International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 450–457 | Cite as

Exploring the current and future role of the pharmacists in osteoporosis screening and management in Malaysia

  • L. S. TohEmail author
  • P. S. M. Lai
  • S. Othman
  • A. Shah
  • C. P. L. Dang
  • B. Y. Low
  • K. T. Wong
  • C. Anderson
Research Article


Background Several studies have found that pharmacists can assist in screening and prevention of osteoporosis by referring patients for bone mineral density scans and counselling on lifestyle changes. In Malaysia, screening osteoporosis in all elderly women is not mandatory due to its cost. One approach to address this gap is to develop a pharmacist-led osteoporosis screening and prevention program. However, there is a paucity of data on the perspectives of Malaysian pharmacists in this area. Objective To explore the perspective of stakeholders (policy makers, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and patients) towards the role of pharmacists in osteoporosis screening and management. Setting A primary care clinic located within a teaching hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Method Patients (n = 20), nurses (n = 10), pharmacists (n = 11), doctors (n = 10) and policy makers (n = 5) were individually interviewed using a semi-structured topic guide. Purposive sampling was used. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Main outcome measure Perspective of stakeholders on the current and future role of pharmacists. Results All participants perceived pharmacists to be suppliers of medication, although there was some recognition of roles in providing medication advice. Nonetheless, these stakeholders were eager for pharmacists to expand their non-dispensing roles towards counselling, creating awareness and screening of osteoporosis. Interviewed pharmacists referred to their current role as ‘robotic dispensers’ and unanimously agreed to spread out to osteoporosis management role. Conclusion Under stakeholders there is a willingness to expand the role of pharmacists in Malaysia to non-dispensing roles, particularly in osteoporosis screening and management.


Malaysia Osteoporosis Pharmacist role Postmenopausal Qualitative Screening 



Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) fund (06-02-12-SF0183).

Conflicts of interest

All the Authors declares that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pharmacy, School of MedicineUniversity of TasmaniaTasmaniaAustralia
  2. 2.School of PharmacyUniversity of NottinghamSemenyihMalaysia
  3. 3.University of Malaya Primary Care Research Group (UMPCRG), Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, School of PharmacyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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