A new study showing how interventions by community pharmacists can help asthma patients achieve better asthma control could have major cost benefits for health services around the world.
The economic burden of asthma is estimated to be €72 billion annually in the 28 countries of the European Union.
The research, led by a team from the Medway School of Pharmacy (part of the University of Kent and University of Greenwich in the UK), found that community pharmacists who carry out a review with asthma patients of the way they use their medicines had a beneficial effect on patients' asthma control. The study showed that this benefit was cost-effective compared with usual care methods.
The research involved one of the largest ever trials of a community-pharmacist intervention for asthma, with 283 pharmacists and 1,263 patients in Italy taking part. The intervention, known as I-MUR, is a private, structured interview between pharmacists and patients, looking at five areas: asthma symptoms; medicines use; attitude towards medicines; adherence; and identification of pharmaceutical care issues.
In the trial, pharmacists were randomly assigned to receive immediate or delayed (by three months) training in I-MUR intervention. After three months, patients who had received the intervention were 76% more likely to have achieved good asthma control compared with patients in the other group.
Principal investigator, Andrea Manfrin, said that the I-MUR intervention led to a reduced average number of active ingredients among patients' medications (from five to four), improved self-reported adherence and established a clear link between asthma control and adherence to treatment.
The economic analysis, conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE), adopted a 'willingness-to-pay' threshold of €30,000 (£25,300) per quality-of-life year gained, in line with the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); the researchers' analyses showed that, at the conclusion of the study after nine months, the probability that the intervention was more cost-effective than usual care reached 100%.
The research, entitled A cluster randomised control trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Italian medicines use review (I-MUR) for asthma patients (Andrea Manfrin, Janet Krska and Trudy Thomas (Medway School of Pharmacy/universities of Kent and Greenwich) Michaela Tinelli, LSE) is published in the journal BMC Health Services Research. See: https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-017-2245-9
For further information contact Martin Herrema at the University of Kent Press Office. Tel: 01227 823581/01634 888879 Email: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent
Notes to editors
1. Italian Medicines Use Review (I-MUR) for asthma patients has become the first nationally funded pharmacy service in Italy and it is now being considered for implementation in other respiratory conditions and healthcare systems.
2. Established in 1965, the University of Kent — the UK's European university — now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.
It has been ranked: 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017; and 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018.
In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.
Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.
In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.
Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (http://www.kent.ac.uk/about/partnerships/eastern-arc.html).
The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.
In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.