Opportunities and responsibilities in pharmaceutical care

Am J Hosp Pharm. 1990 Mar;47(3):533-43.


Pharmacy's opportunity to mature as a profession by accepting its social responsibility to reduce preventable drug-related morbidity and mortality is explored. Pharmacy has shed the apothecary role but has not yet been restored to its erst-while importance in medical care. It is not enough to dispense the correct drug or to provide sophisticated pharmaceutical services; nor will it be sufficient to devise new technical functions. Pharmacists and their institutions must stop looking inward and start redirecting their energies to the greater social good. Some 12,000 deaths and 15,000 hospitalizations due to adverse drug reactions (ADRs) were reported to the FDA in 1987, and many went unreported. Drug-related morbidity and mortality are often preventable, and pharmaceutical services can reduce the number of ADRs, the length of hospital stays, and the cost of care. Pharmacists must abandon factionalism and adopt patient-centered pharmaceutical care as their philosophy of practice. Changing the focus of practice from products and biological systems to ensuring the best drug therapy and patient safety will raise pharmacy's level of responsibility and require philosophical, organizational, and functional changes. It will be necessary to set new practice standards, establish cooperative relationships with other health-care professions, and determine strategies for marketing pharmaceutical care. Pharmacy's reprofessionalization will be completed only when all pharmacists accept their social mandate to ensure the safe and effective drug therapy of the individual patient.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy / trends*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Social Responsibility*
  • United States