In the current climate of budgetary restraint in the health care system, cost effectiveness is a concept which surfaces with increasing frequency, especially in reference to health care services funded by government. Since significant elements of pharmacy services in Canada are thus funded (including in most provinces, hospital pharmacy services, and prescription drug plans for senior citizens), it is important that pharmacy "tune into" the concept, and recognize it as an essential criterion to be met in the maintenance of existing services and in the development of new services. Prerequisite to a consideration of cost effectiveness is, of course, consideration of effectiveness; and a statement about the effectiveness; and a statement about the effectiveness of a service implies a potential for measurement of effect or outcome. In the 1980s, as pharmacy focuses its efforts on patients rather than products, that effect must surely be defined in "people" terms. One of the important dimensions of today's patient-focussed pharmacy services is patient counselling, more broadly, patient education.
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 various countries of Europe have similar conditions of access to contraceptive methods. In eastern Europe, however, the supply of contraceptive pills, coils, spermicidal products, and condoms is less than the demand (except for Hungary and the Czech and Slovak republics), particularly in Poland, in the former Soviet Union, and in Romania. Sweden and Turkey have authorized midwives to prescribe contraceptive pills or to insert coils. In Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and in the former Soviet Union, the dispensing of pills without prescription is tolerated. Spermicidal products can generally be dispensed in pharmacies without a prescription. Condoms are sold even in Ireland. France dose not allow the advertising of contraceptives in nonmedical journals, while Denmark encourages such advertising. Today a number of European countries regulate contraceptive surgery. In Finland, a minimum of 3 children is the prerequisite and age conditions are set (over 18 years in Turkey, over 25 years in Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden, over 30 years in Finland, and over 35 years in Croatia and Slovenia). Sterilization for contraceptive purposes constitutes a statutory offense of mutilation in France, Ireland, Austria, Greece, Malta, and Poland. Sterilization is carried out in Spain and Italy, less so in Ireland and Malta, and there is slow progress in this regard in Belgium and France. Voluntary sterilization is legally allowed in Hungary and Romania, practiced on a small scale in Albania, and prohibited in Bulgaria. The Netherlands has the highest number of couples protected by sterilization. Most often the public family planning services are integrated in other services, such as community clinics, hospitals, and pre- and postnatal clinics. In Europe as compared with the developing countries, a very large number of private practitioners have the responsibility of informing and prescribing.
Access to new therapies in hospitals depends upon both clinical trial evidence and local Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) committee approval. The process of formulary evaluation by P&T committees is not well-understood.
To describe the formulary decision-making process in Canadian hospitals for cardiovascular medications recently made available on the Canadian market.
Postal survey of hospital pharmacy directors in all Canadian hospitals with more than 50 beds. Target drugs included abciximab, enoxaparin, dalteparin, clopidogrel, eptifibatide and tirofiban.
Of 428 surveys mailed, responses were received from 164 P&T committees representing 350 hospitals for an effective response rate of 82%. While physicians make up the largest proportion of committee membership, pharmacists play an influential role. Information most commonly cited as influencing formulary decisions included published clinical trials (97%), regional guidelines (90%), pharmacoeconomic data (84%), decisions at peer hospitals (73%) and local opinion leaders (60%). However, this information was often not required on formulary applications. Approval timelines varied widely for target medications but there were no regional, hospital or P&T committee characteristics that were independent predictors of early formulary application or approval.
There is wide variability in the time taken for Canadian institutions to adopt new cardiovascular therapies, which is not explained by regional, hospital or P&T committee characteristics. Standardization of the formulary application and evaluation processes, including sharing of information amongst institutions, would lead to broader understanding of the applicable issues, more objectivity and improved efficiency.
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.
We report findings from a multi-method study investigating drug injectors' access to needles and syringes in three large Russian cities (Moscow, Volgograd, Barnaul).
We undertook 209 qualitative interviews among drug injectors, and supplemented these with baseline data from a community-recruited survey of 1473 drug injectors.
Almost all (93%; 1277) injectors used pharmacies as their main source of clean injecting equipment, and only 7% (105) reported ever having had contact with city syringe exchange projects. Good access to syringes has coincided with the expansion of private pharmacies. Key factors contributing to pharmacy access included: geographic proximity; low cost; and the restrictive policies of exchange instituted at local syringe exchanges. A fear of police interference surrounded the use of pharmacies and syringe exchanges, and fed a reluctance to carry used needles and syringes, which in turn acted as a disincentive to syringe exchange attendance. The perceived benefits of syringe exchanges over pharmacies included the additional health services on offer and the social support provided, but these benefits were over-shadowed by disadvantages. Multivariable analyses of survey data in two cities show no differences on account of risk behaviour among injectors sourcing equipment from pharmacies compared to syringe exchanges.
HIV prevention coverage indicators need to include measures of pharmacy-based syringe distribution and not only measures of syringe exchange coverage. There is an urgent need to pilot pharmacy-based distribution and exchange projects in Russia as well as other forms of secondary syringe distribution. Alongside expanding the reach of dedicated syringe exchange projects, pharmacy-based syringe distribution, and exchange, may help improve coverage of cost effective HIV prevention measures targeting drug injectors.