Pharmaceutical care

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The most well-known definition for pharmaceutical care came from Doug Hepler and Linda Strand in their article ‘Opportunities and responsibilities in pharmaceutical care’ from 1990. This was a landmark paper because it marked the start of the international movement to make pharmaceutical care more visible, and get the term and the type of care implemented in hospital and community pharmacy practice. During the following years both authors worked to make the concept applicable in practice. The definition reads: ‘Pharmaceutical care is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve the patients’ quality of life’.[1]

Another definition reads: Pharmaceutical care is the direct or indirect responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving the elimination or reduction of a patient's symptoms; arresting or slowing of a disease process; or preventing a disease.

In 2013, a European organization, the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE), created a new definition that could satisfy experts from a multitude of countries. After a review of existing definitions, a number of options were presented to the participants and in a one-day meeting consensus on a definition was reached.

Pharmaceutical Care is the pharmacist’s contribution to the care of individuals in order to optimize medicines use and improve health outcomes’.

The ultimate goal of pharmaceutical care (optimize medicines use and improving health outcomes) exists in all practice settings and in all cultures where medicines are used. It involves two major functions: identifying potential and manifest problems in the pharmacotherapy (DRPs), and then resolving the problems and preventing the potential problems from becoming real for the patient and his therapy outcomes. This should preferably be done together with other health care professionals and the patient through a review of the medication (and diseases) and subsequent counselling and discussions

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