Drugs & Aging

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 63–77 | Cite as

Improving the Well-Being of Elderly Patients via Community Pharmacy-Based Provision of Pharmaceutical Care

A Multicentre Study in Seven European Countries
  • Cecilia Bernsten
  • Ingeborg Björkman
  • Margarida Caramona
  • Grainne Crealey
  • Bente Frøkjær
  • Erika Grundberger
  • Tove Gustafsson
  • Martin Henman
  • Hanne Herborg
  • Carmel Hughes
  • James McElnay
  • Maeve Magner
  • Foppe van Mil
  • Marion Schaeffer
  • Sonia Silva
  • Birthe Søndergaard
  • Ian Sturgess
  • Dick Tromp
  • Lisa Vivero
  • Almut Winterstein
Original Research Article



This study aimed to measure the outcomes of a harmonised, structured pharmaceutical care programme provided to elderly patients (≥65 years of age) by community pharmacists in a multicentre international study performed in 7 European countries.

Design and setting

The study was a randomised, controlled, longitudinal, clinical trial with repeated measures performed over an 18-month period. A total of 104 intervention and 86 control pharmacy sites participated in the research and 1290 intervention patients and 1164 control patients were recruited into the study.

Main outcome measures and results

A general decline in health-related quality of life over time was observed in the pooled data; however, significant improvements were achieved in patients involved in the pharmaceutical care programme in some countries. Intervention patients reported better control of their medical conditions as a result of the study and cost savings associated with pharmaceutical care provision were observed in most countries. The new structured service was well accepted by intervention patients and patient satisfaction with the services improved during the study. The pharmacists involved in providing pharmaceutical care had a positive opinion on the new approach, as did the majority of general practitioners surveyed. The positive effects appear to have been achieved via social and psychosocial aspects of the intervention, such as the increased support provided by community pharmacists, rather than via biomedical mechanisms.


This study is the first large-scale, multicentre study to investigate the effects of pharmaceutical care provision by community pharmacists to elderly patients. Future research methodology and implementation will be informed by the experience gained from this challenging trial.


Intervention Patient Control Patient Community Pharmacy Community Pharmacist Pharmaceutical Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge the European Commission, under the BIOMED 2 programme for medical research, for funding the coordination of the multicentre study. The following groups are also thanked for their financial and/or logistical support in the respective countries: Northern Pharmacies Trust (Northern Ireland); Apotekerfonden of 1991, The Association of Danish Pharmacists Development Fund, Danish Pharmacy Assistants Association (Denmark); Administração Regional de Saúde do Centro, Departmento de Estudos e Planeamento da Saúde — Direccção Geral da Saúde and Instituto Nacional da Farmácia e do Medicamento, Departments of the Health Ministry (Portugal); KNMP — The Royal Dutch Association for the Advancement of Pharmacy, OPG, Brocacef and Interpharm (wholesale companies) and the Stichting Pharmaceutical Care (Pharmaceutical Care Foundation) [The Netherlands]; The Pharmacoepidemiology Fund (Republic of Ireland); Apotekerkammer Westfalen-Lippe, Arz Haan and ABDATA Eschborn (Germany); and Apoteket AB (National Pharmacy Company) and the National Board of Health and Welfare (Sweden).

Thanks are also due to all community pharmacists, other primary healthcare staff and the patients who participated in the research project in their respective countries. We would like to acknowledge the statistical support of Dr Gordon Cran and Dr Derrick Bennett.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Bernsten
    • 1
  • Ingeborg Björkman
    • 2
  • Margarida Caramona
    • 3
  • Grainne Crealey
    • 4
  • Bente Frøkjær
    • 5
  • Erika Grundberger
    • 2
  • Tove Gustafsson
    • 5
  • Martin Henman
    • 6
  • Hanne Herborg
    • 5
  • Carmel Hughes
    • 4
  • James McElnay
    • 4
  • Maeve Magner
    • 6
  • Foppe van Mil
    • 7
  • Marion Schaeffer
    • 8
  • Sonia Silva
    • 3
  • Birthe Søndergaard
    • 5
  • Ian Sturgess
    • 4
  • Dick Tromp
    • 7
  • Lisa Vivero
    • 6
  • Almut Winterstein
    • 8
  1. 1.SocialstyrelsenStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Apoteket ABSektor FarmaciStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Faculdade de Farmacia, Laboratorio de FarmacologiaUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Pharmacy Practice Research Group, The School of PharmacyThe Queen’s University of Belfast, Medical Biology CentreBelfastNorthern Ireland
  5. 5.PharmakonDanish College of Pharmacy PracticeHillerødDenmark
  6. 6.School of PharmacyTrinity CollegeDublinRepublic of Ireland
  7. 7.Subfaculteit Farmacie, Werkgroep Social Farmacie en FarmacopidemiologieRijksuniversiteit GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Fachbereich PharmazieHumboldt University BerlinBerlinGermany

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