European drug information centres ‐ survey of activities
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A questionnaire survey of European drug information centres (DICs) was conducted. DICs mentioned in the ESCP directories and other sources were identified and contacted. Information on basic characteristics was obtained: affiliation, the scope of activities, employees, question‐answer service characteristics, information sources and the economic aspects of the DICs' work. Information from 84 DICs was analysed (return rate = 71.3%). DICs are mainly affiliated to hospitals (68%), rather rarely with faculties of pharmacy (6%) or with faculties of medicine (8.3%). Activities of DICs mainly include: question‐answer service (98%), issue of bulletins (68%), participation in P&T committees (63%), tuition (61%) and drug‐use evaluation (52%). Pharmacists, 1‐2 full‐ or part‐time, are the most frequent employees working in the DICs. When the question‐answer service was analysed, it was found that 56% of the DICs are open only to the health‐care professionals and 43% provide a service to the lay public. Questions are mainly concerned with the side effects, indication/therapeutic use and the dosage of the drugs. The majority of DICs (91%) document their activities, very often on a computer database. Quality assurance is provided by almost 75% of DICs, usually by a review (58 %) or a feed‐back questionnaire (32%). Information sources listed as most frequently used include Martindale ‐ The Extrapharmacopeia, journals such as Lancet, Medline and Micromedex databases. DICs are usually financially supported by the organizations to whom they are affiliated. Fees are charged, for special activities, by 9.5% of DICs.
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