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Media Release - Trial confirms benefits of pharmacist intervention

A national trial (in Australia) has confirmed the benefits for patients when pharmacists intervene to ensure they are taking their medications appropriately.

The six month trial involving 132 pharmacies found a significant improvement in patients' compliance with the recommendations of their medication prescriber, following intervention by pharmacists.

Over 700 patients on long term medication were recruited to take part in the trial. They had a mean MedsIndex score of 65.5 (a score out of 100 calculated by the number of missed doses in a given time period). As a result of the interventions, patient compliance significantly improved to 77.2 at three-months, and 81.3 at six-months. A MedsIndex score over 80 is defined as being compliant.

Results also showed significant improvements in patients' reported confidence in using the agreed strategies to improve compliance, and beliefs about the importance of taking their medication as prescribed.

Pharmacy Guild National Councillor Toni Riley said: "These compliance interventions implemented in the community pharmacy setting led to a significant improvement in patients' medication compliance. What this shows is that the national implementation of a program based on the intervention used in this trial could result in significant improved compliance for patients on long term medication, and consequential improvements in health outcomes and reduced costs to the health system."

The recently signed Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement includes measures to encourage pharmacists to document clinical interventions.

The positive results of the trial relied on motivated community pharmacists who were appropriately trained and supported to deliver the compliance service.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Partner John Cannings said: "This research shows that a well designed and implemented program in community pharmacy can have a statistically significant improvement in medication compliance in patients."

The trial was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, as part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement research and development program. The program was funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, and administered by the Pharmacy Guild.

The findings of the trial can be viewed at: www.guild.org.au