Methods - Ethical approval for the study was granted by both the local National Health Service (NHS) Research Ethics Committee (REC) and Aston University’s REC. Seven focus groups were conducted between October and December 2011 in medical or community settings within inner-city Birmingham (UK). Discussions were guided by a theme plan which was developed from key themes identified by a literature review and piloted via a Patient Consultation Group. Each focus group had between 3 and 7 participants. The groups were digitally recorded and subsequently transcribed verbatim. The transcriptions were then subjected to thematic analysis via constant comparison in order to identify emerging themes.
Results - Participants recognised the pharmacist as an expert source of advice about prescribed medicines, a source they frequently felt a need to consult as a result of the inadequate supply of medicines information from the prescriber. However, an emerging theme was a perception that pharmacists had an oblique profit motive relating to the supply of generic medicines with frequent changes to the ‘brand’ of generic supplied being attributed to profit-seeking by pharmacists. Such changes had a negative impact on the patient’s perceived efficacy of the therapy which may make non-adherence more likely.
Conclusions - Whilst pharmacists were recognised as medicines experts, trust in the pharmacist was undermined by frequent changes to generic medicines. Such changes have the potential to adversely impact adherence levels. Further, quantitative research is recommended to examine if such views are generalisable to the wider population of Birmingham and to establish if such views impact on adherence levels.
From 'Podium and poster presentations' of the 18th International Social Pharmacy Workshop (ISPW), Boston, MA (US), 5-8 August 2014.