Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 768–776 | Cite as

Drug-related problems: evaluation of a classification system in the daily practice of a Swiss University Hospital

  • Markus L. Lampert
  • Stephan Kraehenbuehl
  • Balthasar L. HugEmail author
Research Article


Aim To evaluate the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE) classification system as a tool for documenting the impact of a hospital clinical pharmacology service. Setting Two medical wards comprising totally 85 beds in a university hospital. Main outcome measure Number of events classified with the PCNE-system, their acceptance by the medical staff and cost implications. Methods Clinical pharmacy review of pharmacotherapy on ward rounds and from case notes were documented, and identified drug-related problems (DRPs) were classified using the PCNE system version 5.00. Results During 70 observation days 216 interventions were registered of which 213 (98.6%) could be classified: 128 (60.1%) were detected by reviewing the case notes, 33 (15.5%) on ward rounds, 32 (15.0%) by direct reporting to the clinical pharmacist (CP), and 20 (9.4%) on non-formulary prescriptions. Of 148 suggested interventions by the CP 123 (83.0%) were approved by the responsible physician, 12 ADR reports (8.1%) were submitted to the local pharmacovigilance centre and 31 (20.9%) specific information given without further need for action. An evaluation of the DRPs showed that direct drug costs of €2,058 within the study period or €10,731 per year could be avoided. Conclusion We consider the PCNE system to be a practical tool in the hospital setting, which demonstrates the values of a clinical pharmacy service in terms of identifying and reducing DRPs and also has the potential to reduce prescribing costs.


Adverse drug events Adverse drug reactions Classification systems Clinical pharmacist Cost Drug-related problems Hospital care PCNE DRP classification Pharmaceutical interventions Switzerland 



We would like to thank Monika Gisin, RN and Kristian Schneider, RN for their support and interest in setting up a clinical pharmacy service. We would also like to thank Peter Hockey, MD for his critical review of the text.


There was no financial support for his study.

Conflicts of interest

There was no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus L. Lampert
    • 1
  • Stephan Kraehenbuehl
    • 2
  • Balthasar L. Hug
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Clinical PharmacyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Clinical Pharmacology & ToxicologyUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland

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