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1.  The practice of OTC counseling by community pharmacists in Parana, Brazil 
Pharmacy Practice  2015;13(4):597.
Background:
In order to provide appropriate advice to the patient at the time of dispensing and over-the-counter (OTC) medication counseling, community pharmacists need access to current and reliable information about medicines. Brazilian pharmacists have assumed new functions such as prescribing medication, in a dependent model, based in protocols.
Objective:
To examine the practice of community pharmacists in a Brazilian State, focusing on OTC recommendation.
Method:
A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in a state of Brazil was conducted from October 2013 to January 2014, with data collection through a pre-piloted self-administered anonymous survey via Survey Monkey® platform. Following ethical approval, the online instrument was sent to 8,885 pharmacists registered in Parana State, Brazil, focusing on professionals working in community pharmacies. The questionnaire assessed the community pharmacy setting, the search for information, the knowledge of the evidence-based practice, the important factors to consider when recommending an OTC medicine, and the pharmacist prescribing. Responses were imported into SPSS® (version 22.0) for analysis. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the association between responses and demographic information with a significance level less than 5% (p<0.05).
Results:
Of the pharmacists, 97.4% dispensed medications and counseled patients for a median of six hours per day. Product’s efficacy (97%) and adverse effects (62.3%) were the most important factors taken into account when counseling a nonprescription medicine. Few pharmacists knew the meaning of terms related to evidence-based health. Most respondents agreed that pharmacists have the necessary training to prescribe.
Conclusion:
Over-the-counter medication counseling is a daily practice among Brazilian pharmacists. Learning needs exist for community pharmacists in relation to evidence-based practice. Thus, sources of information with good evidence could be used daily by community pharmacists, especially as regards nonprescription medication counseling.
doi:10.18549/PharmPract.2015.04.597
PMCID: PMC4696117  PMID: 26759614
Nonprescription Drugs; Professional Practice; Pharmacies; Evidence-Based Practice; Brazil
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Randomised evaluation of the Italian medicines use review provided by community pharmacists using asthma as a model (RE I-MUR) 
Background
The Italian Ministry of Health decided to introduce community professional services in 2010. This trial provides an opportunity to evaluate the outcomes of a new professional pharmacy service: Italian Medicines Use Review (I-MUR) aimed at reducing the severity of asthma and its associated costs.
Methods/Design
This is a cluster randomised controlled trial of the I-MUR service. Data will be collected over time before, during and after pharmacists’ intervention. Fifteen Italian regions will be involved and it is aimed to recruit 360 community pharmacists and 1800 patients. Each pharmacist will receive training in medicines use review, recruit five patients, administer the Asthma Control Test and provide the I-MUR service. Pharmacists will be allocated to different groups, one group will be trained in and provide the I-MUR service immediately after completion of the baseline ACT score, the other group will receive training in the I-MUR and provide this service three months later. Group allocation will be random, after stratification by region of Italy. The I-MUR service will involve gathering data following each patient consultation including demographic details, patients regular medications, including those used for asthma, their attitude towards their medications and self-reported adherence to treatments. In addition, pharmacists will identify and record pharmaceutical care issues and any advice given to patients during the I-MUR, or recommendations given to doctors. Pharmacists will upload trial data onto a web platform for analysis. The primary outcome measure is the severity of asthma before, during and after the I-MUR assessed using the Asthma Control Test score. Secondary measures: number of all active ingredients used by patients during and after the I-MUR, number of pharmaceutical care issues identified during the I-MUR, patients’ self-reported adherence to asthma medication during and after the I-MUR, healthcare costs based on the severity of asthma, before, during and after the I-MUR service provision.
Discussion
This study has been developed because of the need for a new way of working for pharmacists and pharmacies; it is the first trial of any community pharmacy-based pharmaceutical care intervention in Italy. The results will inform future policy and practice in Italian community pharmacy.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN72438848.
doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0791-6
PMCID: PMC4422306  PMID: 25896873
Asthma; Medicines use review; Cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT); Community pharmacy
6.  Health care consumers’ perspectives on pharmacist integration into private general practitioner clinics in Malaysia: a qualitative study 
Background
Pharmacists are considered medication experts but are underutilized and exist mainly at the periphery of the Malaysian primary health care team. Private general practitioners (GPs) in Malaysia are granted rights under the Poison Act 1952 to prescribe and dispense medications at their primary care clinics. As most consumers obtain their medications from their GPs, community pharmacists’ involvement in ensuring safe use of medicines is limited. The integration of a pharmacist into private GP clinics has the potential to contribute to quality use of medicines. This study aims to explore health care consumers’ views on the integration of pharmacists within private GP clinics in Malaysia.
Methods
A purposive sample of health care consumers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were invited to participate in focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Sessions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed using NVivo 10.
Results
A total of 24 health care consumers participated in two focus groups and six semi-structured interviews. Four major themes were identified: 1) pharmacists’ role viewed mainly as supplying medications, 2) readiness to accept pharmacists in private GP clinics, 3) willingness to pay for pharmacy services, and 4) concerns about GPs’ resistance to pharmacist integration. Consumers felt that a pharmacist integrated into a private GP clinic could offer potential benefits such as to provide trustworthy information on the use and potential side effects of medications and screening for medication misadventure. The potential increase in costs passed on to consumers and GPs’ reluctance were perceived as barriers to integration.
Conclusion
This study provides insights into consumers’ perspectives on the roles of pharmacists within private GP clinics in Malaysia. Consumers generally supported pharmacist integration into private primary health care clinics. However, for pharmacists to expand their capacity in providing integrated and collaborative primary care services to consumers, barriers to pharmacist integration need to be addressed.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S73953
PMCID: PMC4372008  PMID: 25834411
pharmacist integration; private clinic; general practitioners; health care consumer; Malaysia
7.  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
8.  Public perception on the role of community pharmacists in self-medication and self-care in Hong Kong 
Background
The choices for self-medication in Hong Kong are much diversified, including western and Chinese medicines and food supplements. This study was to examine Hong Kong public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding self-medication, self-care and the role of pharmacists in self-care.
Methods
A cross-sectional phone survey was conducted, inviting people aged 18 or older to complete a 37-item questionnaire that was developed based on the Thematic Household surveys in Hong Kong, findings of the health prorfessional focus group discussions on pharmacist-led patient self management and literature. Telephone numbers were randomly selected from residential phone directories. Trained interviewers invited eligible persons to participate using the "last birthday method". Associations of demographic characteristics with knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on self-medication, self-care and role of pharmacists, and spending on over-the-counter (OTC) products were analysed statistically.
Results
A total of 1, 560 phone calls were successfully made and 1, 104 respondents completed the survey which indicated a response rate of 70.8%. 63.1% had adequate knowledge on using OTC products. Those who had no formal education/had attended primary education (OR = 3.19, 95%CI 1.78-5.72; p < 0.001), had attended secondary education (OR = 1.50, 95%CI 1.03-2.19; p = 0.035), and aged ≥60 years (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.02-3.26; p = 0.042) were more likely to have inadequate knowledge on self-medication. People with chronic disease also tended to spend more than HKD100 on western (OR = 3.58, 95%CI 1.58-8.09; p = 0.002) and Chinese OTC products (OR = 2.94, 95%CI 1.08-7.95; p = 0.034). 94.6% believed that patients with chronic illnesses should self-manage their diseases. 68% agreed that they would consult a pharmacist before using OTC product but only 45% agreed that pharmacists could play a leading role in self-care. Most common reasons against pharmacist consultation on self-medication and self-care were uncertainty over the role of pharmacists and low acceptance level of pharmacists.
Conclusions
The majority of respondents supported patients with chronic illness to self-manage their diseases but less than half agreed to use a pharmacist-led approach in self-care. The government should consider developing doctors-pharmacists partnership programs in the community, enhancing the role of pharmacists in primary care and providing education to patients to improve their awareness on the role of pharmacists in self-medication and self-care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-19
PMCID: PMC3252282  PMID: 22118309
9.  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
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
10.  A scenario-planning approach to human resources for health: the case of community pharmacists in Portugal 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-12-58
PMCID: PMC4201711  PMID: 25312408
Community pharmacists; Human resources for health; Pharmaceutical services; Scenario planning; Portugal
11.  An expanded prescribing role for pharmacists - an Australian perspective 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2011;4(4):236-242.
Expanded pharmacist prescribing is a new professional practice area for pharmacists. Currently, Australian pharmacists’ prescribing role is limited to over-the-counter medications. This review aims to identify Australian studies involving the area of expanded pharmacist prescribing. Australian studies exploring the issues of pharmacist prescribing were identified and considered in the context of its implementation internationally. Australian studies have mainly focused on the attitudes of community and hospital pharmacists towards such an expansion. Studies evaluating the views of Australian consumers and pharmacy clients were also considered. The available Australian literature indicated support from pharmacists and pharmacy clients for an expanded pharmacist prescribing role, with preference for doctors retaining a primary role in diagnosis. Australian pharmacists and pharmacy client’s views were also in agreement in terms of other key issues surrounding expanded pharmacist prescribing. These included the nature of an expanded prescribing model, the need for additional training for pharmacists and the potential for pharmacy clients gaining improved medication access, which could be achieved within an expanded role that pharmacists could provide. Current evidence from studies conducted in Australia provides valuable insight to relevant policymakers on the issue of pharmacist prescribing in order to move the agenda of pharmacist prescribing forwards.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2011.694
PMCID: PMC3562903  PMID: 23393515
Pharmacist prescribing; Australia; pharmacy clients; Australian pharmacy; non-medical prescribing
12.  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
13.  Emerging roles and competencies of district and sub-district pharmacists: a case study from Cape Town 
Background
District and sub-district pharmacist positions were created during health sector reform in South Africa. High prevalence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and increasing chronic non-communicable diseases have drawn attention to their pivotal roles in improving accessibility and appropriate use of medicines at the primary level. This research describes new roles and related competencies of district and sub-district pharmacists in Cape Town.
Methods
Between 2008 and 2011, the author (HB) conducted participatory action research in Cape Town Metro District, an urban district in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, partnering with pharmacists and managers of the two government primary health care (PHC) providers. The two providers function independently delivering complementary PHC services across the entire geographic area, with one provider employing district pharmacists and the other sub-district pharmacists. After an initiation phase, the research evolved into a series of iterative cycles of action and reflection, each providing increasing understanding of district and sub-district pharmacists’ roles and competencies. Data was generated through workshops, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with pharmacists and managers which were recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was carried out iteratively during the 4-year engagement and triangulated with document reviews and published literature.
Results
Five main roles for district and sub-district pharmacists were identified: district/sub-district management; planning, co-ordination and monitoring of pharmaceuticals; information and advice; quality assurance and clinical governance; and research (district pharmacists)/dispensing at clinics (sub-district pharmacists). Although the roles looked similar, there were important differences, reflecting the differing governance and leadership models and services of each provider. Five competency clusters were identified: professional pharmacy practice; health system and public health; management; leadership; and personal, interpersonal and cognitive competencies. Whilst professional pharmacy competencies were important, generic management and leadership competencies were considered critical for pharmacists working in these positions.
Conclusions
Similar roles and competencies for district and sub-district pharmacists were identified in the two PHC providers in Cape Town, although contextual factors influenced precise specifications. These insights are important for pharmacists and managers from other districts and sub-districts in South Africa and inform health workforce planning and capacity development initiatives in countries with similar health systems.
doi:10.1186/s12960-015-0081-8
PMCID: PMC4658810  PMID: 26601807
District pharmacist; Primary health care; Roles; Competencies; Participatory action research; South Africa; Developing country
14.  Exploring self-perception of community pharmacists of their professional identity, capabilities, and role expansion 
Objective:
The principal aim of this study was to explore the self-perception of community pharmacists of their professional identity and roles and how they think patients and doctors perceive them. The study also aimed at exploring their opinions regarding role expansion and how they assess their capabilities.
Methods:
This is an exploratory study that employed qualitative method. Individual, in-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 50 community pharmacists working in Khartoum State, Sudan, from October to November 2015. Each interview was recorded, transcribed, and coded into themes. Thematic analysis was carried out.
Findings:
The study revealed nine different identities of community pharmacists including supplier of medicines, medicines maker, dispenser, patient counselor, medicines expert, clinical practitioner, health promoter, monitor of medicines use, and family practice identity. Participants described that most of the patients value their professional role while doctors perceive them as merely dispensers. Most of participants believe that they are capable to fulfill their roles; however, they identified the need for continuous education. The study revealed that community pharmacists are thirst to role expansion.
Conclusion:
The study concluded that community pharmacists are aware of the different identities of their profession. The good recognition of their role by patients reflects good service provided while lack of integrated primary health care system that join doctors and pharmacists resulted in lack of pharmacists’ recognition by doctors. Continuous educational program is needed for community pharmacists, and role expansion will allow for better self-perception and better profession contribution in healthcare.
doi:10.4103/2279-042X.179574
PMCID: PMC4843580  PMID: 27162805
Community pharmacists; professional identity; role expansion; self-perception
15.  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
16.  Health problems and help-seeking activities of methadone maintenance clients at Auckland Methadone Service (AMS): potential for community pharmacy service expansion? 
Background
In general the health of methadone clients has been found to be poorer than that of the general population. In New Zealand specialist drug services are not funded to provide primary healthcare services. Many health conditions could potentially be managed by community pharmacists who have frequent contact with this client group. This study sought to explore the health problems suffered by methadone clients, who they sought help from, and the potential for greater involvement of pharmacists.
Methods
Self-completion questionnaire of methadone maintenance clients managed in specialist care in Auckland, New Zealand.
Results
The most common health problem experienced by these clients in the past three months was sweating (70.0%), and more than half of the respondents also reported experiencing headache, fatigue and depression. The least frequently experienced conditions were hay fever (12.9%) and abscesses (12.1%). Respondents indicated that the top three choices from whom they would seek help were GP (56.7%), the client's partner (31.6%) and community pharmacists (27.9%). Barriers to seeking help from pharmacists included issues around cost, perceptions of pharmacist knowledge and skills, privacy and confidentiality.
Conclusion
Methadone clients in this study indicated that they suffered a number of general health problems, and in many cases were likely to seek help from a GP or their own partner, before seeking help from pharmacists. However, for over one quarter of respondents the pharmacist was in the top three from whom they would seek advice. Any barriers towards consulting pharmacists, in the main seem to be resolvable.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-2-25
PMCID: PMC1334178  PMID: 16283944
17.  A qualitative study of community pharmacists’ opinions on the provision of osteoporosis disease state management services in Malaysia 
Background
Osteoporosis has significant impact on healthcare costs and quality of life. Amongst the models for collaborative disease state management services published internationally, there is sparse evidence regarding the role of community pharmacists in the provision of osteoporosis care. Hence, the aim of our study was to explore community pharmacists’ opinions (including the barriers and facilitators) and scope of osteoporosis disease state management services by community pharmacists in Malaysia, informing a vision for developing these services.
Methods
Semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups discussions were conducted with community pharmacists from October 2013 to July 2014. Three trained researchers interviewed the participants. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed thematically using an interpretative description approach.
Results
Nineteen community pharmacists with 1–23 years of experience were recruited (in depth interviews: n = 9; focus group discussions: n = 10). These participants reflected on their experience with osteoporosis-related enquiries, which included medication counseling, bone density screening and referral of at-risk patients. Key barriers were the lack of numerous factors: public awareness of osteoporosis, accurate osteoporosis screening tools for community pharmacists, pharmacists’ knowledge on osteoporosis disease and medications, time to counsel patients about bone health, collaboration between pharmacists and doctors, and support from the government and professional body. The pharmacists wanted more continuing education on osteoporosis, osteoporosis awareness campaigns, a simple, unbiased osteoporosis education material, and inter-professional collaboration practices with doctors, and pharmacists’ reimbursement for osteoporosis care.
Conclusions
The involvement of community pharmacists in the provision of osteoporosis disease state management was minimal. Only ad-hoc counseling on osteoporosis prevention was performed by community pharmacists. Development and trial of collaborative osteoporosis disease state management services in community pharmacy could be facilitated by training, support and remuneration.
doi:10.1186/s12913-016-1686-x
PMCID: PMC5006277  PMID: 27577560
Community pharmacist; Disease state management services; Osteoporosis; Bone disease; Qualitative; Malaysia
18.  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
19.  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
20.  Self-medication in Poland: the pharmacist’s advisory role in Warsaw 
Background
Easy access favours the informative role that pharmacists play in Poland with regard to the proper use of medicinal products as well as preventing illness and promoting health.
Objective
The aim of the present study was to define situations in which patients ask a pharmacist for advice and to identify the most important factors that affect the patients’ decisions in seeking advice from a pharmacist.
Method
n all, 101 patients (69 women, 32 men) aged 19–67 years participated in the study. The study was conducted using a structured interview research method. Patients were asked to answer a set of closed-ended questions related to their habits regarding the purchase of medicines and the factors that affected their decision to seek the advice of a pharmacist.
Main outcome measure
Factors determining the choice to contact a pharmacy.
Results
Patients seldom asked pharmacists for advice: 77 of the patients “rarely” or “never” went to a pharmacy to consult the pharmacist. When patients did ask the pharmacist for advice, it was mainly concerning the choice of over-the-counter medicines. The most important reason for patients visiting a pharmacy for advice was the large number of pharmacies in Poland and their ease of access; the long queues of people in busy pharmacies and the lack of confidentiality in the pharmacy were considered negative factors.
Conclusion
The current advisory role of pharmacists in Poland seems of minimal importance to the public.
doi:10.1007/s11096-012-9734-z
PMCID: PMC3615165  PMID: 23225095
Counselling; Health behaviour; Over-the-counter medicines; Self-medication
21.  Over the counter drugs. The future for self medication. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;312(7034):835-837.
The increasing trend towards deregulation of more medicines to over the counter status has implications for the primary health care team as well as for consumers and patients. Better information for patients could improve the safety of over the counter medicines, but better systems need to be devised for reporting adverse reactions. "Collaborative care" could bring financial benefits. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists need to discuss how they will respond to self medication practices, and ways of rewarding pharmacists for advising patients need to be found. Improved communication between doctors and pharmacists and the involvement of nurses could bring health care professionals into a new and more constructive interaction with each other and with the patient--or the changes required could split the professions as they each try to keep control of medicines.
Images
PMCID: PMC2350729  PMID: 8608296
22.  The WHO UNESCO FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce 
Pharmacists' roles are evolving from that of compounders and dispensers of medicines to that of experts on medicines within multidisciplinary health care teams. In the developing country context, the pharmacy is often the most accessible or even the sole point of access to health care advice and services.
Because of their knowledge of medicines and clinical therapeutics, pharmacists are suitably placed for task shifting in health care and could be further trained to undertake functions such as clinical management and laboratory diagnostics. Indeed, pharmacists have been shown to be willing, competent, and cost-effective providers of what the professional literature calls "pharmaceutical care interventions"; however, internationally, there is an underuse of pharmacists for patient care and public health efforts. A coordinated and multifaceted effort to advance workforce planning, training and education is needed in order to prepare an adequate number of well-trained pharmacists for such roles.
Acknowledging that health care needs can vary across geography and culture, an international group of key stakeholders in pharmacy education and global health has reached unanimous agreement that pharmacy education must be quality-driven and directed towards societal health care needs, the services required to meet those needs, the competences necessary to provide these services and the education needed to ensure those competences. Using that framework, this commentary describes the Pharmacy Education Taskforce of the World Health Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Pharmaceutical Federation Global Pharmacy and the Education Action Plan 2008–2010, including the foundation, domains, objectives and outcome measures, and includes several examples of current activities within this scope.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-45
PMCID: PMC2697153  PMID: 19500351
23.  Perceived interprofessional barriers between community pharmacists and general practitioners: a qualitative assessment. 
BACKGROUND: There have been calls for greater collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists in primary care. AIM: To explore barriers between the two professions in relation to closer interprofessional working and the extension of prescribing rights to pharmacists. DESIGN OF STUDY: Qualitative study. SETTING: Three locality areas of a health and social services board in Northern Ireland. METHOD: GPs and community pharmacists participated in uniprofessional focus groups; data were analysed using interpretative phenomenology. RESULTS: Twenty-two GPs (distributed over five focus groups) and 31 pharmacists (distributed over six focus groups) participated in the study. The 'shopkeeper' image of community pharmacy emerged as the superordinate theme, with subthemes of access, hierarchy and awareness. The shopkeeper image and conflict between business and health care permeated the GPs' discussions and accounted for their concerns regarding the extension of prescribing rights to community pharmacists and involvement inextended services. Community pharmacists felt such views influenced their position in the hierarchy of healthcare professionals. Although GPs had little problem in accessing pharmacists, they considered that patients experienced difficulties owing to the limited opening hours of pharmacies. Conversely, pharmacists reported great difficulty in accessing GPs, largely owing to the gatekeeper role of receptionists. GPs reported being unaware of the training and activities of community pharmacists and participating pharmacists also felt that GPs had no appreciation of their role in health care. CONCLUSION: A number of important barriers between GPs and community pharmacists have been identified, which must be overcome if interprofessional liaison between the two professions is to be fully realised.
PMCID: PMC1314673  PMID: 14601335
24.  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
25.  Engaging community pharmacists in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: protocol for the Pharmacist Assessment of Adherence, Risk and Treatment in Cardiovascular Disease (PAART CVD) pilot study 
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally. Community pharmacist intervention studies have demonstrated clinical effectiveness for improving several leading individual CVD risk factors. Primary prevention strategies increasingly emphasise the need for consideration of overall cardiovascular risk and concurrent management of multiple risk factors. It is therefore important to demonstrate the feasibility of multiple risk factor management by community pharmacists to ensure continued currency of their role.
Methods/Design
This study will be a longitudinal pre- and post-test pilot study with a single cohort of up to 100 patients in ten pharmacies. Patients aged 50-74 years with no history of heart disease or diabetes, and taking antihypertensive or lipid-lowering medicines, will be approached for participation. Assessment of cardiovascular risk, medicines use and health behaviours will be undertaken by a research assistant at baseline and following the intervention (6 months). Validated interview scales will be used where available. Baseline data will be used by accredited medicines management pharmacists to generate a report for the treating community pharmacist. This report will highlight individual patients' overall CVD risk and individual risk factors, as well as identifying modifiable health behaviours for risk improvement and suggesting treatment and behavioural goals. The treating community pharmacist will use this information to finalise and implement a treatment plan in conjunction with the patient and their doctor. Community pharmacists will facilitate patient improvements in lifestyle, medicines adherence, and medicines management over the course of five counselling sessions with monthly intervals. The primary outcome will be the change to average overall cardiovascular risk, assessed using the Framingham risk equation.
Discussion
This study will assess the feasibility of implementing holistic primary CVD prevention programs into community pharmacy, one of the most accessible health services in most developed countries.
Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry Number: ACTRN12609000677202
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-264
PMCID: PMC2941496  PMID: 20819236

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