Conversations about preventers in pharmacy

S. Davis, J. Foster, C. Armour, N. Zwar, H. Reddel

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Introduction/Aim. Research shows that cost is an important factor in people's decisions about asthma medicines. Healthcare providers (HCPs) may be unaware that cost is an issue for their patients. Community pharmacists are well placed to assist with explaining or potentially reducing asthma medicine costs for patients. The aim of this study was to obtain input from pharmacists regarding: cost‐related adherence issues with asthma medicines; opportunities for conversations with patients; and the suitability of proposed pharmacy‐based resources to address adherence barriers, including cost, for asthma medicines.

Methods. Pharmacists took part in semi‐structured interviews which were audio‐recorded, de‐identified and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was performed iteratively with each sequential interview.

. Interviews with six pharmacists (4 female) from diverse socioeconomic regions in metropolitan Sydney, and ranging in practice experience from 4‐15 years, revealed a number of emergent themes concerning script refilling and conversations about cost. Most pharmacies offered a script reminder service. Prescription refills were affected by medicine cost for patients on low incomes, access (location of pharmacy) and patient health literacy. Prescriptions were noted to be handled by pharmacy assistants, removing the opportunity for initial engagement between pharmacist and patient.

Cost conversations were influenced by the pharmacists' skills and comfort, and their perceived role regarding asthma management. Organisational factors such as commercial pressure to not reveal medicine cost until script handed out, and limited working relationships with general practitioners were evident barriers.

The proposed counselling resources were generally well received and pharmacists made suggestions for improvement such as providing a summary card.

Conclusion. Pharmacists felt confident to have conversations with their patients about asthma medicine costs but time, remuneration and situational issues need to be considered. Using tailored resources to facilitate conversations between patients and their HCPs, including their pharmacist, may enhance shared decision making around preventer treatment options.

Grant Support: Perpetual Impact Grant 2018/1144
Original languageEnglish
Article numberTP138
Pages (from-to)181
Number of pages1
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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