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The effects of introducing a clinical pharmacist on orthopaedic wards in Denmark

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To assess the effects and cost effects of introducing clinical pharmacists on hospital wards.


Comparative prospective study on four orthopaedic surgical wards in two hospitals. The primary effect variables were 10 target areas widely considered to be indicators of good prescription practice. Prescriptions not following good practice in these intervention areas were defined as “sub-optimal prescriptions,” and then discussed between a physician and a clinical pharmacist. The primary parameter was the difference in the number of days with a sub-optimal prescription (Mann–Whitney test).


On an average 20% of all the patients had a sub-optimal prescription. Of these, 70% were changed by the physician after intervention by the clinical pharmacist. There was a statistically significant difference in the duration of days in treatment with a sub-optimal prescription. Where sub-optimal prescriptions were changed, 43% resulted in cost reductions. The reductions achieved could cover 47% of the costs of clinical pharmacy service.


Clinical pharmacy services offered to four orthopaedic surgical wards resulted in reduction of sub-optimal prescriptions. Every time the pharmacist screened seven patients one sub-optimal prescription was found and adjusted. The reduction in medicine costs due to adjusted sub-optimal prescriptions could not cover the whole cost of clinical pharmacy service.

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Correspondence to Thomas Croft Buck.

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Buck, T.C., Brandstrup, L., Brandslund, I. et al. The effects of introducing a clinical pharmacist on orthopaedic wards in Denmark. Pharm World Sci 29, 12–18 (2007).

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