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Swiss initiative:
a more active role for pharmacists

The involvement of pharmacists in good drug use in Swiss institutions for the elderly shows that spending on medicines can be reduced without diminishing the quality of care.

One residential home for the elderly in Switzerland saw an increase of more than 25% in its drug spending between 1998 and 2001, without a corresponding increase in its financial resources.

Pharmacists got involved in developing a new treatment management system for this type of institution. Through local collaboration between doctors, pharmacists, nurses and residential home managers, it was possible to introduce a more rational use of drugs.

Between 2001 and 2006, annual spending per resident in these institutions was reduced by more than 16%, whereas the forecast increase was almost 61%. These savings are the result of consensus on the most efficient treatments, improved internal logistical organisation, and coordinated purchasing negotiations with pharmaceutical companies.

This reduction in spending, which involved all the healthcare professionals, was achieved while maintaining the quality of care, without a rise in the number of hospitalisations or mortality.

This initiative underlines the role that pharmacists can play in promoting good management and good use of drugs.

©Prescrire March 2009

Source: "Assistance pharmaceutique dans les établissements médicosociaux en Suisse" Rev Prescrire 2009; 29 (304): 146-147.

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