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ABPI calls for patient involvement

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has revealed details of a new report that suggests patients who ask more questions about their medicines will get the best treatment plans
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has revealed details of a new report that suggests patients who ask more questions about their medicines will get the best treatment plans.

It is hoped that the report will trigger a debate among healthcare providers and professionals on the best way to disseminate treatment information to patients. Finding the Balance, a joint report by the ABPI and Long-Term Conditions Alliance (LCTA), calls on doctors, nurses and local pharmacists to do more to raise the level of high quality information available to the public. Two suggestions put forward are the inclusion of information corners in surgeries and for pharmaceutical companies to supply product details on their websites.

"Doctors need to listen to patients," said Dr Richard Tiner, medical director at the ABPI. "While many health professionals may recognise the importance of patient involvement, time constraints mean that modern GPs often fail to priorities such discussions."

A lack of understanding can lead to people taking their medicines incorrectly, reducing their safety and efficacy. The report goes as far to say that patients who feel unable to ask their GPs question about treatments may stop using their prescriptions.

It also says that patients and carers need to ask their doctors more questions about the drugs they are being prescribed. Patients who are better informed about their treatment options and plans are more likely to experience better performance of their healthcare.

"There is no 'one size fits all' treatment for any condition. Patients need to work with the people prescribing their medication to determine which treatments will work best with their lifestyle," said Tiner. "Steps need to be taken to ensure that informed patients become a reality, embedded in the culture of medical practice."

15th May 2008

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