Purpose of the study The impact of clinical pharmacy (CP) services on primary healthcare (PH) is less well studied in resource-limited countries. We aimed to evaluate the effect of selected CP services on medication safety and prescription cost at a PH setting in Sri Lanka.
Study design Patients attending a PH medical clinic with medications prescribed at the same visit were selected using systematic random sampling. A medication history was obtained and medications were reconciled and reviewed using four standard references. Drug-related problems (DRPs) were identified and categorised, and severities were assessed using the National Coordinating Council Medication Error Reporting and Prevention Index. Acceptance of DRPs by prescribers was assessed. Prescription cost reduction due to CP interventions was assessed using Wilcoxon signed-rank test at 5% significance.
Results Among 150 patients approached, 51 were recruited. Nearly half (58.8%) reported financial difficulties in purchasing medications. DRPs identified were 86. Of them, 13.9% (12 of 86) DRPs were identified when taking a medication history (administration errors (7 of 12); self-prescribing errors (5 of 12)), 2.3% (2 of 86) during reconciliation, and 83.7% (72 of 86) during medication reviewing (wrong indication (18 of 72), wrong strength (14 of 72), wrong frequency (19 of 72), wrong route of administration (2 of 72), duplication (3 of 72), other (16 of 72)). Most DRPs (55.8%) reached the patient, but did not cause harm. Prescribers accepted 65.8% (56 of 86) DRPs identified by researchers. The individual prescription cost reduced significantly due to CP interventions (p<0.001).
Conclusions Implementing CP services could potentially improve medication safety at a PH level even in resource-limited settings. Prescription cost could be significantly reduced for patients with financial difficulties in consultation with prescribers.
- primary care
- public health
- medical education & training
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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Contributors NRS and GPSGS conceived and designed the study. KBH and UAAR were involved in data collection, data analysis, interpretation and drafting the manuscript. NRS, SS and GPSGS supervised the study and revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.