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1.  Societal perspectives on community pharmacy services in West Bank - Palestine 
Pharmacy Practice  2012;10(1):17-24.
Background
Understanding the public's view of professional competency is extremely important; however little has been reported on the public's perception of community pharmacists in Palestine
Objective
To determine the perception of Palestinian consumers of the community pharmacist and the services they offer.
Methods
This project used the survey methodology administered by structured interviews to consumers who attended the 39 randomly selected pharmacies, in six main cities in Palestine. The questionnaire had range of structured questions covering: Consumers' patronage patterns, consumers’ interaction with community pharmacists, consumers’ views on how the pharmacist dealt with personal health issues, procedure with regard to handling private consultations.
Results
Of 1,017 consumers approached, 790 consumers completed the questionnaire (77.7 %). Proximity to home and presence of knowledgeable pharmacist were the main reasons for patients to visit the same pharmacy. Physicians were identified as the preferred source of advice by 57.2% and pharmacists by 23.8%. Only 17% of respondents considered pharmacists as health professionals who know a lot about drugs and are concerned about and committed to caring for the public. In addition, 49% indicated that pharmacists spoke more quietly cross the counter during counseling and almost one third reported that the pharmacist used a private area within the pharmacy. The majority of respondents would be happy to receive different extended services in the community pharmacy like blood pressure monitoring.
Conclusions
Palestinian consumers have a positive overall perception of community pharmacists and the services they offer. Awareness should be created amongst the public about the role of pharmacist and the added value they can provide as health care professional. There is a need to consider privacy when giving patient counseling to increase user satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC3798164  PMID: 24155812
Patient Satisfaction; Pharmacists; Professional Role; Middle East
2.  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
3.  An exploratory study on medications in Qatar homes 
Background
Drug therapy is the most often used intervention for treatment and prevention of disease. However, if used inappropriately, drugs can cause more harm than good. Improper drug storage and disposal can have a direct impact on public safety, the environment, and the health care services. The purpose of this study was to characterize medications stored in Qatar homes and to explore their methods of storage and disposal, and to identify the public’s source of information related to medicines.
Methods
For the purpose of this cross-sectional exploratory study, a list of telephone numbers was generated from Qatar’s telephone directory using a systematic sampling method. Individuals consenting to participate were interviewed using a multipart pretested survey instrument.
Results
Data were collected from a total of 49 homes. Most respondents did not have a designated compartment or box specifically for storing medications. The majority of drugs (48%) were kept in bedrooms and a number of respondents were keeping their drugs in the fridge and in the kitchen. The most often stored classes of medicines were analgesics, antihistamines, nutritional supplements, and medications used for the respiratory system. Most respondents disposed of unwanted medicines by throwing them in the trash. In about 15% of cases, the dosage of drug taken was different from the instructions on the label. Sharing of prescription medicines was not uncommon. The majority of respondents sought information related to drugs from doctors.
Conclusion
These findings raise concerns about how medications are stored and disposed of in the community. The fact that no household routinely returned unwanted medications to a pharmacy for proper disposal places the environment at risk. There is a need for more societal awareness about the safe handling and storage of drugs in the home, and about the professional role of the pharmacist.
doi:10.2147/DHPS.S25372
PMCID: PMC3264424  PMID: 22279414
medication; home; Qatar; storage; disposal
4.  Patient attitudes regarding the role of the pharmacist and interest in expanded pharmacist services 
Canadian Pharmacists Journal : CPJ  2014;147(4):239-247.
Background:
Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals, and research shows high levels of satisfaction with pharmacist services. Studies have also shown that the public is generally unaware of the full range of roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist. The purpose of this study was to explore the public’s knowledge and attitudes regarding the role of the community pharmacist and to determine their likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services.
Methods:
Adults across Newfoundland and Labrador were surveyed by telephone. Survey questions addressed how frequently participants visited the pharmacy, understanding of duties undertaken by pharmacists, perceptions and attitudes regarding pharmacists as health care professionals, likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services and participant demographics. Comparisons were made between responses from urban and rural participants and frequent versus nonfrequent pharmacy users, to determine if there were any differences.
Results:
The majority of participants were generally aware of what pharmacists do when filling prescriptions; those who visited the pharmacy more frequently appeared to be more informed. Participants indicated they would take advantage of the expanded services suggested, with greatest interest in receiving advice for minor ailment management and prescription refills from pharmacists. Results support the prevailing view that pharmacists are trusted health professionals who should have access to patients’ health information to provide best care.
Conclusion:
The public is aware of aspects of the pharmacist’s role, but opportunities exist to better educate the public on the knowledge, skills and unique professional abilities of pharmacists to support uptake of expanded pharmacist services.
doi:10.1177/1715163514535731
PMCID: PMC4212442  PMID: 25360150
5.  Physician perceptions of pharmacist roles in a primary care setting in Qatar 
Purpose
Pharmacists are uniquely trained to provide guidance to patients in the selection of appropriate non-prescription therapy. Physicians in Qatar may not always recognize how pharmacists function in assuring safe medication use. Both these health professional groups come from heterogeneous training and experiences before migrating to the country and these backgrounds could influence collaborative patient care. Qatar Petroleum (QP), the largest private employer in the country, has developed a pharmacist-guided medication consulting service at their primary care clinics, but physician comfort with pharmacists recommending drug therapy is currently unknown. The objective of this study is to characterize physician perceptions of pharmacists and their roles in a primary care patient setting in Qatar.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was developed following a comprehensive literature review and administered in English and Arabic. Consenting QP physicians were asked questions to assess experiences, comfort and expectations of pharmacist roles and abilities to provide medication-related advice and recommend and monitor therapies.
Results
The median age of the 62 (77.5%) physicians who responded was between 40 and 50 years old and almost two-third were men (64.5%). Fourteen different nationalities were represented. Physicians were more comfortable with pharmacist activities closely linked to drug products than responsibilities associated with monitoring and optimization of patient outcomes. Medication education (96.6%) and drug knowledge (90%) were practically unanimously recognized as abilities expected of pharmacists, but consultative roles, such as assisting in drug regimen design were less acknowledged. They proposed pharmacist spend more time with physicians attending joint meetings or education events to help advance acceptance of pharmacists in patient-centered care at this site.
Conclusions
Physicians had low comfort and expectations of patient-oriented pharmacist roles but were not threatened to learn more about these capabilities or explore enhanced collaboration in patient care.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-12
PMCID: PMC3475112  PMID: 22650614
Physician; Perceptions; Pharmacists; Qatar
6.  Ideal and actual involvement of community pharmacists in health promotion and prevention: a cross-sectional study in Quebec, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:192.
Background
An increased interest is observed in broadening community pharmacists' role in public health. To date, little information has been gathered in Canada on community pharmacists' perceptions of their role in health promotion and prevention; however, such data are essential to the development of public-health programs in community pharmacy. A cross-sectional study was therefore conducted to explore the perceptions of community pharmacists in urban and semi-urban areas regarding their ideal and actual levels of involvement in providing health-promotion and prevention services and the barriers to such involvement.
Methods
Using a five-step modified Dillman's tailored design method, a questionnaire with 28 multiple-choice or open-ended questions (11 pages plus a cover letter) was mailed to a random sample of 1,250 pharmacists out of 1,887 community pharmacists practicing in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) and surrounding areas. It included questions on pharmacists' ideal level of involvement in providing health-promotion and preventive services; which services were actually offered in their pharmacy, the employees involved, the frequency, and duration of the services; the barriers to the provision of these services in community pharmacy; their opinion regarding the most appropriate health professionals to provide them; and the characteristics of pharmacists, pharmacies and their clientele.
Results
In all, 571 out of 1,234 (46.3%) eligible community pharmacists completed and returned the questionnaire. Most believed they should be very involved in health promotion and prevention, particularly in smoking cessation (84.3%); screening for hypertension (81.8%), diabetes (76.0%) and dyslipidemia (56.9%); and sexual health (61.7% to 89.1%); however, fewer respondents reported actually being very involved in providing such services (5.7% [lifestyle, including smoking cessation], 44.5%, 34.8%, 6.5% and 19.3%, respectively). The main barriers to the provision of these services in current practice were lack of: time (86.1%), coordination with other health care professionals (61.1%), staff or resources (57.2%), financial compensation (50.8%), and clinical tools (45.5%).
Conclusions
Although community pharmacists think they should play a significant role in health promotion and prevention, they recognize a wide gap between their ideal and actual levels of involvement. The efficient integration of primary-care pharmacists and pharmacies into public health cannot be envisioned without addressing important organizational barriers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-192
PMCID: PMC3342160  PMID: 22420693
Community pharmacists; Cross-sectional study; Health promotion; Prevention; Public health
7.  Patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong: A focus group study from different healthcare professionals' perspectives 
Background
Patient self-management is a key approach to manage non-communicable diseases. A pharmacist-led approach in patient self-management means collaborative care between pharmacists and patients. However, the development of both patient self-management and role of pharmacists is limited in Hong Kong. The objectives of this study are to understand the perspectives of physicians, pharmacists, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, and dispensers on self-management of patients with chronic conditions, in addition to exploring the possibilities of developing pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong.
Methods
Participants were invited through the University as well as professional networks. Fifty-one participants comprised of physicians, pharmacists, TCM practitioners and dispensers participated in homogenous focus group discussions. Perspectives in patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management were discussed. The discussions were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed accordingly.
Results
The majority of the participants were in support of patients with stable chronic diseases engaging in self-management. Medication compliance, monitoring of disease parameters and complications, lifestyle modification and identifying situations to seek help from health professionals were generally agreed to be covered in patient self-management. All pharmacists believed that they had extended roles in addition to drug management but the other three professionals believed that pharmacists were drug experts only and could only play an assisting role. Physicians, TCM practitioners, and dispensers were concerned that pharmacist-led patient self-management could be hindered, due to unfamiliarity with the pharmacy profession, the perception of insufficient training in disease management, and lack of trust of patients.
Conclusions
An effective chronic disease management model should involve patients in stable condition to participate in self-management in order to prevent health deterioration and to save healthcare costs. The role of pharmacists should not be limited to drugs and should be extended in the primary healthcare system. Pharmacist-led patient self-management could be developed gradually with the support of government by enhancing pharmacists' responsibilities in health services and developing public-private partnership with community pharmacists. Developing facilitating measures to enhance the implementation of the pharmacist-led approach should also be considered, such as allowing pharmacists to access electronic health records, as well as deregulation of more prescription-only medicines to pharmacy-only medicines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-121
PMCID: PMC3127980  PMID: 21609422
patient self-management; pharmacist-led patient self-management; chronic disease; health policy; Hong Kong
8.  Improving pharmacy practice through public health programs: experience from Global HIV/AIDS initiative Nigeria project 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:525.
Background
The use of medicines is an essential component of many public health programs (PHPs). Medicines are important not only for their capacity to treat and prevent diseases. The public confidence in healthcare system is inevitably linked to their confidence in the availability of safe and effective medicines and the measures for ensuring their rational use. However, pharmacy services component receives little or no attention in most public health programs in developing countries. This article describes the strategies, lessons learnt, and some accomplishments of Howard University Pharmacists and Continuing Education (HU-PACE) Centre towards improving hospital pharmacy practice through PHP in Nigeria.
Method
In a cross-sectional survey, 60 hospital pharmacies were randomly selected from 184 GHAIN-supported health facilities. The assessment was conducted at baseline and repeated after at least 12 months post-intervention using a study-specific instrument. Interventions included engagement of stakeholders; provision of standards for infrastructural upgrade; development of curricula and modules for training of pharmacy personnel; provision of job aids and tools amongst others. A follow-up hands-on skill enhancement based on identified gaps was conducted. Chi-square was used for inferential statistics. All reported p-values were 2-tailed at 95% confidence interval.
Results
The mean duration of service provision at post-intervention assessment was 24.39 (95% CI, 21.70–27.08) months. About 16.7% of pharmacies reported been trained in HIV care at pre-intervention compared to 83.3% at post-intervention. The proportion of pharmacies with audio-visual privacy for patient counseling increased significantly from 30.9% at pre-intervention to 81.4% at post-intervention. Filled prescriptions were cross-checked by pharmacist (61.9%) and pharmacy technician (23.8%) before dispensing at pre-intervention compared to pharmacist (93.1%) and pharmacy technician (6.9%) at post intervention. 40.0% of pharmacies reported tracking consumption of drugs at pre-intervention compared to 98.3% at post-intervention; while 81.7% of pharmacies reported performing periodic stock reconciliation at pre-intervention compared to 100.0% at post-intervention. 36.5% of pharmacies were observed providing individual counseling on medication use to patients at pre-intervention compared to 73.2% at post-intervention; and 11.7% of pharmacies had evidence of monitoring and reporting of suspected adverse drug reaction at pre-intervention compared to 73.3% at post-intervention. The institution of access to patients’ clinical information by pharmacists in all pharmacies at post-intervention was a paradigm shift.
Conclusion
Through public health program, HU-PACE created an enabling environment and improved capacity of pharmacy personnel for quality HIV/AIDS and TB services. This has contributed in diverse ways to better monitoring of patients on pharmacotherapy by pharmacists through access of pharmacists to patients’ clinical information.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-525
PMCID: PMC3824707  PMID: 24255831
Pharmaceutical care; HIV/AIDS; Public health programs; Patients; Nigeria
9.  Public health in community pharmacy: A systematic review of pharmacist and consumer views 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:582.
Background
The increasing involvement of pharmacists in public health will require changes in the behaviour of both pharmacists and the general public. A great deal of research has shown that attitudes and beliefs are important determinants of behaviour. This review aims to examine the beliefs and attitudes of pharmacists and consumers towards pharmaceutical public health in order to inform how best to support and improve this service.
Methods
Five electronic databases were searched for articles published in English between 2001 and 2010. Titles and abstracts were screened by one researcher according to the inclusion criteria. Papers were included if they assessed pharmacy staff or consumer attitudes towards pharmaceutical public health. Full papers identified for inclusion were assessed by a second researcher and data were extracted by one researcher.
Results
From the 5628 papers identified, 63 studies in 67 papers were included. Pharmacy staff: Most pharmacists viewed public health services as important and part of their role but secondary to medicine related roles. Pharmacists' confidence in providing public health services was on the whole average to low. Time was consistently identified as a barrier to providing public health services. Lack of an adequate counselling space, lack of demand and expectation of a negative reaction from customers were also reported by some pharmacists as barriers. A need for further training was identified in relation to a number of public health services. Consumers: Most pharmacy users had never been offered public health services by their pharmacist and did not expect to be offered. Consumers viewed pharmacists as appropriate providers of public health advice but had mixed views on the pharmacists' ability to do this. Satisfaction was found to be high in those that had experienced pharmaceutical public health
Conclusions
There has been little change in customer and pharmacist attitudes since reviews conducted nearly 10 years previously. In order to improve the public health services provided in community pharmacy, training must aim to increase pharmacists' confidence in providing these services. Confident, well trained pharmacists should be able to offer public health service more proactively which is likely to have a positive impact on customer attitudes and health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-582
PMCID: PMC3146877  PMID: 21777456
10.  Community pharmacist perception and attitude toward ethical issues at community pharmacy setting in central Saudi Arabia 
Objective
The purpose of this study is to identify the community pharmacist perceptions and attitudes toward ethical issues at community pharmacy setting in Saudi Arabia.
Method
A cross-sectional, descriptive, and qualitative survey of community pharmacists was conducted and the survey questions were pre-tested by a pharmacist with extensive experience in ethical issues. Based on the result of a pilot study the questionnaire was used with some modifications and the final questionnaire was sent to the participants by handing over in person, mail or Email.
Results
45.7% Often discuss ethical issues with their patients, while only 2.1% never discuss it. 40.6% often record the ethical concern whereas only 1.9% of them never do so. 31.5% reported that patients initiate ethical issues.
Discussion
28.3% of the pharmacists initiate the discussion. The barriers that limit discussing ethical issues with their patients were lack of time due to other obligations assigned to the community pharmacist (69.2%), lack of reliable resources (10.7%), not interested in the subject (10.1%), lack of knowledge on ethical issues (4.8%), and other reasons (5.3%). Recourses are books (37.7%), internet web sites (31.1%), and brochures (26.8%). Only a minority of respondents had access to computer databases (15.8%) and other resources (1.3%). Most perceived ethical problems were: being asked for hormonal contraception, dispensing a drug for unreported indication (69.2%), dispensing dose of medicine for a child that is outside the SNF limits (68.9%), unwanted professional behavior about controlled drugs (66.6%), a colleague insisting on unethical behavior (65.0%), a colleague has done something unethical for the first time (64.7%), suspecting that a child is being abused (63.3%) prescribing on private scripts for suspected medications of possible abuse (60.7%) and terminally ill patient asks for a diagnosis or prognosis (52.9%).
Conclusion
The findings of this study assured the need of Saudi health authorities to implement a code of ethics for pharmacy practicing to cover all aspects of ethical issues.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2013.08.003
PMCID: PMC4142367  PMID: 25161375
Ethical; Issues; Pharmacy; Saudi Arabia; Attitude; Perception
11.  Availability and needs of herbal medicinal information resources at community pharmacy, Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia 
A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia was conducted over a period of 6 months from July through December 2011. Data collection was carried out using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The survey questionnaire consisted of a brief introduction to the study and eleven questions. The questions consisted of close ended, multiple-choice, and fill-in short answers. A stratified random sample of one thousand and seven hundred registered pharmacy practitioners all over Saudi Arabia were randomly chosen to respond to the survey. The data from each of the returned questionnaire were coded and entered into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) which was used for statistical analysis. Only one thousand four hundred one pharmacists responded to the survey (response rate is 82.4%) with a completely answered questionnaire. The study results show that 59.7% of the participants sometimes discuss herbal medicine use with their patients, while only 4.25% never discuss it. The study shows 48.5% of participated pharmacists record herbal medicine use sometimes where only 9.4% of them never did so. However, with regard to initiation of the discussion, the study shows that 44.3% of the respondents reported that patients initiate herbal issue discussion while 20.8% reported that pharmacists initiate the discussion. This discussion was reported to be a one time discussion or an ongoing discussion by 14.3% or 9.9% of the respondents respectively. According to the study results, respondents reported that the most common barriers that limit discussing herbal medicines’ use with their patients were lack of time due to other obligations assigned to the community pharmacist (46%), lack of reliable resources (30.3%), lack of scientific evidence that support herbal medicine use (15.2%), or lack of knowledge of herbal medicines (13.4%). Yet, a small number of respondents was concerned about interest in herbal medicines (9.1%) and other reasons (2.4%). So it is urgent to ensure that pharmacists are appropriately educated and trained. Extra efforts are needed to increase the awareness of pharmacists to adverse drug reactions reporting system at Saudi Food and Drug Authority. Finally, more consideration to herbal issues should be addressed in both pharmacy colleges’ curricula and continuous education program..
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.11.004
PMCID: PMC3824944  PMID: 24227954
Recourse; Medicinal; Herbal; Availability
12.  The future of pharmaceutical care in France: a survey of final-year pharmacy students' opinions 
Background
In the last decades, the provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists has developed in OECD countries. These developments involved significant changes in professional practices and organization of primary care. In France, they have recently been encouraged by a new legal framework and favored by an increasing demand for health care (increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases) and reductions in services being offered (reduction in the number of general practitioners and huge regional disparities).
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate final-year pharmacy students' opinions on 1/expanding the scope of pharmacists' practices and 2/the potential barriers for the implementation of pharmaceutical care. We discussed these in the light of the experiences of pharmacists in Quebec, and other countries in Europe (United Kingdom and the Netherlands).
Methods
All final-year students in pharmaceutical studies, preparing to become community pharmacists, at the University Paris-Descartes in Paris during 2010 (n = 146) were recruited. All of them were interviewed by means of a questionnaire describing nine "professional" practices by pharmacists, arranged in four dimensions: (1) screening and chronic disease management, (2) medication surveillance, (3) pharmacy-prescribed medication and (4) participation in health care networks. Respondents were asked (1) how positively they view the extension of their current practices, using a 5 point Likert scale and (2) their perception of potential professional, technical, organizational and/or financial obstacles to developing these practices.
Results
143 (97.9%) students completed the questionnaire. Most of practices studied received a greater than 80% approval rating, although only a third of respondents were in favor of the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The most significant perceived barriers were working time, remuneration and organizational problems, specifically the need to create a physical location for consultations to respect patients' privacy within a pharmacy.
Conclusions
Despite remaining barriers to cross, this study showed that future French pharmacists were keen to develop their role in patient care, beyond the traditional role of dispensing. However, the willingness of doctors and patients to consent should be investigated and also rigorous studies to support or refute the positive impact of pharmaceutical care on the quality of care should be carried out.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-6
PMCID: PMC3115856  PMID: 21612642
13.  Pharmacists’ knowledge and attitudes about natural health products: a mixed-methods study 
Objectives
To explore knowledge and attitude of pharmacists in Qatar towards natural health products (NHPs).
Methods
The quantitative component of this study consisted of an anonymous, online, self-administered questionnaire to assess knowledge about NHPs among pharmacists in Qatar. Descriptive statistics and inferential analysis were conducted using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS®). Means and standard deviation were used to analyze descriptive data, and statistical significance was expressed as P-value, where P≤0.05 was considered statistically significant. Associations between variables were measured using Pearson correlation. The qualitative component utilized focus group (FG) meetings with a purposive sample of community pharmacists. Meetings were conducted until a point of saturation was reached. FG discussions were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using a framework approach to sort the data according to emerging themes.
Results
The majority of participants had average to poor knowledge about NHPs while only around 7% had good knowledge. In the FG meetings, participants considered the media, medical representatives, and old systems of natural health as major source of their knowledge. They criticized undergraduate pharmacy courses (for inadequately preparing pharmacists to deal with NHPs) and the pharmacy regulations (for being irrelevant). A perception of NHPs as being “safe” still exists among pharmacists.
Conclusions
Pharmacists’ ability to provide effective services associated with NHPs is limited by poor access to evidence-based information and poor knowledge. A perception of NHPs and CAM as ‘safe’ still exists among pharmacists, and regulations related to NHPs require addressing to follow best practice and ensure patient safety.
doi:10.2147/DHPS.S57756
PMCID: PMC3912048  PMID: 24501547
Qatar; focus group; complimentary alternative medicine
14.  Willingness to pay for a pharmacist’s dispensing service: a cross-sectional pilot study in the state of Penang, Malaysia 
Pharmacy Practice  2010;8(2):116-121.
Objective
The aim of this pilot study was to assess the value of the dispensing service of pharmacists from the general public’s perspective using the contingent valuation technique in the State of Penang, Malaysia.
Methods
Participants were conveniently sampled from malls and were given a self-completed questionnaire that collected the patient’s demographic information and their knowledge about the pharmacist’s dispensing service. They were then presented with a description of the pharmacist’s dispensing service, the risk of medication errors in prescriptions and their consequences, and the risk reduction of medication errors associated with pharmacist intervention. The willingness to pay (WTP) of the participants was later assessed using a contingent valuation interview that asked the likelihood and maximum amount they were willing to pay.
Results
In the study, 100 people participated, and 57% were aged between 18 and 35 years. Of these participants, 51% were women, and 46% of them earned more than 1000 MYR (285.71USD) per month. In addition, 8% of the participants had never visited a community pharmacy. Finally, 67% of the participants were willing to pay for the pharmacists’ dispensing service, and the median amount that the participants were willing to pay was 10 MYR (2.86USD). The WTP amount was moderately correlated with their knowledge of the community pharmacist’s dispensing services (r=0.377, p=0.02).
Conclusion
Generally, the public valued the pharmacist’s dispensing service. Their acceptance can be further improved by educating the public on the role of the pharmacist.
PMCID: PMC4133065  PMID: 25132879
Fees; Pharmaceutical; Community Pharmacy Services; Malaysia
15.  A qualitative study exploring the impact and consequence of the medicines use review service on pharmacy support-staff 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(2):118-124.
Background
Pharmacy support-staff (pharmacy technicians, dispensers and Medicines Counter Assistants) support the delivery of pharmaceutical and retail functions of the pharmacy. Workflow is supervised and at times dependent upon the pharmacist’s presence. Policy makers and pharmacy’s representative bodies are seeking to extend the community pharmacist's role including requiring the pharmacist to undertake private consultations away from the dispensary and shop floor areas. However, support-staff voices are seldom heard and little is known about the impact such policies have on them.
Objective
The objective of this study is to explore the impact and consequences of the English Medicine Use Review (MUR) service on pharmacy support-staff.
Methods
Ten weeks of ethnographic-oriented observations in two English community pharmacies and interviews with 5 pharmacists and 12 support-staff. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Despite viewing MURs as a worthwhile activity, interviews with support-staff revealed that some felt frustrated when they were left to explain to patients why the pharmacist was not available when carrying out an MUR. Dependency on the pharmacist to complete professional and accuracy checks on prescriptions grieved dispensing staff because dispensing workflow was disrupted and they could not get their work done. Medicines Counter Assistants were observed to have less dependency when selling medicines but some still reported concerns over of customers and patients waiting for the pharmacist. A range of tacit and ad hoc strategies were consequently found to be deployed to handle situations when the pharmacist was absent performing an MUR.
Conclusions
Consideration should be given to support-staff and pharmacists’ existing work obligations when developing new pharmacy extended roles that require private consultations with patients. Understanding organisational culture and providing adequate resourcing for new services are needed to avoid improvisations or enactments by pharmacy support-staff and to allow successful innovation and policy implementation.
PMCID: PMC3798177  PMID: 24155859
Pharmacists' Aides; Pharmacists; Workflow; Community Pharmacy Services; Drug Utilization Review; Professional Practice; United Kingdom
16.  Smoking cessation in community pharmacy practice–a clinical information needs analysis 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:449.
Background
With the emerging role of pharmacists in implementing smoking cessation services and the recent evidence about smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, a needs analysis to assess baseline knowledge about current smoking cessation practice is needed; hence, training and development in this area can target possible ‘gaps’.
Objective
This study aimed at exploring pharmacy students’ knowledge about and attitudes toward smoking cessation, as compared to practicing community pharmacists and smoking cessation educators. The overall objective was to uncover underlying ‘gaps’ in pharmacy-based smoking cessation practice, particularly clinical gaps.
Setting
Final-year pharmacy students at the University of Sydney, practicing community pharmacists and smoking cessation educators in Australia.
Method
As no previous standard pharmacist-focused smoking cessation knowledge questionnaires exist, a review of the literature informed the development of such a questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to a cohort of fourth-year pharmacy students at the University of Sydney, practicing pharmacists and smoking cessation educators. Data analysis was performed using Predictive Analytics SoftWare (PASW® Statistics 18). Mean total scores, independent t-tests, analysis of variances and exploratory factor analysis were performed.
Main outcome measure
To determine areas of major clinical deficits about current evidence related to smoking cessation interventions at the pharmacy level.
Results
Responses from 250 students, 51 pharmacists and 20 educators were obtained. Smoking educators scored significantly higher than pharmacists and students (P < .05), while score differences in the latter two groups were not statistically significant (P > .05). All groups scored high on ‘general’ knowledge questions as compared to specialised pharmacologic and pharmacotherapeutic questions. All respondents demonstrated positive attitudes toward the implications of smoking cessation. Factor analysis of the 24-item knowledge section extracted 12 items loading on 5 factors accounting for 53% of the total variance.
Conclusions
The results provide a valid indication of ‘gaps’ in the practice of up-to-date smoking cessation services among Australian pharmacy professionals, particularly in clinical expertise areas involving assessment of nicotine dependence and indications, dosages, adverse effects, contraindications, drug interactions and combinations of available pharmacotherapies. These gaps should be addressed, and the results should inform the design, implementation and evaluation of a pharmacy-based educational training program targeting current clinical issues in smoking cessation.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-449
PMCID: PMC3777019  PMID: 24058894
Attitudes; Knowledge; Pharmacy; Questionnaire; Smoking cessation
17.  Pharmacy practice and its challenges in Yemen 
Background
Pharmacy practice in Yemen was established in 1875 in Aden.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2014.1890
PMCID: PMC3920470  PMID: 24567762
Pharmacy practice; workforce; satisfaction; challenges; recommendations and Yemen
18.  Medicines use reviews: a potential resource or lost opportunity for general practice? 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:57.
Background
Patient non-adherence to medicines represents a significant waste of health resource and lost opportunity for health gain. Medicine management services are a key health policy strategy to encourage patients to take medicines as they are prescribed. One such service is the English Medicines Use Review (MUR) which is an NHS-funded community pharmacy service involving a patient-pharmacist consultation aiming to improve patients’ knowledge of medicines and their use. To date the evidence for MURs to improve patient health outcomes is equivocal and GPs are reported to be sceptical about the value of the service. This paper presents the patient’s perspective of the MUR service and focuses on the importance of GP-pharmacist collaboration for patient care. Suggestions on how MURs may have value to GPs through the delivery of increased patient benefit are discussed.
Method
A qualitative study involving ten weeks of ethnographic observations in two English community pharmacies. Observations were made of all pharmacy activities including patient-pharmacist MUR consultations. Subsequent interviews with these patients were conducted to explore their experience of the service. Interviews with the pharmacy staff were conducted after the period of observations. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Fifty-four patients agreed to have their MUR observed of which thirty-four were interviewed. Seventeen pharmacy staff were also interviewed. Patients reported positive views about MURs. However, there was little evidence suggesting that pharmacists and GPs were working collaboratively or communicating outcomes resulting from MURs. MURs were conducted in isolation from other aspects of patient care. Patients considered GPs to have authority over medicines making a few wary that MURs had the potential to cause tensions between these professionals and possibly adversely affect their own relationship with their doctor.
Conclusions
This study reveals the potential for effective GP-pharmacist collaboration to improve the capacity of the MUR service to support patient medicine taking. Closer collaboration between GPs and pharmacists could potentially improve patients’ use of medicines and associated health care outcomes. The current lack of such collaboration constitutes a missed opportunity for pharmacists and GPs to work together with patients to improve effective prescribing and optimise patient use of medicines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-57
PMCID: PMC3651305  PMID: 23647874
Adherence; Community pharmacy; Cooperative behaviour; General practitioners; Medicines Use Reviews; Patients; Pharmacists
19.  Pharmacy students’ attitudes toward pharmaceutical care in Qatar 
Objectives
The study objectives were to investigate Qatar pharmacy students’ attitudes toward pharmaceutical care (PC), to identify the factors that influence their attitudes, and to recognize their perceived barriers for PC provision.
Methods
A cross-sectional and online survey of Qatar pharmacy students was conducted.
Results
Over 4 weeks, 46 surveys were submitted (88% response rate). All respondents agreed that the pharmacist’s primary responsibility is to prevent and resolve medication therapy problems. Most respondents believed that PC provision is professionally rewarding and that all pharmacists should provide PC (93% and 91% of respondents, respectively). Highly perceived barriers for PC provision included lack of access to patient information (76%), inadequate drug information sources (55%), and time constraints (53%). Professional year and practical experience duration were inversely significantly associated with four and five statements, respectively, out of the 13 Standard Pharmaceutical Care Attitudes Survey statements, including the statements related to the value of PC, and its benefit in improving patient health and pharmacy practitioners’ careers.
Conclusion
Qatar pharmacy students had positive attitudes toward PC. Efforts should be exerted to overcome their perceived barriers.
doi:10.2147/TCRM.S56982
PMCID: PMC3938321  PMID: 24591836
Qatar; pharmaceutical care; pharmacy; student
20.  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.
Objective
To assess community pharmacists’ attitudes towards their professional practice and to determine their perceived competence in various pharmaceutical activities.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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
21.  Knowledge and Attitudes of Pharmacists Regarding Oral Healthcare and Oral Hygiene Products in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Background:
To assess the knowledge and attitudes of pharmacists regarding oral healthcare and oral hygiene products in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional survey among a sample of the community pharmacies in Riyadh city was done. The survey comprised of 23 closed-ended questions divided into five basic sections.
Results:
A total of 141 pharmacists participated in this survey. About half of the respondents had not met the dentists practicing close to their pharmacies, nor were they aware of the opening times of the practice. Most of the pharmacists stocked oral health-related products, which comprised of 10-15% of their total stock. Toothpaste was the most common among the oral healthcare products stocked, followed by toothbrushes and mouth rinses. A total of 93% pharmacists expressed an interest in further developing their oral healthcare knowledge through course attendance or oral health programs. Toothache or mouth ulcers were the most common dental problem for which patients approached the pharmacists for advice. Pharmacists advised patients complaining of dental pain to consult a dentist in 43% of cases, dispensed painkiller in 44% of cases, and in 13% of cases dispensed an antibiotic.
Conclusions:
The community pharmacists in Riyadh are under-used in the promotion of oral health. There is a need for training of pharmacists and providing them with access to information on available dental service and oral health products.
PMCID: PMC4295444  PMID: 25628475
Community pharmacies; oral health advice; oral hygiene products; pharmacists
22.  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
23.  Dispensing medications without prescription at Saudi community pharmacy: Extent and perception 
Objective
To investigate the dispensing behavior of pharmacists in retail pharmacy practice and to assess their attitude toward dispensing non-OTC drugs and scrutinize the causes of their malpractice; if in fact was perceived.
Method
Between December 2010 and January 2011 retail pharmacies in Jeddah-KSA were visited randomly by a number of voluntary collaborators who played the role of asking for one or more of the following medications without providing a prescription: Co-amoxiclav (Augmentin) or Cefaclor (Ceclor), Captopril (Capoten) and Fluoxetine (Prozac).
Results
A total of 60 pharmacies were randomly included in this study; 100% of the pharmacists working were male, 96.7% of them were non-Saudis and only 2 (3.3%) were Saudis. In a total of 119 drug requests, almost all pharmacists (97.9%) handed out the antibiotic immediately, 100% dispensed captopril and 89.5% gave the antipsychotic simply by following the collaborator’s request without even asking for a doctor’s prescription. In the second part of the study (where a mini-questionnaire is administered), 85% of the pharmacists agreed to answer the mini-questionnaire, and 15% refused to participate. The highest reason given for their wrongdoing, was for that if the pharmacist did not, others – of neighboring pharmacies – would do the same, followed by that there is no available OTC list.
Conclusion
The study confirmed that pharmacists are still violating the law, which is leading to a profound malpractice in retail pharmacies around the country. Consequently, regulations should be reviewed and structured educational campaigns are a must to both pharmacists and public. The OTC list should be generated, implemented, and monitored by Saudi regulators and penalize violators.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2011.11.003
PMCID: PMC3745069  PMID: 23960815
Medications; Dispensing; Non-OTC drugs; Without prescription; Saudi Arabia; Jeddah
24.  Understanding public trust in services provided by community pharmacists relative to those provided by general practitioners: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000939.
Objectives
To apply sociological theories to understand public trust in extended services provided by community pharmacists relative to those provided by general practitioners (GPs).
Design
Qualitative study involving focus groups with members of the public.
Setting
The West of Scotland.
Participants
26 purposively sampled members of the public were involved in one of five focus groups. The groups were composed to represent known groups of users and non-users of community pharmacy, namely mothers with young children, seniors and men.
Results
Trust was seen as being crucial in healthcare settings. Focus group discussions revealed that participants were inclined to draw unfavourable comparisons between pharmacists and GPs. Importantly, participants' trust in GPs was greater than that in pharmacists. Participants considered pharmacists to be primarily involved in medicine supply, and awareness of the pharmacist's extended role was low. Participants were often reluctant to trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar services, particularly those perceived to be ‘high risk’. Numerous system-based factors were identified, which reinforce patient trust and confidence in GPs, including GP registration and appointment systems, GPs' expert/gatekeeper role and practice environments. Our data indicate that the nature and context of public interactions with GPs fostered familiarity with a specific GP or practice, which allowed interpersonal trust to develop. By contrast, participants' exposure to community pharmacists was limited. Additionally, a good understanding of the GPs' level of training and role promoted confidence.
Conclusion
Current UK initiatives, which aim to implement a range of pharmacist-led services, are undermined by lack of public trust. It seems improbable that the public will trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar services, which are perceived to be ‘high risk’, unless health systems change in a way that promotes trust in pharmacists. This may be achieved by increasing the quality and quantity of patient interactions with pharmacists and gaining GP support for extended pharmacy services.
Article summary
Article focus
Why do the public access GPs for services, which are also available in community pharmacies?
What sort of services do the public trust community pharmacists to deliver?
What factors underpin greater public trust in GP services relative to community pharmacy services?
Key messages
Public trust in GPs was greater than that in pharmacists; many were reluctant to trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar ‘high-risk’ services.
Numerous system-based factors reinforce public trust and confidence in GPs, including GP registration and appointment systems, GPs' expert/gatekeeper role and practice environments.
This study suggests that increasing the quality and quantity of patient interactions with pharmacists and gaining GP support for extended pharmacy services could build public trust.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first study to apply sociological perspectives of trust to understand public perspectives of community pharmacy.
The qualitative approach has allowed us to gather in-depth information in an under-researched area.
The study methodology limits generalisation, although theme saturation was achieved and the context of the study is explicitly defined.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000939
PMCID: PMC3358628  PMID: 22586286
25.  Patient perceptions of pharmacist roles in guiding self-medication of over-the-counter therapy in Qatar 
Background:
Self-care, including self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, facilitates the public’s increased willingness to assume greater responsibility for their own health. Direct consultation with pharmacists provides efficient professional guidance for safe and appropriate OTC use.
Objective:
The purpose of this study was to characterize patient perceptions of pharmacists and use of nonprescription therapy in an ambulatory care population in Qatar.
Methods:
Patients having prescriptions filled at one organization’s private medical clinics during two distinct two-week periods were invited to participate in a short verbal questionnaire. Awareness of pharmacist roles in guiding OTC drug selection was assessed, as were patient preferences for OTC indications. Attitudes towards pharmacist and nurse drug knowledge and comfort with direct dispensing were also evaluated.
Results:
Five hundred seventy patients participated representing 29 countries. Most respondents were men (92.1%) with mean age of 38.3 years. Almost 1 in 7 did not know medical complaints could be assessed by a pharmacist (15.3%) and 1 in 5 (21.9%) were unaware pharmacists could directly supply OTC therapy. The majority (85.3%) would be interested in this service. In general, respondents were more comfortable with medication and related advice supplied by pharmacists as opposed to nursing professionals.
Conclusion:
Patients were familiar with the roles of pharmacists as they pertain to self-medication with OTC therapy and described the desire to use such a service within this Qatar ambulatory health care setting.
PMCID: PMC2875718  PMID: 20517469
patient; self-medication; over-the-counter; pharmacist; Qatar

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