Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

sections

Bad Pharma: pharmacists’ role

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

The pharmaceutical industry createsproducts that help people live longer and better lives. So why is it hated? How have the companies it compromises destroyedthe goodwill?

Ben Goldacre explains in his book‘Bad Pharma'. He sits you on hisgrandfatherly lap and tells you tales about the big, bad pharmaceutical world. His arguments are supported by high-quality evidencewhere available. You'd expect nothingless from Goldacre.

I won't cover old ground, withthe content of the book already discussed in a review. What I find interesting is how littlepharmacists are mentioned. The onlymention we get is in relation to pharmacists sharing confidential informationabout patients on certain drugs with reps. Goldacre suggests there should be a law to stop this, but I think italready exists as the Data Protection Act.

The products of thepharmaceutical industry are our forte. We have intimate knowledge of, and keep up-to-date with, the everchanging evidence base for drugs. We aretrained how to critically appraise evidence. We are placed at the critical juncture betweenprescriber and patient, between treatment decision and treatment enactment.

These qualities put pharmacists inan excellent position to challenge inappropriate prescribing. I mean going beyond a clinical check wherethe primary aim is to confirm treatment isn't immediately dangerous. Checks should also include whether prescribingfollows clinical guidelines, is supported by the evidence base and hasn't been unjustifiablyinfluenced by the drug rep that has been in the area.

I know it's not easy. The lack of access to patient records, the everincreasing dispensing workload and the fact that GPs hold the veto all posesignificant challenges. At least we canposition ourselves as willing to take on the role. Perhaps the role could be formalised in a futurepharmacy contract.

The effort is worth it. As Goldacre frequently reminds readers, the consequenceof bad prescribing is ultimately harm to patients.

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

From: Tomorrow's pharmacist blog

Students and preregistration trainees voice their opinions here

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.