In recent years, several developed countries reported on new multidisciplinary roles of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, especially considering the former's expanding functions. This paper examines differences in pharmacists' and pharmacy assistants' professional roles and the dispensing system in Japan with those in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and the Philippines. A review of relevant literature was supplemented by interviews of dispensary staff at hospitals and community pharmacies in Malaysia and the Philippines. The UK, Philippines, and Malaysia had dispensing assistants who performed dispensing roles, while Japan did not. Although pharmacy assistants occasionally performed screening and dispensing inspections due to the lack of pharmacists, it is necessary for pharmacists participating in risk management to ensure formula optimization and monitoring. Pharmacists' contribution to medical care involves ensuring safety in drug therapy and overall medical services. Screening is the most fundamental and important function performed exclusively by pharmacists, thereby establishing their status within the medical system.
The results from past studies about the effects of second-generation e-prescribing systems on community pharmacists' outcomes and practices are inconclusive, and the claims of effectiveness and efficiency of such systems have not been supported in all studies. There is a strong need to study the factors that lead to positive outcomes for the users of these systems.
It is important to share information about other countries' pharmacists to optimize cross-border medical cooperation. This paper examines the dispensing systems and the work done by pharmacists in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Thailand, and Malaysia so as to compare these countries' medical practices and develop a cohesive vision for the future of Japanese pharmacists. All five of the countries have dispensing assistants. Pharmacists in Japan have duties of inventory control, drug dispensing, and providing medication advice. In contrast, assistants working in other countries are responsible for some aspects of dispensing and inventory control, allowing the pharmacists to spend their time and competency in instructing patients on how to take their medication. Because of this, pharmacists were actively involved with health promotion intervention in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. It is hoped that work done by Japanese pharmacists would transition from primarily dispensing drugs to patient care, advice, and counseling to enrich overall health promotion and health/nutrition counseling.
BACKGROUND: Effective communication between community pharmacists and patients, particularly with a patient-centered approach, is important to address patients' concerns relating to antidepressant medication use. However, few studies have investigated community pharmacists' communication behaviors in depression care.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize community pharmacist-patient interactions during consultations involving use of antidepressants.
METHODS: Twenty community pharmacists received 3 simulated patient visits involving issues related to the use of antidepressants: 1) patient receiving a first-time antidepressant prescription; 2) patient perceiving lack of efficacy of antidepressants after 2 weeks of treatment, and 3) patient intending to discontinue treatment prematurely. All 60 encounters were audio-recorded and analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a quantitative coding system that characterizes communication behaviors through discrete categories. A patient-centeredness score was calculated for each encounter.
RESULTS: The majority of pharmacist communication was biomedical in nature (50.7%), and focused on providing therapeutic information and advice on the antidepressant regimen. In contrast, only 5.4% of pharmacist communication was related to lifestyle/psychosocial exchanges. There were also few instances of emotional rapport-building behaviors (8.6%) or information gathering (6.6%). Patient-centered scores were highest in the scenario involving a first-time antidepressant user, as compared to other scenarios involving issues with continued therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Community pharmacists appeared to adopt a "medication-centered" approach when counseling on antidepressant issues. There is scope for improvement in patient-centered communication behaviors, particularly lifestyle/psychosocial discussions, facilitating patient participation, and emotional rapport-building. The RIAS appears suited to characterize brief consultations in community pharmacies and can provide a framework in guiding communication training efforts. Further research is needed to assess the impact of pharmacist communication behaviors on patient care outcomes.
KEYWORDS: Antidepressant adherence; Patient-centeredness; Pharmacist–patient communication; Roter Interaction Analysis System
In New Zealand, pharmacists are funded to provide adherence support to their patients via a service called "Medicines Use Review" (MUR). The service is based on the assumption that the medication regimen is clinically appropriate and therefore does not include a clinical review. However, whether or not pharmacists make clinical recommendations to patients during MUR is unclear.
Prescribing decisions are a complex phenomenon and influenced by many pharmacological and non-pharmacological factors. Little is known about the actual prescribing behaviors of physicians or the factors behind their prescribing decisions.
BACKGROUND: Treatment default among the smokers hinders the effectiveness of the delivery of cessation services. While many studies have predicted the defaulters' characteristics, the reasons why these smokers dropped out and continued smoking are seldom explored.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the barriers encountered by such smokers and their respective health care providers (HCPs) in relation to the discontinuation of cessation treatment.
METHODS: From May 2010 to March 2011, 15 current adult smokers and 9 HCPs from 2 Quit Smoking Clinics (QSCs) in the Melaka Tengah District, Malacca, Malaysia were interviewed on smoking, cessation, and the QSC. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were subsequently translated into English and analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The barriers encountered were categorized as Individual- and Clinic-level. Both smokers and HCPs acknowledged that the smokers' low intrinsic motivation was the individual-level barrier. The clinic-level barriers were the mismatched perceptions of smokers and HCPs regarding the HCPs' roles, skills, and attitudes, as well as the availability and efficacy of smoking cessation aids (SCAs). While the smokers viewed the program as not helpful, the HCPs cited the lack of organizational support as their main barrier.
CONCLUSIONS: The reasons for treatment default centered on the overall dissatisfaction with the treatment (due to the program, HCP, and SCA factors) combined with the smokers' low intrinsic motivation. Optimizing the interplay of the extrinsic motivational cues, such as the HCP and SCA factors, would complement the smoker's low intrinsic motivation and thus encourage treatment retention. However, it is necessary to strike a balance between the individual smoker's needs and the availability of organizational support.
KEYWORDS: Qualitative; Smoking cessation; Treatment discontinuation
Study site: Quite smoking clinics, Klinik Kesihatan Ayer Keroh, Hospital Melaka, Melaka, Malaysia
BACKGROUND: The use of generic medicines has been increasing steadily internationally, primarily because of cost concerns. Knowledge and use patterns of generic medicines in Iraq have not yet been measured.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore consumers' perception and knowledge on issues relating to generic medicine use in Basrah, Iraq.
METHODS: A qualitative approach was used to gather information from consumers in Basrah, Iraq. A purposive sample of 14 consumers in Basrah was interviewed face-to-face using a semistructured interview guide.
RESULTS: Thematic analysis of the interviews identified 5 major themes: understanding of the term "generic medicine," preference for generic medicine, refusal of generic medicine, generic substitution, and education on the use of generic medicines. Not all the consumers were familiar with the term "generic medicine;" they were familiar with the term "commercial medicine." Most of the participants understood that generics cost less compared with their branded counterparts. Most of the consumers said that their physicians and pharmacists had given them information on generics.
CONCLUSION: Knowledge of generic medicines may be lacking among consumers in Iraq. Development of consumer education on generics by health care providers is required to support the implementation of the policy on generic medicines in Iraq.