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Open AccessArticle

Pharmacists’ Activities to Reduce Medication Waste: An International Survey

Department of Pharmacy, Sint Maartenskliniek, 6574 NA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Division Laboratories and Pharmacy, University Medical Centre Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, 3584 CG Utrecht, The Netherlands
Department of Pharmacy, Radboud University Medical Centre, 6525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, 6229 HX Maastricht, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmacy 2018, 6(3), 94;
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medication Wastage)
Aim: To identify activities that pharmacists undertake to reduce medication waste, and to assess the extent to which these activities are implemented, their importance for waste-reduction and feasibility for broad implementation. Methods: A two-phase survey was conducted among community and hospital pharmacists working in different developed countries. Phase one used an open-ended questionnaire to identify activities undertaken by pharmacists. Answers were thematically analysed to construct a list of medication waste-reducing activities. In phase two, a questionnaire was disseminated among pharmacists from different countries, to assess if these activities are implemented (yes/no), their importance and feasibility (1 to 5 ranking scale). Results: In phase one, 53 pharmacists participated and 14 activities were identified. These were categorized into the pharmaceutical supply chain: prescribing, dispensing (pharmacy/patient-related) and leftover stage. In phase two, 89 pharmacists participated. Most activities were implemented by a minority of pharmacists. Reducing medication amounts in stock was most frequently implemented (dispensing stage pharmacy-related; 86%), followed by collecting unused medications (leftover stage; 77%) and performing a medication review (dispensing stage; 68%). Waste-reducing activities in the dispensing stage activities were both considered most important and feasible (ranked 4). Overall, most activities scored higher on importance than on feasibility. Conclusions: Pharmacists have various opportunities to reduce medication waste throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain, however, not all are broadly implemented. Pharmacists consider waste-reducing activities important, but they are less certain about the feasibility for implementation in practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: medication waste; unused medication; pharmacy practice; clinical pharmacy; survey research medication waste; unused medication; pharmacy practice; clinical pharmacy; survey research
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Bekker, C.L.; Gardarsdottir, H.; Egberts, A.C.G.; Bouvy, M.L.; Van den Bemt, B.J.F. Pharmacists’ Activities to Reduce Medication Waste: An International Survey. Pharmacy 2018, 6, 94.

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