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Flaws revealed in medication reviews by pharmacists

Pharmacists fail to identify two-thirds of problems when conducting medication reviews, research suggests

An in-depth investigation into CHD reviews carried out as part of the community pharmacy medicines management project also uncovered wide variation in the completeness of reviews that could not be explained by level of training.

Where recommendations were made, they were almost always appropriate but there was a lack of consistency, the research found.

The findings come as a further blow to the project after initial results published earlier this year reported no significant benefits of medicines use reviews (MURs) for quality of life, cost of medicines, health service use or appropriateness of prescribing.

Professor Janet Krska, study leader and professor of pharmacy practice at Liverpool John Moores' University, said the research suggested the full potential of the scheme was not being realised. ‘We found community pharmacists weren't taking the opportunity to identify all the possible issues that could have been identified,' she said.

She added that the idea had not been well received among some GPs and that it could be that pharmacists were instinctively avoiding some issues.

‘PCTs should all be trying to evaluate MUR services as well as the experience of patients and medical practices and there is not a lot of that going on,' she said.

The study of 60 community pharmacists was published online by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

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