Objective: To explore pharmacists' opinions about the provision of weight management services in community pharmacy and their attitudes towards the establishment of an accredited training course in weight management in pharmacy.
Setting: Interviews were conducted with practising pharmacists on site in various community pharmacies in metropolitan Sydney, Australia.
Method: In-depth, semi-structured interviews with twenty practising pharmacists were conducted. Of the twenty interviewed pharmacists, sixteen were involved in the provision of one or more pharmacy based weight management programs in their pharmacies. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using the grounded theory approach.
Main outcome measure: The data were thematically analysed to identify facilitators and perceived barriers to the provision of high quality services, and pharmacists' willingness to undertake training and accreditation.
Results: Participants clearly perceived a role for pharmacy in weight management. Key facilitators to provision of service were accessibility and the perception of pharmacists as trustworthy healthcare professionals. The pharmacists proposed collaboration with other healthcare professionals in order to provide a service incorporating diet, exercise and behavioural therapy. A program that was not-product-centred, and supported by ethical marketing was favoured. Appropriate training and accreditation were considered essential to assuring the quality of such services. Barriers to the provision of high quality services identified were: remuneration, pharmacy infrastructure, client demand and the current marketing of product-centred programs.
Conclusion: Australian pharmacists believe there is a role for pharmacy in weight management, provided training in accredited programs is made available. A holistic, evidence-based, multi-disciplinary service model has been identified as ideal.