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Health advice from pharmacists saves hundreds of millions of euros
Date:8/31/2010

Lisbon, Portugal: Hundreds of millions of euros are being saved each year for national healthcare systems by patients consulting community pharmacists rather than going straight to their doctors, says a survey to be presented today (Wednesday 1 September) at the annual conference of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). In Finland alone, well over 500 million was freed up in one year for other healthcare priorities through members of the public visiting pharmacists for general health advice, as well as the correction of prescription errors and information about the importance of adherence to prescriptions says the survey, which was carried out by the international auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Association of Finnish Pharmacies (AFP).

Although there has been anecdotal evidence of the economic value of the community pharmacist to healthcare systems, there were few properly conducted studies to prove the point, said Dr. Erkki Kostiainen from the AFP, Helsinki. "We decided that it would be worthwhile to see how much these free professional services provided by community pharmacists really save elsewhere in healthcare. We thought that these savings would be substantial, but it is fair to say that we were surprised to find their true extent."

The study drew on the findings of public research results and a survey which was answered by 197 proprietary pharmacists (out of the 594 in existence in Finland) and six senior health centre physicians. The research was carried out in 2009, using statistics from the previous year. The public research results studied included those from a national study of prescription errors as well as statistics from the Finnish social insurance and health and welfare institutions. Where opinions differed between pharmacists and physicians, an expert panel made up of pharmacists, a lawyer and an economist reviewed the answers. In order to avoid over-estimating financial savings, they erred towar
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
Source:Eurekalert

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