BACKGROUND: In recent decades, community pharmacies reported a change of business model, whereby a shift from traditional services to the provision of extended roles was observed. However, such delivery of extended pharmacy services (EPS) is reported from the developed world, and there is scarcity of information from the developing nations. Within this context, the present study was aimed to explore knowledge, perception and attitude of community pharmacists (CPs) about EPS and their readiness and acceptance for practice change in the city of Lahore, Pakistan.
METHODS: A qualitative approach was used to gain an in-depth knowledge of the issues. By using a semi-structured interview guide, 12 CPs practicing in the city of Lahore, Pakistan were conveniently selected. All interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and were then analyzed for thematic contents by the standard content analysis framework.
RESULTS: Thematic content analysis yielded five major themes. (1) Familiarity with EPS, (2) current practice of EPS, (3) training needed to provide EPS, (4) acceptance of EPS and (5) barriers toward EPS. Majority of the CPs were unaware of EPS and only a handful had the concept of extended services. Although majority of our study respondents were unaware of pharmaceutical care, they were ready to accept practice change if provided with the required skills and training. Lack of personal knowledge, poor public awareness, inadequate physician-pharmacist collaboration and deprived salary structures were reported as barriers towards the provision of EPS at the practice settings.
CONCLUSION: Although the study reported poor awareness towards EPS, the findings indicated a number of key themes that can be used in establishing the concept of EPS in Pakistan. Over all, CPs reported a positive attitude toward practice change provided to the support and facilitation of health and community based agencies in Pakistan.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.