European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Qualitative analysis of community pharmacists’ opinions on their involvement in reducing potentially inappropriate prescribing

  • Christina Raae HansenEmail author
  • Stephen Byrne
  • Denis O’Mahony
  • Patricia M. Kearney
  • Laura J. Sahm
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



Older people are at risk of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) due to polypharmacy arising from multi-morbidity. Despite available explicit criteria to reduce PIP, it is highly prevalent. Whilst community pharmacists have the required knowledge to help reduce PIP, they are not currently engaged with the problem. This study explores the views of community pharmacists on their potential involvement in reducing PIP and determines the challenges to its implementation.


Semi-structured interviews with pharmacists working in community pharmacies in Ireland. The theoretical domains framework (TDF) was used to develop the topic guide and to analyse the transcripts. Domains of highest relevance for PIP reduction were identified based on their frequency or whether the participants emphasised the impact of constructs within a domain. Local ethical approval was obtained.


Of 18 participants, 12 were female, median age was 30 years (IQR, 27–35) with a median of 6 years (IQR, 3–8) of experience. Seven TDF domains were identified as relevant to PIP reduction. Pharmacists were uncertain about their role in reducing PIP and reluctant to challenge physicians’ prescribing decisions. Challenges pertained to the environment, knowledge, social influences, professional role and identity.


Pharmacists welcomed new responsibilities in reducing PIP as part of their daily practice but expressed a need for removal of social and environmental barriers as well as, provision of relevant guidelines and education about PIP. This study provides useful insights into the target domains for overcoming barriers of pharmacist involvement in reducing PIP.


Pharmacist Primary care Older patients Prescribing Qualitative 



The authors would like to acknowledge all pharmacists who took part in this study for their time and interest in the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval for this study was granted by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals prior to recruitment. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Online Resource I (DOCX 12 kb)
228_2018_2578_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Online Resource II (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Care Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06University College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.Section for Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  4. 4.Department of Geriatric MedicineCork University HospitalCorkIreland
  5. 5.School of Public HealthUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  6. 6.Pharmacy DepartmentMercy University HospitalCorkIreland

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