- Correspondence to Richard Price;
- Received 9 April 2013
- Accepted 9 April 2013
99% of hospital pharmacists experience medicines shortages in past year
21 February 2013
The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has published headline results of a recent survey that reveals 99% of responding hospital pharmacists (HP) say they have experienced difficulties with medicines shortages in the past year.
With over 300 respondents from 27 countries, the survey also uncovered that 63% of HP report medicines shortages to be a weekly, sometimes daily, occurrence. 77% of the pharmacists consider that the problem has become worse in the last year.
Announcing the results at an event in the European Parliament on access to medicines EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini said:
These headline results confirm what I have increasingly heard from our members across Europe: that the shortages problem is
widespread, doesn't respect national borders, and urgently requires attention if patient care and health services are not
Managing shortages and trying to source supply distracts pharmacists from other core tasks, places burden on support staff
and can increase stress and workload in the pharmacy environment with consequent impacts on the risk of error. Substitution
of medicines in case of shortage of formulary drugs can also confuse doctors and nurses, further raising risks to patient
I want to take this opportunity at the European Parliament to call on all partners to work together in identifying and enacting
solutions. This includes industry and supply chain actors, regulatory authorities, and all health professions involved in
medicines. I also believe there is a role for the European Commission in bringing Governments and others together on this
Survey shows more to do to achieve interprofessional collaboration
11 March 2013
The results of a Pan-European survey of community and hospital pharmacists have revealed that there is still much to be done in order to achieve the vision of good inter-sector and inter-professional collaboration in the care of patients, particularly in relation to the management of changes made to a patient's medication.
Europharm Forum and EAHP conducted a 2-month survey of pharmacist practitioners from across Europe in the community and hospital sector. The survey focused on issues of communication between sectors and professionals and achieved over 500 responses from 35 countries. The headline results reveal:
50% of responding community pharmacists indicated that they considered there to be no existing professional relationship between themselves and colleagues in the hospital sector;
Yet, 75% of respondents believed that communication between pharmacists in the hospital and community sectors is essential or important to patient care (eg, in relation to communicating medication changes);
71% of respondents considered that patients were not adequately counselled about their medications on discharge from hospital;
the three main cited barriers to communication between hospital and community sectors were, in order, lack of electronic information sharing systems; lack of time; and not considered a core part of current practice.
Commenting on the results, Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the EAHP said:
These results indicate again the timeliness of the theme of the EAHP Congress, ‘Improving patient outcomes: a shared responsibility’.
Study after study has revealed the value to improving outcomes from medication when professionals communicate well with each
other and pharmacists become part of an integrated multi-disciplinary team, contributing the full value of their knowledge
about medications and medication use. Yet our survey reveals there is still much to be done to turn the vision into reality.
In an era when the spotlight on health spending efficacy shines brighter than ever, integrating the pharmacist into processes
to ensure adequate medication reconciliation and counselling can no longer be seen as optional. It is a necessity for better
care and better outcomes, especially so as we embark on the collective challenge of an ageing population.
Dr Dick Tromp, President of Europharm Forum said:
I find grounds for optimism that community pharmacists and hospital pharmacists have responded in similar ways to our survey
on inter-sector communication. It shows that there indeed is a basis for collaboration. We share the same professionalism
and concern for the patients and this is very promising for the future. However unfortunately the survey did not provide positive
surprises in the sense that it confirmed suspicions about poor or non-existing relationships between pharmacists across sectors.
Europharm Forum intend to work further with the EAHP to find solutions in this area and we are very pleased that so many respondents
showed interest and left their contact information to assist further research.
This will certainly lead to a next phase where best practices will be used for further development of pharmaceutical care.
From other studies we know that the quality of care for patients moving between the various sectors of care need much attention
and improvement. Hospital pharmacists and community pharmacists belong to the same family, so it should not be too complicated.
Europe cannot be complacent about the tuberculosis challenge
22 March 2013
Speaking in advance of World Tuberculosis (TB) day (24 March), Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the EAHP, has warned European healthcare system managers and policy makers to take proactive measures now to meet the growing problem of multidrug-Resistant TB and the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB.
Dr Frontini highlighted five measures currently available to policy makers to make a meaningful contribution to meeting the TB challenge:
ensure hospital pharmacists, the secondary care sector's experts in medicines, are involved in medicines counselling for TB patients starting new courses of treatment in order to improve adherence;
expand the role of hospital pharmacists in therapeutic drug monitoring for patients with drug-resistant TB on long-term courses of treatment;
concentrate efforts on improving the systems for communication between hospital and community-based healthcare professionals to deliver integrated and joined up care for TB patients;
give hospital pharmacists a leading role in antimicrobial stewardship to help prevent further resistance to existing antibiotic treatments; and
redouble attention on the provision of fresh incentives for the development of new antibiotic treatments for the treatment of TB.
Dr Frontini said:
The evidence is stark. There are over 380,000 reported new cases of TB in Europe each year, and the growing problem of multidrug
resistant TB is exacerbated by people not continuing their treatment for the full six months.
World TB Day is a time to pause and reconsider the policy options. It is clear to me that hospital pharmacy has a leadership
role in improving the capacity of European health systems in meeting the TB challenge. I therefore urge system designers to
be mindful of the hospital pharmacy resource and work with the profession in expanding core roles such as medicines counselling,
therapeutic drug monitoring and antimicrobial stewardship.
By ensuring all professions are able to maximise the contribution of their expertise, we can reverse some of the concerning
trends in the area of tuberculosis.
EAHP launch search for good practice initiatives
05 April 2013
The EAHP has launched a search for examples of successful initiatives to improve hospital pharmacy practice from across Europe.
The exercise is part of a project led by the EAHP Scientific Committee to build an inventory map of good practice initiatives that can provide practical support and inspiration for HP in every country to embark on fresh improvement projects of their own, especially in an era of constrained budgets in the health service.
Launching the exercise, Prof. Dr Cees Neef, Chairman of the EAHP Scientific Committee, said:
As EAHP reviewed the results of the 2010 survey of hospital pharmacy practice in Europe, and reflected on our mission of ensuring
the continuous improvement of care and outcomes for patients in the hospital setting, it became clear that we should aim to
develop new tools, of a very tangible nature, to encourage ongoing development of hospital pharmacy services in every country
By creating a European map of completed service development initiatives, we believe we can go some way to inspiring the next
generation of innovation and improvement in hospital pharmacy across the continent.
We hope all hospital pharmacies that have implemented change and improvement in the past ten years will give consideration
to making a short submission for inclusion and help to build an open and accessible database of lasting value in terms of
both developing new services, and enhancing the quality and safety of existing services.
More information about the exercise, including the portal for making submissions, is available on the EAHP website http://www.eahp.eu
The EAHP requested that initial submissions be made no later than Friday 6 June 2013.
All examples of good practice initiatives submitted will be considered for inclusion in the inventory map. However, some category areas the HP may wish to consider are:
clinical pharmacy and other HP role development;
clinical trials and research;
communication and leadership;
education and training;
interprofessional and intersector collaboration;
procurement, logistics and distribution;
resource management; and use of technology.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.