To develop and test the long-term feasibility of an interdisciplinary independent drug information service providing both written and oral drug information to physicians in an urban area of Sweden (> 400,000 inhabitants).
A drug information service was developed encouraging a cooperative approach between a department of clinical pharmacology, general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, and Drug and Therapeutic Committees. Scientifically-based drug information was condensed and interpreted by a team and presented in both written and oral form. In one part of the area, both oral and written information was provided, while in another part of the area, only written information was distributed. Questionnaires and one prescription survey were performed to elucidate the knowledge and attitudes of the GPs regarding drug treatment of one condition (urinary tract infection, UTI, and norfloxacin were used as examples), as well as their opinion of our services.
Over a period of 10 years, 75 issues of a drug bulletin (2000 copies) were distributed. Oral producer-independent drug information, provided jointly by a GP and a pharmacist, was given on 16 occasions in each of 30 health centres (150 GPs). Around 80% of the GPs participated in the meetings. Of these GPs, 75% found the service important for their daily work. A majority of the GPs had prescribed the test drug, norfloxacin, not a first-line drug according to local recommendations, 1 year after approval. A significantly lower proportion of prescribers were observed in the area where the GPs had been provided with both written and oral information regarding recommended treatment (including first-line drugs) for uncomplicated cystitis. The approximate cost for this service in 1995 was SEK 0.685 million (USD 0.1 million); the prescribing costs of the 150 GPs were estimated at SEK 255 million per year. This means that the cost of the service per GP is only around 0.3% of normal prescribing costs.
Over a period of 10 years the information/education method described here has proven sustainable and feasible in terms of providing the information, regarding participation of the target group GPs in the oral sessions, and regarding integration of the service into the existing health care system.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality of the clinical pharmacy service in a Swedish hospital according to the Lund Integrated Medicine Management (LIMM) model, in terms of the acceptance and clinical significance of the recommendations made by clinical pharmacists.
The clinical significance of the recommendations made by clinical pharmacists was assessed for a random sample of inpatients receiving the clinical pharmacy service in 2007. Two independent physicians retrospectively ranked the recommendations emerging from errors in the patients' current medication list and actual drug-related problems according to Hatoum, with rankings ranging between 1 (adverse significance) and 6 (extremely significant).
The random sample comprised 132 patients (out of 800 receiving the service). The clinical significance of 197 recommendations was assessed. The physicians accepted and implemented 178 (90%) of the clinical pharmacists' recommendations. Most of these recommendations, 170 (83%), were ranked 3 (somewhat significant) or higher.
This study provides further evidence of the quality of the LIMM model and confirms that the inclusion of clinical pharmacists in a multi-professional team can improve drug therapy for inpatients. The very high level of acceptance by the physicians of the pharmacists' recommendations further demonstrates the effectiveness of the process.
The HIV epidemic in Russia is concentrated among injection drug users (IDUs). This is especially true for St. Petersburg where high HIV incidence persists among the city's estimated 80,000 IDUs. Although sterile syringes are legally available, access for IDUs may be hampered. To explore the feasibility of using pharmacies to expand syringe access and provide other prevention services to IDUs, we investigated the current access to sterile syringes at the pharmacies and the correlation between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence in St. Petersburg.
965 pharmacies citywide were mapped, classified by ownership type, and the association between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence at the district level was tested. We selected two districts among the 18 districts--one central and one peripheral--that represented two major types of city districts and contacted all operating pharmacies by phone to inquire if they stocked syringes and obtained details about their stock. Qualitative interviews with 26 IDUs provided data regarding syringe access in pharmacies and were used to formulate hypotheses for the pharmacy syringe purchase test wherein research staff attempted to purchase syringes in all pharmacies in the two districts.
No correlation was found between the density of pharmacies and HIV prevalence at the district level. Of 108 operating pharmacies, 38 (35%) did not sell syringes of the types used by IDUs; of these, half stocked but refused to sell syringes to research staff, and the other half did not stock syringes at all. Overall 70 (65%) of the pharmacies did sell syringes; of these, 49 pharmacies sold single syringes without any restrictions and 21 offered packages of ten.
Trainings for pharmacists need to be conducted to reduce negative attitudes towards IDUs and increase pharmacists' willingness to sell syringes. At a structural level, access to safe injection supplies for IDUs could be increased by including syringes in the federal list of mandatory medical products sold by pharmacies.
To adapt a US Institute for Safe Medication Practices' Medication Safety Self Assessment (MSSA) tool to, and test its usefulness in, Finnish community pharmacies.
A three-round Delphi survey was used to adapt self-assessment characteristics of the US MSSA tool to Finnish requirements, and to obtain a consensus on the feasibility and significance of these characteristics in assessing the safety of medication practices in community pharmacies. The Delphi modified self-assessment tool was piloted in 18 community pharmacies in order to refine the tool, using a questionnaire containing structured and open-ended questions.
A total of 211 self-assessment characteristics were accepted to the self-assessment tool for pilot use by expert panellists in the Delphi rounds. Most pilot users considered the tool as useful in: identifying medication safety targets for development; medication safety assessment; and identifying the strengths of medication safety. The substance of the self-assessment tool was considered as comprehensive and essential for medication safety. Most criticism was regarding: the multiplicity of self-assessment characteristics; interpretation of some characteristics; and that all the characteristics were not yet available. After the modification, according to the pilot users' comments, the final Finnish tool consisted of 230 medication safety characteristics.
The study indicated the feasibility of adapting a US medication safety self-assessment tool for use in community pharmacy practice in Finland. More efforts should be made to familiarise Finnish community pharmacists with the self-assessment tool and its benefits, and get them to use the tool as part of their long-term quality improvement.
Guidelines suggest that clinicians should provide their patients with antiretroviral adherence support, but there is uncertainty about the types of adherence support clinicians think are important, the methods they use to provide adherence support, and the barriers they face in providing such support in clinical practice.
To study clinician perspectives on the importance of different antiretroviral adherence support activities and compare these with clinicians' self-reported actual adherence support practices.
From March to August 2005, surveys were mailed to physicians, pharmacists, and nurses who provide care to HIV patients in Ontario, Canada. The 84-item survey asked providers to rate how necessary it was to provide 30 types of adherence support activities and how frequently they actually provided each of the types of adherence support. From this, we assessed healthcare provider perceptions of best or ideal practices in supporting medication adherence and actual or usual care in adherence support provision. We also examined whether an adherence support gap existed between the provision of best practice adherence support and actual adherence support in clinical practice.
One hundred sixty-nine of 300 mailed surveys were returned, for a response rate of 56%. Respondents were highly specialized in HIV care and nearly all practiced in urban settings. Respondents indicated that most of the surveyed adherence support activities should be provided to all patients. However, most clinicians did not actually provide these adherence supports to their patients to the extent that they desired. We calculated an adherence support gap that ranged from 31% to 75% across the different types of adherence support activities.
We observed important adherence support gaps between ideal best practices in the provision of adherence support and actual provision of adherence support in clinical practice.
MEDITrust, a major mail-order pharmacy, promises low drug prices and dispensing fees for people who order drugs via mail. Its arrival has created some strong opposition in Quebec. The Canadian Pharmaceutical Association says the arrival of mail-order companies may give community pharmacists an opportunity to promote the benefits of face-to-face contact with pharmacists. The CMA's Dr. Anne Carter says there will always be a need for community pharmacists, who can provide drugs on short notice and provide personal counselling for patients.