Italian drug information centres: benchmark report
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Objective: Pharmacist‐operated Drug Information Centres (DICs) in Italy were surveyed to gather current information concerning the status, availability and scope of their services. Methods: 40 DICs were identified and a questionnaire was mailed to them. Topics covered in the questionnaire included staffing, resources, activities and services. The results were compared with previous survey results to identify trends. Results: Information from 36 DICs was analysed (response rate =90%). Almost all regions of the country are represented. Pharmacists, part‐time or full‐time, are the most frequent employees working in the DICs. 91% of DICs participate in the P/T committee, 74% takes part in the technical scientific committee for clinical experimentation and/or to the Medical Ethics committee and 60% participate in the hospital infection committee. 90% of DICs produce newsletters and/or bulletins and are involved in research projects. Regarding the question‐answer service, requests are mainly concerned with clinical comparative efficacy, therapeutic use, adverse effects. The most frequent users are physicians (67%) followed by pharmacists (16%) while other professionals use DICs to lesser extent. The most frequently used information sources, include "Goodman and Gilman's the pharmacological basis of therapeutics", Martindale: the Extra Pharmacopeia and Physician's Desk Reference; journals such as the Medical Letter, Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin and Drug and Therapeutic Bulletin, Micromedex, Medline and IOWA databases.Data collected through the questionnaire and details about organisation and activity of Italian DICs are available in "Eupharma", the web‐site of the Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacy (SIFO) at the URL http://www.sifo.it.Conclusion: The results parallel the European and American trends. In future communication and collaboration at European level could help to identify best practice models that would result in the standardisation of the activities and in the harmonisation of programs in common areas of interest.
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