Advice from pharmacists subject to fees in the future?

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Pharmacists want to offer fee-based advice and systematic therapy support

In the future, pharmacies in Germany should also offer consultations subject to fees. This was explained by Friedemann Schmidt, President of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations, on Tuesday on the occasion of the German Pharmacists' Day in Düsseldorf, at which around 300 delegates from the pharmacists' chambers and associations discussed the future of the profession. For example, systematic therapy support should be offered. But for this, regulatory framework conditions would have to be created, says Schmidt.

Intensive advice from pharmacists is required more than ever In the course of demographic change, patients need more and more detailed advice on side effects and drug interactions and therapeutic measures, reports the President of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations. "We want to enter into a debate with politicians and society on the question of what functions pharmacists in the public pharmacy should assume in the future," explained Schmidt. For example, pharmacists would have to regularly ask their customers about the results of therapies and carry out a comparison of medications that were prescribed by different doctors. Such an extensive offer could not, however, be free of charge.

Intensive advice could also help to avoid errors caused by self-medication. According to a nationwide survey in pharmacies, about every fifth self-medication is accompanied by undesirable side effects. The causes include incorrect dosage, too long a period of use of the drug and drug abuse. However, 90 percent of these cases were successfully resolved in the pharmacy.

Statistically speaking, every German consumes around 1,200 individual medication units per year, as the pharmacists' associations report. In 2012, an average of 14 medicines were prescribed by every statutory health insurer. The Germans spent EUR 3.6 billion on over-the-counter medicines.

Pharmacists' associations call for more freedom of choice for pharmacists In the past few years, pharmacists have had to struggle with external regulation and over-bureaucratisation, Schmidt reports. Offers such as therapy support could also increase job satisfaction.

Another problem for pharmacists is the closure of companies. 150 pharmacies were affected in the first half of the year. Since 2010, the number of pharmacists employed in public pharmacies has dropped by almost 300 to around 48,500. In about 70 percent of the cases, pharmacists are affected because they did not want to work for a self-employed pharmacist, but the usual 60-hour week, explained Schmidt. There is a massive problem with young talent, which makes it necessary to increase the number of study places.

"Despite the decline in the number of pharmacies, the pharmaceutical emergency has never broken out anywhere in Germany," Schmidt is quoted in a press release from the Federal Association. "Anyone who propagates new forms of care, such as the 'video pharmacy' or the 'pharmacy bus', takes the people in the affected regions to the max. There is no logistical problem in these regions, but a 'humanitarian' problem. Older people who suffer from immobility and illness need someone who knows their circumstances, speaks to them, maintains contact with the doctor and nursing service. The closest pharmacy is the only sensible answer to the problem of demography and rural exodus. ”(Ag)

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