Breadth and number of community pharmacy services increasing, EU survey shows

A survey of countries in the European Union has shown that pharmacies across the continent are offering a wide range of services, such as hypertension management and home support for people living with chronic disease.

Pharmacies across Europe offer a wide range of services, including medicines disposal, medicine reviews, dossette boxes, new medicines services, measurement and testing for various conditions, and disease management, a survey of 30 European countries has found. 

In its annual report, a survey for the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) showed that pharmacies across the European Union (EU) offer far more than just the dispensing of prescribed medicines, and are improving patient care in hypertension, asthma and diabetes, as well as increasing the population’s access to health services.  

The survey also found that pharmacies were available at night and out-of-hours in 93% of countries surveyed, and in 47% of countries, pharmacies provided homecare services, such as home support for people living with chronic disease.  

Just over half of the countries who responded to the survey offered medication reviews to advise on adherence and safe, effective and rational use of medicines, and just over a quarter offered a new medicines service. 

The survey also showed that many pharmacies in Europe offered health checks with most EU countries offering blood pressure management (90%), weight measurement (90%), glucose (77%) and cholesterol (73%) testing. 

Management of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and diabetes was offered in 43% of countries, and hypertension management in 37%, the PGEU said. 

The annual report added that 58% of EU citizens can reach their nearest community pharmacy within five minutes, and 98% can reach within 30 minutes. 

Vaccination, smoking cessation, and needle exchange were also highlighted as part of the wide variety of services on offer.  

But the report warned that the coming year would hold several challenges for pharmacy — not least Brexit, which, depending on the outcome, would have implications for regulation and medicines availability as well as trade agreements and recognition of professional qualifications of pharmacists. 

Outgoing PGEU president Raj Patel said the vision for pharmacy must be to integrate and become a “key player in primary care”. 

PGEU general secretary, Jurate Svarcaite, added: “Community pharmacists improve adherence for patients initiating new therapies or continuing existing regimens, and increasingly engage in the delivery of preventive services such as immunisation and early screening. 

“It is exciting to see that the number of pharmacy services and their extent is increasing year on year, and more importantly that those services are highly valued by the patients and communities we serve.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Breadth and number of community pharmacy services increasing, EU survey shows;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204644

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