Pharmacies to relieve other parts of the healthcare system to a greater extent
A government-appointed working group has identified a number of areas where the pharmacies' competencies can be further utilized. The working group's recommendations will help relieve the burden on other parts of the healthcare system, increase patient safety and improve accessibility.
As part of the healthcare reform of May 2022, a working group consisting of the Danish Regions, Local Government Denmark (KL), the Danish Association of Pharmacists, and the Ministry of the Interior and Health was established. The group was tasked with identifying areas where pharmacies can take on additional tasks, and thereby relieve other parts of a strained healthcare system.
The working group has now provided recommendations regarding the following six themes:
- Unit-dose packaging of medicinal products
- More guidance on managing medicinal products
- Improved collaboration regarding medicinal products from sector to sector
- Increased substitution
- Modernization of the prescription
- Prevention of overmedication
For example, it is recommended to expand the substitution scheme to include other packaging sizes, increased substitution in the event of supply shortages and in the event of large price jumps or large price differences, if relevant. Furthermore, the working group recommends investigating the possibilities of substituting biological and biosimilar medicines in primary care. The Ministry of the Interior and Health will, with the involvement of the relevant stakeholders, be looking into the possibilities of increasing substitution. It will be interesting to see which specific proposals the investigation results in.
In addition, the working group recommends setting up a new healthcare service where pharmacies would provide telephone guidance to healthcare professionals, as well as to citizens and relatives. As an example, the working group mentions that citizens who have recently been discharged and are returning to their own homes with new or altered medicinal products would be able to call the pharmacies to receive advice and guidance on their new medical treatment.