Doctors’ perceptions, expectations and experience regarding the role of pharmacist in hospital settings of Pakistan


Background The inclusion of pharmacist in health care system is essential to ensure optimal patient care. However, with the passage of time, pharmacist’s role has transcended from dispensing, compounding and counting of pills, to more sophisticated clinical duties. Objective To evaluate doctors’ experience, perceptions and expectations regarding pharmacists’ role in Pakistani healthcare settings. Setting All tertiary care hospitals across 26 cities of Pakistan. Method A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire was carried out targeting doctors practising in Pakistan. The survey was conducted from January to April 2018. Chi square (χ2) test was used to analyse responses of doctors regarding pharmacist’s role in the healthcare system of Pakistan. The associations were considered significant at p value less than 0.05. The study was approved by concerned ethical committee. Main outcome measure Doctors’ experience, perceptions and expectations regarding pharmacists’ role. Results A total of 483 questionnaires were received and analysed (response rate; 87.9%). Most participants (67.5%) reported interaction with pharmacists at least once daily, and that was mostly related to drug availability inquiry (73.7%). 86.7% of doctors expected pharmacists to ensure safe and appropriate use of medicines to patients. 87.6% of doctors expected pharmacists to monitor patient’s response to drug therapy (p < 0.05) and 66.5% expected pharmacists to review patient’s medicines as well as discuss possible amendments to therapy (p < 0.05). Besides, most doctors (84.9%) disagreed with the notion of pharmacists prescribing medicine for patients (p < 0.05). Most participants (81.6%) did not want pharmacists to prescribe independently. Conclusion The study highlights that doctors considered pharmacists as drug information specialists, dispensers, educators and counsellors; however, their expectation of pharmacists performing the clinical role and being involved in direct patient care was limited. They negated the idea of prescription intervention and direct involvement of pharmacists in pharmacotherapy plan for patients. It is imparative  to increase doctors’ awareness regarding the role pharmacists could play in Pakistan’s healthcare system. Currently, the clinical role of pharmacists in Pakistan’s healthcare system seems minimal and is seen with scepticism within the community of doctors.

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We extend our gratitude to all the participants for their contribution in the study. We acknowledge the support of Khan and colleagues from Pakistan in completing the data collection.



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Correspondence to Nabeel Khan.

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Khan, N., McGarry, K., Naqvi, A.A. et al. Doctors’ perceptions, expectations and experience regarding the role of pharmacist in hospital settings of Pakistan. Int J Clin Pharm 42, 549–566 (2020).

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  • Doctors
  • Pakistan
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy practice