To describe the organization and delivery of community pharmacy and medical care, as well as pharmaceutical care practice and research, in Sweden.
The Swedish retail pharmacy system of 800 community pharmacies and nearly 80 hospital pharmacies is unique in that it is organized into one single, government-owned chain, known as Apoteket AB. The pharmacy staff consists of pharmacists, prescriptionists, and pharmacy technicians. Some activities related to pharmaceutical care have been directed toward specific patient groups during annual theme campaigns. In the past few years, there has been a growing emphasis on the identification, resolution, and documentation of drug-related problems (DRPs) in Swedish pharmacy practice. A classification system for documenting DRPs and pharmacy interventions was developed in 1995 and incorporated into the software of all community pharmacies in 2001. A national DRP database (SWE-DRP) was established in 2004 to collect and analyze DRPs and interventions on a nationwide basis. Recently, a new counseling technique composed of key questions to facilitate the detection of DRPs has been tested successfully. Patient medication profiles are kept in 160 pharmacies, and a new national register of drugs dispensed to patients became available in 2006. Most pharmaceutical care studies in Sweden have focused on DRPs and resulting pharmacy interventions.
Swedish community pharmacy DRP work is in the international forefront but there is a potential for further developing cognitive services, given the beneficial organization of the country's pharmacies into one single pharmacy chain. The introduction of patient medication profiles has been both late and slow and has only had a marginal effect on pharmaceutical care practice so far. The universities do not appear to have any desire to influence the practice of pharmacy and could potentially take on a more active role in preparing pharmacy students for patient-oriented services. Current threats to pharmaceutical care practice and research include organizational changes, budget cuts, and reduced manpower of Apoteket AB.
The identification, resolution, and documentation of DRPs are central to community pharmacy practice in Sweden, resulting in a number of research studies. A national DRP database, patient medication profiles, and a new national register of drugs dispensed to patients provide opportunities for growth in pharmaceutical care practice and research in the country.