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.
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