Pharmacy representatives: a non-pharmacy outlet of prescribed medicines in Sweden
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Objective:To characterise patients who collect their prescribed medicines from pharmacy representatives and compare them with those using regular pharmacies.Method: Data were collected from the prescriptions delivered via pharmacy representatives and by questionnaires to the patients. Data for pharmacies were obtained from the Swedish drug statistics. The data were used to determine gender and age of the patients and the types of drugs delivered from the pharmacies and from the pharmacy representatives.Setting: Pharmacy representatives connected to 20 randomly selected pharmacies in Sweden.Key findings: Prescriptions were analysed with respect to the patients' gender, age and prescribed medicine(s). The proportion of elderly patients (≥ 75 years) was greater among users of pharmacy representatives than among pharmacy users (40% compared to 24%), but in most other respects the two patient groups were similar. Patients used pharmacy representatives because it was more convenient, and only 5% of patients using pharmacy representatives had called the pharmacy to ask how their medicine should be used. Conclusions:Patients using the pharmacy representatives may serve as reference groups in studies of the effect of pharmaceutical care interventions. Only a small number of these patients receive any advice from the pharmacists and this may have a negative effect on adherence and therapy outcome.
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