In this article the authors deal with issues of drug utilisation from a clinical and policy perspective. They address the difficulties of managing drug therapy on a population level, which is known among professionals, as the problem of rational use of medicines. Various definitions and interpretations are presented and compared. This is followed by a presentation of the concerns associated with pharmaceutical marketing from a policy perspective, including the fear that the dominance of information produced by industry may lead to irrational drug use. Next, the authors review the tools for policy making including educational, managerial, and regulatory interventions. The (often overlapping) concepts of medicines management, clinical pharmacy and pharmaceutical care are then discussed to show how professionals, sometimes in collaboration with policymakers, have tackled the problem of nonrational use of medicines. The authors address the question as to whether the rational use of medicines a universal concept, whether it can be and whether it should be? They argue that, as with most concepts, the rational use of medicines must always be viewed in context. They conclude that pharmacy needs to adapt its way of thinking to include the issue of context. They point out that clinical pharmacists today already adapt their decisons to each patient and patient group. Policy-makers are encouraged to adopt a similar approach because populations as well as particular market situations vary and therefore policy solutions cannot be considered universal.
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 2005, Vol 27, Issue 2, p. 76-80
Drug Utilization Review; Humans; Pharmaceutical Services; Policy Making; Terminology as Topic