, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 136-144
Date: 21 Aug 2013

Pharmacists’ attitudes and perceived barriers to provision of adherence support in Australia

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Background Adherence to therapy is a key to achieving good clinical outcomes. Promoting medication adherence requires a range of strategies that primarily focus on fostering behavioral change. Community pharmacists are well placed to deliver adherence support to patients. Aim To investigate community pharmacists’ activities in supporting patient medication adherence in their practice; and to assess pharmacists’ attitudes and barriers to adherence support. Method A sample of 500 pharmacies was randomly selected from a list of community pharmacies in the state of New South Wales (Australia) and mailed a questionnaire focusing on provision of adherence support, pharmacists’ attitudes, and barriers to adherence support. Two follow-up reminders were sent to non-responding pharmacies after 2 and 6 weeks. Result A response rate of 27.6 % was achieved (n = 126), consistent with recent research studies. For less than half (42 %) of prescriptions dispensed, pharmacists reported providing strategies to identify non-adherent patients. Providing dose administration aids was the most common method to support adherence used by pharmacists (95 %). Most (98 %) agreed that it was their role to promote patients’ adherence. However 64 and 52 % reported that patients’ time pressures and poor health literacy, respectively, were the main barriers to provision of adherence support. Around 25 % of respondents reported that they had received training programs on providing medication adherence support. Conclusion Community pharmacists employed a limited range of strategies to identify and address non-adherence to medications. Moreover, the provision of adherence support was episodic and infrequent. However, the majority of pharmacists believed that it is their role to promote patients adherence. Time pressures for both pharmacists and patients were perceived to be a major barrier.