Archives of Internal Medicine: Pharmacy transforming beyond dispensing to 'more clinical, patient-centered role'

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has praised a review article published in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, which stated that community pharmacists figure prominently in the successful management of cardiovascular disease risk factors in outpatients, such as reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol.

“This article provides further evidence of the tremendous value of pharmacy in helping patients lead healthier lives, and in helping to reduce the necessity of more costly forms of care. The article notes the accessibility of pharmacists, and that point is underscored by the fact that nearly all Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Partnering with community pharmacy continues to emerge as a powerful strategy for improving health and healthcare delivery,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

"The traditional view of the pharmacist’s role in primary care is medication distribution,” the article stated. “Although this role remains an important part of the activity of a pharmacist, evidence documented in our systematic review and previous reviews demonstrates a transformation of pharmacy practice toward a more clinical, patient-centered role and a collaborative approach toward pharmacist-physician in patient care.”

The review article reflected analysis of 30 randomized controlled trials, including interventions conducted exclusively by a pharmacist or those conducted by a pharmacist in collaboration with a physician or nurse. Studies involving community pharmacies were well represented in the review, with an enhanced presence for community-pharmacy-related studies among recent years.

“Pharmacists are highly accessible healthcare professionals, and because of their knowledge of drug therapy and their computerized records of medications, they are particularly well positioned to provide the necessary medication instructions to patients to improve safe medication use and are in collaboration with primary care physicians to assist in preventive CVD care,” the article stated. “The integration of the pharmacist in the care of outpatients should be considered as a valuable solution for improving the management of CVD factors."

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