International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1241–1249 | Cite as

A focus group based study of the perspectives of the Maltese population and healthcare professionals on medication wastage

  • Lorna Marie WestEmail author
  • Lesley Diack
  • Maria Cordina
  • Derek Stewart
Research Article


Background The World Health Organization states that globally more than half of all medication is inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or sold with a need to implement wastage reduction strategies. Developing processes which include behaviour change theories, such as the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), significantly impacts the positive implementation of evidence into healthcare practice. Objective To describe and understand the beliefs and behaviours regarding medication wastage of the Maltese public and healthcare professionals (HCPs) and to explore potential solutions. Setting: Malta. Method Five 90 min audio recorded focus groups (2 public and 3 HCPs) were conducted with a purposive sample who responded to a previous survey study and were willing to participate in focus groups in Malta. The guide was based upon the TDF with interview questions derived from findings of the questionnaire phase. Focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis was carried using the framework approach. Main outcome measure Beliefs and behaviours regarding medication wastage and potential solutions to reduce medication wastage. Results A total of eleven pharmacists, six doctors and six members of the public consented to participate. Focus groups conducted with HCPs and the general public identified the following four key themes aligned with the TDF domains to address proposed solutions to minimise medication wastage: (1) practitioner effects; (2) patients effects; (3) political effects; (4) societal effects. Conclusion This study has employed a theoretical framework to obtain a better understanding of facilitators which require attention as part of strategic development.


Awareness Behaviour Focus groups Healthcare professionals Malta Medication wastage 



The authors acknowledge those who participated in the focus groups.


The research work carried out was fully funded by the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. This study formed part of the author’s submission for PhD. The scholarship had no influence on study design, conduction, analysis, interpretation or writing of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorna Marie West
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lesley Diack
    • 1
  • Maria Cordina
    • 2
  • Derek Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Social Care, School of Pharmacy and Life SciencesRobert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

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