News Centre

24 Mar 2007

“Primary Health Care: Ask Your Community Pharmacist”Study Demonstrates Intervention by Community Pharmacists Improves Patient Care

24 Mar 2007

When medical advances bring us more effective and ample choice of medicine, modern medicine can be very complex that we cannot be fully aware of the side effects, drug actions as well as interaction and that with food supplements and our dietary intake. Once an adverse effect occurs due to improper administration or a disease not put under control due to poor compliance, health care cost will surge. That is when a community pharmacist, as a primary health care professional, can tell us how to take the right drug and take drug right. An ongoing study conducted by the School of Pharmacy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong found a positive impact on the management of hyperlipidemic patients in the outpatient setting by a clinical pharmacy service. A total of 300 patients were examined (150 in intervention and 150 in control group). It was found that levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol and triglyceride substantially improved in the intervention group. The study also identified a number of areas where community pharmacists can contribute such as lifestyle modifications, identification of adverse drug effects and interactions, and medication compliance. Over 90% of the patients felt the service was beneficial.

Various studies in the western countries have already demonstrated the importance of pharmacist’s involvement in diseases such as dyslipidaemia and diabetes. To promote public understanding on how community pharmacists help to manage the use of medicines to treat or prevent disease more effectively and efficiently, the School of Pharmacy hosted an informative exhibition on “Primary Health Care – Ask your Community Pharmacist” on 24-25 March. This two-day event, organised by student members of the Pharmacy Society and co-hosted by Narcotics Division, Security Bureau, demonstrated how you can benefit from the accessibility of your community pharmacist. There were also health talks, health check and counseling, and stall games.

“Hong Kong, like many other big cities, is facing the challenge of an ageing population, which is especially vulnerable to side effects of drugs due to non-compliance and/or drug interactions. At the same time, modern medicine is becoming more complex in its mode of action and traditional Chinese medicine is accepted as part of self-care by a rapidly growing segment of the patient population. Both potentially increase the risk of adverse drug reactions. The community pharmacist is in an ideal position to evaluate the compatibility of the two forms of drug therapy in a given patient. Moreover, he/she can advise on the use of self-diagnostic tests to assist in the selection of medicine by the physician and in the quantitative evaluation of progress in drug therapy by the pharmacist,” said Professor Vincent HL Lee, Director of the School of Pharmacy, CUHK at the opening ceremony.

Since the first admission of pharmacy degree students in 1992, CUHK School of Pharmacy has been dedicated to providing Hong Kong society with quality pharmaceutical professionals and preparing our graduates for new career opportunities in this rapidly changing world. They are pursuing their careers in community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, pharmaceutical companies and the government.