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UK wants pharmacists to support better use of drugs

Lord Howe says current procedures are flawed and community pharmacy can help
lord howe health minister uk

Lord Howe

Health minister Lord Howe wants the NHS to make better use of medicines on the NHS claiming that evidence suggests current procedures are flawed.

The Conservative minister issued the call at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, where he asked pharmacists to support patients in achieving medicines optimisation.

“We need to optimise the use of medicines,” said Lord Howe. “This means the right patient getting the right medicine at the right dose at the right time in the right place. This can have a positive and life changing benefit for patients.”

Lord Howe pointed out several areas where use of medicines is below expectations and where community pharmacists can help.

This includes avoiding unnecessary medicines, reducing wastage, improving safety, making the patients the involved in their treatment and ensuring the use of new medicines.

“Pharmacists are sometimes accused of being a bit overzealous and blocking or slowing the use of new innovative medicines. If that is happening then it has to stop. We all need to move to outcome and value driven medicines optimisation.

Lord Howe acknowledged the work that pharmacists are doing towards driving medicines optimisation in the UK, including the launch of NHS England's dashboard to bring together medicines use data in place and the recent Now or Never report published by the RPS.

There is scope for pharmacists working in primary care to do more, however, according to the health minister especially with the continuing struggle to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

“We need to extend the lessons learnt in hospitals to primary care. The case for medicines optimisation is compelling but it will only take route if all the healthcare professionals are behind.

He continued: “Pharmacists are needed to persuade, to champion, to demonstrate and disseminate just what a difference medicines optimisation can make to improving health and care serves and improving outcomes.”

Lord Howe's comments were applauded by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) whose CEO Stephen Whitehead said: “We warmly welcome the acknowledgement from Earl Howe that medicines play a vital contribution to the health and wellbeing of UK patients."

Whitehead also commented on the industry's work to improve medicines optimisation.

“The ABPI and NHS England are working closely together to improve the environment to ensure better access to appropriate innovative medicines for patients and to help address prescribing variations across the country,” he said.

“This will include ensuring clinicians are better supported in the medicines optimisation process and removing unnecessary barriers so they can focus on the priority of making sure patients get the right medicine at the right time.”

Article by
Thomas Meek

10th September 2014

From: Sales, Healthcare

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