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Dispensing practices achieve better medication adherence

On-site dispensaries plus collaborative patient relationships support adherence

May 4th 2021

Tagged: Research

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Leaving a consultation with a medication, rather than with a prescription that may not be dispensed, may plausibly positively affect medication adherence, a study comparing adherence in dispensing and non-dispensing practices has found.

Medication adherence and clinical outcomes in dispensing and non-dispensing practices: a cross-sectional analysis concludes that adherence was better in dispensing practices than in non-dispensing practices for seven of nine QOF indicators dependent on adherence, including blood pressure targets.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, hypothesised that adherence to prescribed medications may be greater for patients of dispensing practices than for non-dispensing practices, by virtue of streamlined access to medications.

Between 11-19 per cent of prescriptions are not actually dispensed to the patient, and barriers to medication possession exist at patient, doctor, and healthcare system levels.

It adds that in dispensing practice patient records, allergies and comorbidities are fully accessible to pharmacists and dispensers. Furthermore, collaborative patient–physician relationships may be key to achieving positive beliefs about treatment and increasing adherence.

The study found no evidence for higher rates of prescribing in dispensing practices, stating that ‘perverse incentive’ (now largely mitigated against within the current GP contract) does not support the findings.