Should pharmacists be allowed to write prescriptions?
Prescribing of medications has traditionally been restricted to physicians, but there is growing support to allow pharmacists to do so as well. A British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review of a large number of studies in many countries reveals that diverse groups of stakeholders hold positive views and experiences around pharmacist prescribing.
Stakeholders included pharmacists, patients, doctors, nurses, policy makers, and the general public. The main benefits identified in the review include increased access to healthcare services, perceptions of enhanced patients' outcomes, better utilisation of pharmacists' skills and knowledge, improved job satisfaction, and reduced physicians' workload. Concerns were largely around organisational issues and perceived lack of pharmacists' diagnosis skills.
"Prescribing by pharmacists is well-advanced in many countries such as the UK. With the current shortage of doctors and the extensive clinical training of pharmacists, this is both appropriate for patient care and use of limited resources," said senior author Prof. Derek Stewart, of the Robert Gordon University (RGU) School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, in the UK. "This review is the first to collate the views and experiences of a diverse group of key stakeholders on pharmacist prescribing, the findings of which will inform development and implementation across the globe," added lead author Tesnime Jebara, a PhD student at RGU who conducted the analysis.