local remuneration systems of community pharmacists and the possible existence of reports on discounting practices.
Pharmacists remuneration in most European countries consists of the combination of a fixed fee per item and a certain percentage of the acquisition cost or the delivery price of the medicines. This percentage component can be fixed, regressive or capped for very high-cost medicines and acts as a disincentive for dispensing generic medicines. Discounting for generic medicines is common practice in several European countries but information on this practice tends to be confidential. Nevertheless, data for Belgium, France, the Netherlands and United Kingdom indicated that discounting percentages varied from 10% to 70% of the wholesale selling price.
Pharmacists can play an important role in the development of a generic medicines market. Pharmacists should not be financially penalized for dispensing generic medicines. Therefore, their remuneration should move towards a fee-for-performance remuneration instead of a price-dependent reimbursement which is currently used in many European countries. Such a fee-for-performance remuneration system provides a stimulus for generic medicines dispensing as pharmacists are not penalized for dispensing them but also needs to account for the loss of income to pharmacists from prohibiting discounting practices.
PMCID: PMC3798161  PMID: 24155810
Drugs, Generic; Drug Substitution; Fees, Pharmaceutical; Pharmacists; Europe
5.  The Portuguese generic medicines market: a policy analysis 
Pharmacy Practice  2009;7(2):74-80.
This study aims to conduct a descriptive analysis of the policy environment surrounding the generic medicines retail market in Portugal. The policy analysis focuses on supply-side measures (i.e. market access, pricing, reference-pricing and reimbursement of generic medicines) and demand-side measures (i.e. incentives for physicians to prescribe, for pharmacists to dispense and for patients to use generic medicines).
The policy analysis was based on an international literature review. Also, a simulation exercise was carried out to compute potential savings from substituting generic for originator medicines in Portugal using IMS Health data.
Portugal has developed a successful generic medicines market by increasing reimbursement of generic medicines (until October 2005), by introducing a reference-pricing system, by encouraging physicians to prescribe by international non-proprietary name (INN), and by allowing generic substitution by pharmacists. However, the development of the generic medicines market has been hindered by the existence of copies, pricing regulation, certain features of the reference-pricing system, weak incentives for physicians to prescribe generic medicines and a financial disincentive for pharmacists to dispense generic medicines. Increased generic substitution would be expected to reduce public expenditure on originator medicines by 45%.
The development of the Portuguese generic medicines market has mainly been fuelled by supply-side measures. To support the further expansion of the market, policy makers need to strengthen demand-side measures inciting physicians to prescribe, pharmacists to dispense and patients to use generic medicines.
PMCID: PMC4139743  PMID: 25152781
Drugs; Generic; Reimbursement; Incentive; Drug Costs; Portugal
6.  Availability and Perceived Value of Masters of Business Administration Degree Programs in Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management 
Objectives. To examine pharmacist-targeted master of business administration (MBA) degree programs and investigate pharmacists’ perceptions regarding them.
Methods. Specialized MBA programs in pharmaceutical marketing and management offered at US colleges and schools of pharmacy were identified in the literature and compared. Pharmacists’ perceptions of MBA programs were evaluated through a survey of clinical preceptors affiliated with a school of pharmacy.
Results. Seven US universities that offer an MBA program in pharmaceutical marketing and management were identified. Thirty-three percent of the 57 pharmacist preceptors who responded to the survey reported plans to pursue an MBA degree program. Respondents preferred MBA programs related to healthcare or pharmacy (66%) over general MBA programs (33%).
Conclusion. An MBA in pharmaceutical marketing and management could provide pharmacists with advanced knowledge of the operational and strategic business aspects of pharmacy practice and give pharmacy graduates an advantage in an increasingly competitive job market.
PMCID: PMC3355284  PMID: 22611273
master of business administration (MBA); marketing; management; business; pharmaceutical industry; dual PharmD/MBA degree program
7.  Pharmacy practice and its challenges in Yemen 
Pharmacy practice in Yemen was established in 1875 in Aden.
To describe pharmacy practice as it currently exists in Yemen, the challenges the profession faces, and to recommend changes that will improve pharmaceutical care services.
This study has two parts. Part 1 comprised a literature search performed between May and July 2011 to identify published studies on pharmacy practice in Yemen. Full text papers, abstracts, and reports in Arabic or English between 1970 and 2011 were reviewed. Part 2 consisted of a qualitative study with face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of pharmacists, staff from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP), and patients.
The analysis revealed several issues that plague pharmacy practice in Yemen:
Fewer than 10 per cent of pharmacists working in pharmacies and drug stores are graduates of governmentrecognised colleges.
Most Yemeni pharmacists are dissatisfied with their work conditions and opportunities.
Medicines are expensive and hard to access in Yemen, and counterfeit medicines are a serious problem.
Few regulations and standards exist for pharmacists and pharmaceutical care.
Pharmaceutical marketing plays an important role in marketing and selling products in Yemen.
A dearth of standards, regulations, and laws are hurting pharmacy practice in the country and potentially endangering peoples’ lives.
In order to improve pharmacy practice in Yemen, many changes are needed, including updating the pharmacy curriculum taught, implementing industry standards for pharmacy practice, implementing and reinforcing laws, and integrating pharmacists more fully in the healthcare industry. Additionally, the quality of the pharmacy workforce needs to be improved, and there needs to be increased awareness by the public, physicians, other healthcare professionals, and policy makers about the value of pharmacists.
PMCID: PMC3920470  PMID: 24567762
Pharmacy practice; workforce; satisfaction; challenges; recommendations and Yemen
8.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
9.  Case management of malaria fever at community pharmacies in Pakistan: a threat to rational drug use 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(1):8-16.
To document the case management of uncomplicated malaria fever at community pharmacies located in the two major cities of Pakistan; Islamabad (national capital) and Rawalpindi (twin city).
A comparative, cross-sectional study was designed to document the management of uncomplicated malaria fever at community pharmacies in twin cities of Pakistan through simulated patient visits. Visits were conducted in 238 randomly selected pharmacies to request advice for a simulated patient case of malaria. The pharmacy’s management was scored on a checklist including history taking and provision of advice and information. Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to compare management of uncomplicated malaria fever by different types of dispensers working at community pharmacies situated at different locations in the twin cities.
The simulated patients were handled by salesmen (74.8%, n=178), pharmacist (5.4%, n=13) and diploma holders (19.8 %, n=47). Medication was dispensed in 83.1 % (n=198) of the visits, but only few of the treated cases were in accordance to standard treatment guidelines for malaria. However, in 14.8% (n=35) of the cases the simulated patients were directly referred to a physician. There was a significant difference observed in the process of history taking performed by different dispensers (e.g. pharmacist, pharmacy assistant, pharmacy diploma holders and salesman) while no significant differences in the provision of advice by these dispensers was observed. Pharmacists were seen more frequently involved in the process of history taking if available at the community pharmacies. On the other hand, no significant differences were observed in the case management (history taking and provision of advice) for the treatment of malaria fever among community pharmacies situated at different locations (e.g. near hospital/super market/small market) in the twin cities.
The results of the study revealed that the overall process of disease management of uncomplicated malaria fever at community pharmacies was not in accordance with the national standard treatment guidelines for malaria. Patients were being treated by untrained personnel’s at community pharmacies without any understanding of referral. However, pharmacists were more frequently involved in history taking, though their availability was low at community pharmacies.
PMCID: PMC3780510  PMID: 24155844
Community Pharmacy Services; Directive Counseling; Malaria; Pharmacies; Professional Practice; Patient Simulation; Pakistan
10.  Recommending Blood Glucose Monitors, a Pharmacy Perspective 
Selection of what blood glucose monitoring system to utilize has become an issue for physicians, diabetes educators, pharmacists, and patients. The field of competing makes and models of blood glucose monitoring systems has become crowded, with manufacturers touting improvements in accuracy, ease of use/alternate site options, stored results capacity, software evaluation tools, and/or price point.
Personal interviews of 12 pharmacists from community and academic practice settings about monitor preference, as well as results from a national survey of pharmacist recommendations, were compared to actual wholesale sales data to estimate the impact of such recommendations on final monitor selection by the patient.
Accu-Chek® monitors were recommended 34.65% of the time and represented 28.58% of sales, with a success rate of 82.48% of being the monitor selected. OneTouch® monitors had 27.72% of recommendations but represented 31.43% of sales, indicating possible patient brand loyalty or formulary preference for that product. FreeStyle® monitors came in third for pharmacist recommendations and were selected by the patient 61.68% of the time when recommended. The category of “other monitor” choices was selected 60.89% of the time by patients given those suggestions. Included in the “other monitor” category was the new disposable monitor marketed as the Sidekick®. Based on sales data provided, the Sidekick® made up 2.87% of “other monitor” category sales, representing 68% of the “other monitor” segment.
While patients frequently follow pharmacist monitoring system suggestions, the ultimate deciding factor is most often the final out-of-pocket cost to the patient. As a result, cost of supplies often becomes the most important determining factor in final monitor selection at the patient level. If the patient cannot afford to perform the recommended daily testing intervals, all other determining factors and suggestions become moot.
PMCID: PMC2771460  PMID: 19888411
blood glucose monitors; out-of-pocket cost; pharmacist; recommendation; sales; self-monitoring of blood glucose; test strips
11.  Prescription practices and availability of artemisinin monotherapy in India: where do we stand? 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:360.
The World Health Organization has urged all member states to deploy artemisinin-based combination therapy and progressively withdraw oral artemisinin monotherapies from the market due to their high recrudescence rates and to reduce the risk of drug resistance. Prescription practices by physicians and the availability of oral artemisinin monotherapies with pharmacists directly affect the pattern of their use. Thus, treatment practices for malaria, with special reference to artemisinin monotherapy prescription, in selected states of India were evaluated.
Structured, tested questionnaires were used to conduct convenience surveys of physicians and pharmacists in eleven purposively selected districts across six states in 2008. In addition, exit interviews of patients with a diagnosis of uncomplicated malaria or a prescription for an anti-malarial drug were also performed. Logistic regression was used to determine patient clinical care, and institutional factors associated with artemisinin monotherapy prescription.
Five hundred and eleven physicians from 196 health facilities, 530 pharmacists, and 1, 832 patients were interviewed. Artemisinin monotherapy was available in 72.6% of pharmacies and was prescribed by physicians for uncomplicated malaria in all study states. Exit interviews among patients confirmed the high rate of use of artemisinin monotherapy with 14.8% receiving such a prescription. Case management, i.e. method of diagnosis and overall treatment, varied by state and public or private sector. Treatment in the private sector (OR 8.0, 95%CI: 3.8, 17) was the strongest predictor of artemisinin monotherapy prescription when accounting for other factors. Use of the combination therapy recommended by the national drug policy, artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, was minimal (4.9%), with the exception of one state.
Artemisinin monotherapy use was widespread across India in 2008. The accessible sale of oral artemisinin monotherapy in retail market and an inadequate supply of recommended drugs in the public sector health facilities promoted its prescription. This study resulted in notifications to all state drug controllers in India to withdraw the oral artemisinin formulations from the market. In 2010, artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine became the universal first-line treatment for confirmed Plasmodium falciparum malaria and was deployed at full scale.
PMCID: PMC3283503  PMID: 22166073
12.  Competition in the German pharmacy market: an empirical analysis 
Pharmaceutical products are an important component of expenditure on public health insurance in the Federal Republic of Germany. For years, German policy makers have regulated public pharmacies in order to limit the increase in costs. One reform has followed another, main objective being to increase competition in the pharmacy market. It is generally assumed that an increase in competition would reduce healthcare costs. However, there is a lack of empirical proof of a stronger orientation of German public pharmacies towards competition thus far.
This paper analyses the self-perceptions of owners of German public pharmacies and their orientation towards competition in the pharmacy markets. It is based on a cross-sectional survey (N = 289) and distinguishes between successful and less successful pharmacies, the location of the pharmacies (e.g. West German States and East German States) and the gender of the pharmacy owner. The data are analysed descriptively by survey items and employing bivariate and structural equation modelling.
The analysis reveals that the majority of owners of public pharmacies in Germany do not currently perceive very strong competitive pressure in the market. However, the innovativeness of the pharmacist is confirmed as most relevant for net revenue development and the profit margin. Some differences occur between regions, e.g. public pharmacies in West Germany have a significantly higher profit margin.
This study provides evidence that the German healthcare reforms aimed at increasing the competition between public pharmacies in Germany have not been completely successful. Many owners of public pharmacies disregard instruments of active customer-orientated management (such as customer loyalty or an offensive position and economies of scale), which could give them a competitive advantage. However, it is clear that those pharmacists who strive for systematic and innovative management and adopt an offensive and competitive stance are quite successful. Thus, pharmacists should change their attitude and develop a more professional business model.
PMCID: PMC3856528  PMID: 24112461
13.  Excipients and additives: hidden hazards in drug products and in product substitution. 
Canadian Medical Association Journal  1984;131(12):1449-1452.
The excipients and additives in drug formulations have been described as inert because they do not have an active role in the prevention or treatment of particular ailments. This has led to the misconception among physicians, pharmacists, drug manufacturers and the public that excipients are harmless and unworthy of mention. In fact, pharmacists are allowed to substitute drug formulations, without regard to the excipients, as long as they ensure that the active ingredients in the substitute are the same as those in the formulation prescribed. The inappropriateness of the term inert is becoming increasingly apparent as evidence of adverse reactions--some fatal--to excipients mounts. The likelihood that some "active" constituents, particularly erythromycin, have been blamed for such reactions deserves to be investigated. The public deserves to be better protected. For example, the United States has legislation requiring complete labelling of all food, drugs and cosmetics that incorporate more than one ingredient, no matter how innocuous the constituents are believed to be. In Canada, drug manufacturers are not even required to share this information with physicians or pharmacists when they introduce a new drug or reformulate a product already being marketed, nor are pharmacists required to disclose the contents of formulations that they prepare in the absence of commercially available products.
PMCID: PMC1440339  PMID: 6498699
14.  Medication therapy management clinic: perception of healthcare professionals in a University medical center setting 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(3):173-177.
To determine the overall perception and utilization of the pharmacist managed medication therapy management (MTM) clinic services, by healthcare professionals in a large, urban, university medical care setting.
This was a cross-sectional, anonymous survey sent to 195 healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists at The University of Illinois Outpatient Care Center to determine their perception and utilization of the MTM clinic. The survey consisted of 12 questions and was delivered through a secure online application.
Sixty-two healthcare professionals (32%) completed the survey. 82% were familiar with the MTM clinic, and 63% had referred patients to the clinic. Medication adherence and disease state management was the most common reason for referral. Lack of knowledge on the appropriate referral procedure was the prominent reason for not referring patients to the MTM clinic. Of the providers that were aware of MTM services, 44% rated care as ‘excellent’, 44% as ‘good’, 5% as ‘fair’, and 0% stated ‘poor’. Strengths of MTM clinic identified by healthcare providers included in-depth education to patients, close follow-up, and detailed medication reconciliation provided by MTM clinic pharmacists. Of those familiar with MTM clinic, recommendations included; increase marketing efforts to raise awareness of the MTM clinic service, create collaborative practice agreements between MTM pharmacists and physicians, and ensure that progress notes are more concise.
In a large, urban, academic institution MTM clinic is perceived as a valuable resource to optimize patient care by providing patients with in-depth education as it relates to their prescribed medications and disease states. These identified benefits of MTM clinic lead to frequent patient referrals specifically for aid with medication adherence and disease state management.
PMCID: PMC3809139  PMID: 24223083
Medication Therapy Management; Professional Practice; Academic Medical Centers; Personal Satisfaction; Attitude of Health Personnel; Pharmacists; United States
Africa  2013;83(4):561-581.
Pharmacy students at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar must research and write a thesis to graduate. Thésards who took topics in analytical chemistry and toxicology describe their thesis work as a temporary opportunity to perform ‘street-level’ public health research that they regard as ‘relevant’ to the quality of people's lives. Expecting futures in the private commercial sector, thésards regretfully leave the thesis behind. This article explores the parenthetical nature of this moment – its brief openings and more durable closures – as part of the history of ways of being a pharmacist in post-colonial Senegal. The thesis as an interlude in students’ biographies, curtailed by narrowed horizons of expectation, evokes other contractions: in the range of professional roles open to Senegalese pharmacists, and in the circuits of public health with which they might engage. For thésards, fieldwork, government work and commercial work entail spatial practices and imaginations; different ways of moving around the city and of tracing urban space that define pharmacists’ roles in terms of the modes through which they engage with broader collectivities. Mapping thésards’ parenthesis in Dakar is a means of capturing both their urban experience of work and the intertwining spatial, temporal and affective dimensions associated with this work. The past, probable and possible trajectories of pharmacy work are imprinted and imagined in the space of the city as field, market and polis. Pharmacists’ prospects and aspirations are caught up in broader shifts in how education, (un)employment and entrepreneurship animate relations of association and exchange in Senegal.
PMCID: PMC4541553  PMID: 26321762
16.  China’s regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice 
The promotion of patient safety and drug safety through promotion of pharmacist’s drug safety practice was among the most important aims of China’s health delivery system reform, but regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice was still serious in China.
The 2011 national patient safety and medication error baseline survey was carried out for the first time in China, and through analyzing dataset from the survey, this study was set up to test both China’s regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice and major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice among different districts of China.
Pharmacist’s drug safety practice in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources was still better than that in regions with lower per capita GDP and less abundant medical resources. In all districts of China, pharmacist’s drug safety knowledge, drug safety attitude, self-perceived pressure and fatigue, hospital management quality, and hospital regulation were major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice, while only in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources, hospital drug safety culture, supervisor’s work team management, cooperation atmosphere of work team, and drug safety culture of work team were major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice.
Regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice still existed in China. In all districts of China, promoting pharmacist’s drug safety knowledge, drug safety attitude, self-perceived pressure and fatigue, hospital management quality, and hospital regulation could help promote pharmacist’s drug safety practice, while only in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources, promoting hospital drug safety culture, supervisor’s work team management, cooperation atmosphere of work team, and drug safety culture of work team could help promote pharmacist’s drug safety practice. And in regions with lower per capita GDP and less abundant medical resources, the link between pharmacist’s drug safety practice and hospital drug safety culture/supervisor’s work team management/cooperation atmosphere of work team/drug safety culture of work team should also be gradually established.
PMCID: PMC3485099  PMID: 22867000
17.  e-Health, m-Health and healthier social media reform: the big scale view 
In the upcoming decade, digital platforms will be the backbone of a strategic revolution in the way medical services are provided, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Digital-based patient-centered healthcare services allow patients to actively participate in managing their own care, in times of health as well as illness, using personally tailored interactive tools. Such empowerment is expected to increase patients’ willingness to adopt actions and lifestyles that promote health as well as improve follow-up and compliance with treatment in cases of chronic illness. Clalit Health Services (CHS) is the largest HMO in Israel and second largest world-wide. Through its 14 hospitals, 1300 primary and specialized clinics, and 650 pharmacies, CHS provides comprehensive medical care to the majority of Israel’s population (above 4 million members). CHS e-Health wing focuses on deepening patient involvement in managing health, through personalized digital interactive tools. Currently, CHS e-Health wing provides e-health services for 1.56 million unique patients monthly with 2.4 million interactions every month (August 2011). Successful implementation of e-Health solutions is not a sum of technology, innovation and health; rather it’s the expertise of tailoring knowledge and leadership capabilities in multidisciplinary areas: clinical, ethical, psychological, legal, comprehension of patient and medical team engagement etc. The Google Health case excellently demonstrates this point. On the other hand, our success with CHS is a demonstration that e-Health can be enrolled effectively and fast with huge benefits for both patients and medical teams, and with a robust business model.
CHS e-Health core components
They include:
1. The personal health record layer (what the patient can see) presents patients with their own medical history as well as the medical history of their preadult children, including diagnoses, allergies, vaccinations, laboratory results with interpretations in layman’s terms, medications with clear, straightforward explanations regarding dosing instructions, important side effects, contraindications, such as lactation etc., and other important medical information. All personal e-Health services require identification and authorization.
2. The personal knowledge layer (what the patient should know) presents patients with personally tailored recommendations for preventative medicine and health promotion. For example, diabetic patients are push notified regarding their yearly eye exam. The various health recommendations include: occult blood testing, mammography, lipid profile etc. Each recommendation contains textual, visual and interactive content components in order to promote engagement and motivate the patient to actually change his health behaviour.
3. The personal health services layer (what the patient can do) enables patients to schedule clinic visits, order chronic prescriptions, e-consult their physician via secured e-mail, set SMS medication reminders, e-consult a pharmacist regarding personal medications. Consultants’ answers are sent securely to the patients’ personal mobile device.
On December 2009 CHS launched secured, web based, synchronous medical consultation via video conference. Currently 11,780 e-visits are performed monthly (May 2011). The medical encounter includes e-prescription and referral capabilities which are biometrically signed by the physician. On December 2010 CHS launched a unique mobile health platform, which is one of the most comprehensive personal m-Health applications world-wide. An essential advantage of mobile devices is their potential to bridge the digital divide. Currently, CHS m-Health platform is used by more than 45,000 unique users, with 75,000 laboratory results views/month, 1100 m-consultations/month and 9000 physician visit scheduling/month.
4. The Bio-Sensing layer (what physiological data the patient can populate) includes diagnostic means that allow remote physical examination, bio-sensors that broadcast various physiological measurements, and smart homecare devices, such as e-Pill boxes that gives seniors, patients and their caregivers the ability to stay at home and live life to its fullest. Monitored data is automatically transmitted to the patient’s Personal Health Record and to relevant medical personnel.
The monitoring layer is embedded in the chronic disease management platform, and in the interactive health promotion and wellness platform. It includes tailoring of consumer-oriented medical devices and service provided by various professional personnel—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and more.
5. The Social layer (what the patient can share). Social media networks triggered an essential change at the humanity ‘genome’ level, yet to be further defined in the upcoming years. Social media has huge potential in promoting health as it combines fun, simple yet extraordinary user experience, and bio-social-feedback. There are two major challenges in leveraging health care through social networks:
a. Our personal health information is the cornerstone for personalizing healthier lifestyle, disease management and preventative medicine. We naturally see our personal health data as a super-private territory. So, how do we bring the power of our private health information, currently locked within our Personal Health Record, into social media networks without offending basic privacy issues?
b. Disease management and preventive medicine are currently neither considered ‘cool’ nor ‘fun’ or ‘potentially highly viral’ activities; yet, health is a major issue of everybody’s life. It seems like we are missing a crucial element with a huge potential in health behavioural change—the Fun Theory. Social media platforms comprehends user experience tools that potentially could break current misconception, and engage people in the daily task of taking better care of themselves.
CHS e-Health innovation team characterized several break-through applications in this unexplored territory within social media networks, fusing personal health and social media platforms without offending privacy. One of the most crucial issues regarding adoption of e-health and m-health platforms is change management. Being a ‘hot’ innovative ‘gadget’ is far from sufficient for changing health behaviours at the individual and population levels.
CHS health behaviour change management methodology includes 4 core elements:
1. Engaging two completely different populations: patients, and medical teams. e-Health applications must present true added value for both medical teams and patients, engaging them through understanding and assimilating “what’s really in it for me”. Medical teams are further subdivided into physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative personnel—each with their own driving incentive. Resistance to change is an obstacle in many fields but it is particularly true in the conservative health industry. To successfully manage a large scale persuasive process, we treat intra-organizational human resources as “Change Agents”. Harnessing the persuasive power of ~40,000 employees requires engaging them as the primary target group. Successful recruitment has the potential of converting each patient-medical team interaction into an exposure opportunity to the new era of participatory medicine via e-health and m-health channels.
2. Implementation waves: every group of digital health products that are released at the same time are seen as one project. Each implementation wave leverages the focus of the organization and target populations to a defined time span. There are three major and three minor implementation waves a year.
3. Change-Support Arrow: a structured infrastructure for every implementation wave. The sub-stages in this strategy include:
Cross organizational mapping and identification of early adopters and stakeholders relevant to the implementation wave
Mapping positive or negative perceptions and designing specific marketing approaches for the distinct target groups
Intra and extra organizational marketing
Conducting intensive training and presentation sessions for groups of implementers
Running conflict-prevention activities, such as advanced tackling of potential union resistance
Training change-agents with resistance-management behavioural techniques, focused intervention for specific incidents and for key opinion leaders
Extensive presence in the clinics during the launch period, etc.
The entire process is monitored and managed continuously by a review team.
4. Closing Phase: each wave is analyzed and a “lessons-learned” session concludes the changes required in the modus operandi of the e-health project team.
PMCID: PMC3571141
e-Health; mobile health; personal health record; online visit; patient empowerment; knowledge prescription
18.  Biosimilars: Primer for the Health-System Pharmacist 
Basic information pharmacists and other clinicians must know to successfully manage the introduction of biosimilars into health systems is summarized, including manufacturing, regulatory, and medication use policy concepts.
Under development for more than a decade, the biosimilar market in the United States is now closer to becoming a reality than ever before. Legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to approve lower cost, follow-on versions of previously approved biologics was signed into law in March 2010. Additional draft guidance further clarifying the requirements of the biosimilars approval pathway was published in February 2012, and FDA is currently conducting multiple preparatory meetings with potential biosimilar applicants. While intended to occupy a position similar to that of small molecule generics, biosimilars will present new challenges given that biologic medications are manufactured, regulated, and marketed differently from small molecules. As a result, it is critically important for pharmacists to be knowledgeable on the unique characteristics of biologics and prepare their organizations for the introduction of biosimilars, including use of the formulary system.. Biosimilars will pose questions of medication use policy around therapeutic interchange, pharmacovigilance, and in the transitions of care for health system patients.
As stewards of appropriate medication use, pharmacists must take the initiative to educate themselves, physicians, other clinicians and patients on these products to ensure an accurate understanding of this new category of drugs and to assure the safe and optimal use of biosimilars.
PMCID: PMC4203383  PMID: 24173009
19.  Widening Consumer Access to Medicines: A Comparison of Prescription to Non-Prescription Medicine Switch in Australia and New Zealand 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119011.
Despite similarities in health systems and Trans-Tasman Harmonization of medicines scheduling, New Zealand is more active than Australia in ‘switching’ (reclassifying) medicines from prescription to non-prescription.
To identify and compare enablers and barriers to switch in New Zealand and Australia.
We conducted and analyzed 27 in-depth personal interviews with key participants in NZ and Australia and international participants previously located in Australia, and analyzed records of meetings considering switches (2000–2013). Analysis of both sets of data entailed a heuristic qualitative approach that embraced the lead researcher’s knowledge and experience.
The key themes identified were conservatism and political influences in Australia, and an open attitude, proactivity and flexibility in NZ. Pharmacist-only medicine schedules and individuals holding a progressive attitude were proposed to facilitate switch in both countries. A pharmacy retail group drove many switches in NZ (‘third-party switch’), unlike Australia. Barriers to switch in both countries included small market sizes, funding of prescription medicines and cost of doctor visits, and lack of market exclusivity. In Australia, advertising limitations for pharmacist-only medicines reportedly discouraged industry from submitting switch applications. Perceptions of pharmacy performance could help or hinder switches.
Committee and regulator openness to switch, and confidence in pharmacy appear to influence consumer access to medicines. The pharmacist-only medicine schedule in Australasia and the rise of third-party switch and flexibility in switch in NZ could be considered elsewhere to enable switch.
PMCID: PMC4364766  PMID: 25785589
20.  Patented Drug Extension Strategies on Healthcare Spending: A Cost-Evaluation Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001460.
In a cost-evaluation analysis of pharmacy invoice data in one Canton in Switzerland, Nathalie Vernaz and colleagues find that “evergreening” strategies pursued by drug manufacturers have been successful in maintaining market share and contribute to increased overall healthcare costs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Drug manufacturers have developed “evergreening” strategies to compete with generic medication after patent termination. These include marketing of slightly modified follow-on drugs. We aimed to estimate the financial impact of these drugs on overall healthcare costs and also to examine the impact of listing these drugs in hospital restrictive drug formularies (RDFs) on the healthcare system as a whole (“spillover effect”).
Methods and Findings
We used hospital and community pharmacy invoice office data in the Swiss canton of Geneva to calculate utilisation of eight follow-on drugs in defined daily doses between 2000 and 2008. “Extra costs” were calculated for three different scenarios assuming replacement with the corresponding generic equivalent for prescriptions of (1) all brand (i.e., initially patented) drugs, (2) all follow-on drugs, or (3) brand and follow-on drugs. To examine the financial spillover effect we calculated a monthly follow-on drug market share in defined daily doses for medications prescribed by hospital physicians but dispensed in community pharmacies, in comparison to drugs prescribed by non-hospital physicians in the community.
Estimated “extra costs” over the study period were €15.9 (95% CI 15.5; 16.2) million for scenario 1, €14.4 (95% CI 14.1; 14.7) million for scenario 2, and €30.3 (95% CI 29.8; 30.8) million for scenario 3. The impact of strictly switching all patients using proton-pump inhibitors to esomeprazole at admission resulted in a spillover “extra cost” of €330,300 (95% CI 276,100; 383,800), whereas strictly switching to generic cetirizine resulted in savings of €7,700 (95% CI 4,100; 11,100). Overall we estimated that the RDF resulted in “extra costs” of €503,600 (95% CI 444,500; 563,100).
Evergreening strategies have been successful in maintaining market share in Geneva, offsetting competition by generics and cost containment policies. Hospitals may be contributing to increased overall healthcare costs by listing follow-on drugs in their RDF. Therefore, healthcare providers and policy makers should be aware of the impact of evergreening strategies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The development of a new medical drug—from discovery of a new compound to regulatory approval for its use—can take many years and cost millions of dollars. In 1995 the World Trade Organization adopted an international law (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights—TRIPS) by which pharmaceutical companies can protect their intellectual property through patents. Under TRIPS, pharmaceutical companies are granted exclusive manufacturing rights for up to 20 years for each new drug, generating large revenues that often exceed initial investments costs, thus providing an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to continue to invest in the research and development of new drugs. However, recent stricter regulatory procedures for drug approval, national price control policies, and increased competition from generic manufacturers (that produce drugs similar to the brand drug once the patent has expired) have meant that pharmaceutical company profits have increasingly come under pressure.
Why Was This Study Done?
One of the tactics that pharmaceutical companies currently use in response to this situation is to extend their market monopoly. This practice is known as “evergreening” and refers to the situation in which pharmaceutical companies slightly change the formulation of their brand drug into “follow on” drugs, for example, by combining formulations or producing slow-release forms, so that they can extend the patent. The impact of such follow-on drugs on overall healthcare costs in high-resource settings is unclear and has received little attention. In this study, the researchers assessed the overall costs associated with the prescribing of follow-on drugs in the Swiss canton of Geneva.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified prescriptions of eight follow-on drugs issued by hospital and community pharmacists in Geneva between 2000 and 2008. To analyze the impact of evergreening strategies on healthcare spending, they calculated the market share score (an indicator of market competitiveness) for all prescriptions of the originally patented (brand) drug, the follow-on drug, and generic versions of the drug. The researchers then used hospital and community databases to analyze the costs of replacing brand and/or follow-on drugs with a corresponding generic drug (when available) under three scenarios (1) replacing all brand drug prescriptions, (2) replacing all follow-on drug prescriptions, and (3) replacing both follow-on and brand prescriptions.
Using these methods, the researchers found that over the study period, the number of patients receiving either a brand or follow-on drug increased from 56,686 patients in 2001 to 131,193 patients in 2008. The total cost for all studied drugs was €171.5 million, of which €103.2 million was for brand drugs, €41.1 million was for follow-on drugs, and €27.2 million was for generic drugs. Based on scenario 1 (all brand drugs being replaced by generics) and scenario 2 (all follow-on drugs being replaced by generics), over the study period, the healthcare system could have saved €15.9 million and €14.4 million in extra costs, respectively. The researchers also found some evidence that hospital prescribing patterns (through a restrictive drug formulary) influenced prescribing in the community: over the study period, the influence of hospital prescription patterns on the community resulted in an extra cost of €503,600 (mainly attributable to two drugs, esomeprazole and escitalopram). However, this influence also resulted in some savings because of a generic drug listed in the hospital formulary: use of the generic version of the drug cetirizine resulted in savings of €7,700.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in a high-income setting, evergreening strategies developed by pharmaceutical companies for follow-on drugs substantially contributed to an increase in overall healthcare costs. These findings also provide further evidence that policies encouraging prescribing of generic medicines could have substantial savings on healthcare expenditure and, if implemented in hospital formularies, could also influence prescribing outside of the hospital setting, resulting in further savings. However, in their analysis, the researchers assumed that the health outcomes of patients would be the same whatever type of drug they used (brand, generic, or follow-on), as they had no information on health outcomes. Nevertheless, this study provides useful information for healthcare providers and policy makers about the cost implications of the evergreening strategies used by the pharmaceutical industry, particularly for follow-on drugs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Aaron Kesselheim
Wikipedia provides an explanation of evergreening (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The World Trade Organization has detailed information on TRIPS
PMCID: PMC3672218  PMID: 23750120
21.  Diffusion of subsidized ACTs in accredited drug shops in Tanzania: determinants of stocking and characteristics of early and late adopters 
Many households in sub-Saharan Africa utilize the private sector as a primary source of treatment for malaria episodes. Expanding access to effective treatment in private drug shops may help reduce incidence of severe disease and mortality. This research leveraged a longitudinal survey of stocking of subsidized artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), an effective anti-malarial, in Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs) in two regions of Tanzania. This provided a unique opportunity to explore shop and market level determinants of product diffusion in a developing country retail market.
356 ADDOs in the Rukwa and Mtwara regions of Tanzania were surveyed at seven points between Feb 2011 and May 2012. Shop level audits were used to measure the availability of subsidized ACTs at each shop. Data on market and shop level factors were collected during the survey and also extracted from GIS layers. Regression and network based methodologies were used. Shops classified as early and late adopters, following Rogers’ model of product diffusion, were compared. The Bass model of product diffusion was applied to determine whether shops stocked ACTs out of a need to imitate market competitors or a desire to satisfy customer needs.
Following the introduction of a subsidy for ACTs, stocking increased from 12% to nearly 80% over the seven survey rounds. Stocking was influenced by higher numbers of proximal shops and clinics, larger customer traffic and the presence of a licensed pharmacist. Early adopters were characterized by a larger percentage of customers seeking care for malaria, a larger catchment and sourcing from specific wholesalers/suppliers. The Bass model of product diffusion indicated that shops were adopting products in response to competitor behavior, rather than customer demand.
Decisions to stock new pharmaceutical products in Tanzanian ADDOs are influenced by a combination of factors related to both market competition and customer demand, but are particularly influenced by the behavior of competing shops. Efforts to expand access to new pharmaceutical products in developing country markets could benefit from initial targeting of high profile shops in competitive markets and wholesale suppliers to encourage faster product diffusion across all drug retailers.
PMCID: PMC3880543  PMID: 24350611
Malaria; ACT; Drug shops; Tanzania; Marketing; Product diffusion
22.  Developing Competitive and Sustainable Polish Generic Medicines Market 
Croatian Medical Journal  2009;50(5):440-448.
To descriptively analyze the policy environment surrounding the Polish generic medicines retail market.
The policy analysis was based on an international literature review. Also, a simulation exercise was carried out to compute potential savings from substituting generic for originator medicines in Poland using IMS Health pharmaceutical intelligence data.
Poland has a mature, high-volume, low-value generic medicines market, primarily driven by the establishment of the reference price at the price of the cheapest medicine in combination with pricing regulation and the low level of medicine prices. The practice of discounting in the distribution chain implies that the National Health Fund and patients do not capture the potential savings from a generic medicines market where companies compete on price. This high-volume market has benefited in the past from the limited availability of originator medicines and a short data exclusivity period, even though there are no incentives for physicians to prescribe generic medicines and a financial disincentive for pharmacists to dispense generic medicines. Increased generic substitution would be expected to reduce public expenditure on originator medicines by 21%.
To develop a competitive and sustainable market, Poland needs to consider moving away from competition by discount to competition by price. This could be achieved by replacing maximum distribution margins by fixed margins. Also, Poland may wish to raise reference prices as a temporary measure to boost market entry for medicine classes with few generic medicines.
PMCID: PMC2765743  PMID: 19839067
23.  Internationally trained pharmacists in Great Britain: what do registration data tell us about their recruitment? 
Internationally trained health professionals are an important part of the domestic workforce, but little is known about pharmacists who come to work in Great Britain. Recent changes in the registration routes onto the Register of Pharmacists of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain may have affected entries from overseas: reciprocal arrangements for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand ended in June 2006; 10 new states joined the European Union in 2004 and a further two in 2007, allowing straightforward registration.
The aims of the paper are to extend our knowledge about the extent to which Great Britain is relying on the contribution of internationally trained pharmacists and to explore their routes of entry and demographic characteristics and compare them to those of pharmacists trained in Great Britain.
The August 2007 Register of Pharmacists provided the main data for analysis. Register extracts between 2002 and 2005 were also explored, allowing longitudinal comparison, and work pattern data from the 2005 Pharmacist Workforce Census were included.
In 2007, internationally trained pharmacists represented 8.8% of the 43 262 registered pharmacists domiciled in Great Britain. The majority (40.6%) had joined the Register from Europe; 33.6% and 25.8% joined via adjudication and reciprocal arrangements. Until this entry route ended for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand in 2006, annual numbers of reciprocal pharmacists increased. European pharmacists are younger (mean age 31.7) than reciprocal (40.0) or adjudication pharmacists (43.0), and the percentage of women among European-trained pharmacists is much higher (68%) when compared with British-trained pharmacists (56%). While only 7.1% of pharmacists registered in Great Britain have a London address, this proportion is much higher for European (13.9%), adjudication (19.5%) and reciprocal pharmacists (28.9%). The latter are more likely to work in hospitals than in community pharmacies, and all groups of internationally trained pharmacist are more likely to work full-time than British-trained ones. Adjudication pharmacists appear to stay on the Register longer than their reciprocal and European colleagues.
Analysis of the Register of Pharmacists provides novel insights into the origins, composition and destinations of internationally trained pharmacists. They represent a notable proportion of the Register, indicating that British employers are relying on their contribution for the delivery of pharmacy services. With the increasing mobility of health care professionals across geographical borders, it will be important to undertake primary research to gain a better understanding of the expectations, plans and experiences of pharmacists entering from outside Great Britain.
PMCID: PMC2714492  PMID: 19555489
24.  Nonprescription Drug Therapy: Issues and Opportunities 
Nonprescription drug therapy is tightly woven into the fabric of American health care. Market forces are expected to contribute to significant expansion of nonprescription drug use. Consumers place high value on nonprescription drug therapy; however, self-medicating patients frequently need assistance from a learned intermediary to assure optimal integration of nonprescription drug therapy into the total care regimen. Pharmacist-assisted self-care holds vast potential to serve the public interest, but this expanded practice role will require higher levels of professional practice commitment by American pharmacy. That commitment must be supported by practice-relevant, competency-based, patient-centered college and school of pharmacy curricula and continuing education that assures perpetual intellectual proficiency in nonprescription drug pharmacotherapy. That knowledge and competency must be integrated holistically into the total mix of patient comorbidity and polypharmacy. The pharmacist-assisted self-care business and professional practice model must be further facilitated by state and national pharmacy organizations, chain and independent community pharmacy, pharmacy wholesalers, and others. Consumers await expanded and differentiated pharmacy-based, pharmacist-provided medication therapy management services focused on the safe, appropriate, and effective selection, use, and monitoring of nonprescription drugs therapy.
PMCID: PMC1803691  PMID: 17332863
self-care; nonprescription medication; curriculum
25.  Usage trends for memory and vitality-enhancing medicines: A pharmacoepidemiological study involving pharmacists of the Gujarat region 
The aim of the study was to explore the trends and rationale of use of memory and vitality-enhancing medicines (MVEM) in the Gujarat region.
Materials and Methods:
A prospective pharmacoepidemiological study involving pharmacists of Gujarat region was carried out in the year 2005. Pharmacists (n = 351) working in general and Ayurvedic medical stores were selected from 12 districts of Gujarat region. The pharmacists were explained about the objective of the study and were given a pretested, validated questionnaire.
Outcome Measures:
The questionnaire included the questions regarding herbal MVEM used most commonly, percentage sale of herbal MVEM – sold with or without prescriptions – age group of patients and professional groups who used these drugs most commonly.
The number of individuals using MVEM was highest in the age group of 11–20 years (17.54%), followed by the 21–40 years group (17.12%), supporting the results that the professional group of students (17.29%) and the persons of business or service class (15.29%) are the highest users of these medicines. Evaluation of various constituents in the marketed polyherbal MVEM revealed that Brahmi (Bacopa monniera), Shankhpushpi (Evolvulus alsinoides), Ashwangandha (Withania somnifera), Jatamansi (Nardostychos jatamansi), Vacha (Acorus calamus) and Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) were the common ingredients in the polyherbal preparations.
This study highlights commonly used Ayurvedic medicines that can be explored for safely enhancing memory and vitality performance. Hence, detailed and scientifically designed research on these drugs would help to identify safe and effective drugs for enhancing the same.
PMCID: PMC2996570  PMID: 21170204
Memory-enhancing medicines; polyherbal formulations; use of herbal medicines; vitality-enhancing medicines

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