Results from the study showed that visits to the pharmacist avoided 6.2 million visits to the general practitioner and 750,000 emergency visits per year. They also helped to reduce the need for prescriptions by 2.6 million per year. Pharmacy expertise was also estimated to save 123,000 inpatient nights in hospital.
"These savings add up to a total of 565 million per year, which can be spent on other important priorities in the national healthcare system," he said. "The majority of the saving about 300 million comes from fewer visits to the general practitioner. In many cases a pharmacist's guidance in self-care and non-prescription medication can be all that is needed and, if it is not, pharmacists are able to advise when a visit to the doctor is indicated," said Dr. Kostiainen.
"Although some of the evaluations in the study are based on the opinions and experience of doctors and pharmacists rather than exact facts, they give a good indication of the total savings that were made. I see no reason why these findings should not be applicable in other countries. At a time when there are grave shortages of general practitioners in some European regions, this is not simply an economic but also a social benefit," said Dr. Kostiainen.
The study also showed savings of nearly 70 million emergency costs, and around 100 millions each on prescription costs and nights in hospital.
"These savings are more than Finnish pharmacies' share of all medicine sales, which total 481 million", said Dr. Kostiainen. "This means that savings for health care produced by the use of community pharmacies exceed the costs of outpatient medicine distribution. This is a very significant finding."
Mr. Ton Hoek, General Secretary and CEO of the FIP said: "Pharmacists are highly qualified and possess detailed knowledge of medicines and their responsible use because of their in-depth education
|Contact: Mary Rice|
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)