Clinical services in community pharmacies: a scoping review of policy and social implications

Int J Pharm Pract. 2021 Mar 17;29(2):116-125. doi: 10.1093/ijpp/riaa007.


Objectives: Clinical services have allowed pharmacists to shift from product-oriented to patient-oriented services. However, the policy and social implications of clinical services in community pharmacies are not well described. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify these implications.

Key findings: We searched Pubmed and Embase, from inception to March 2019, as well as grey literature for publications that discussed policy (e.g. pharmacy model and pharmacist status) or social (e.g. role of pharmacists and interprofessional collaboration) implications of clinical services. Publications had to address clinical services provided by pharmacists in community settings that target the global long-term care of patients. We extracted data related to the implications and classified them into themes thereafter. The search process identified 73 relevant publications, of which 13 were included in regard to policy implications and 60 relative to social implications. Two themes emerged from policy implications: implementation and characteristics of policies, and professional status. Pharmacists' independence from distribution, financial coverage of clinical services and innovative models of practice were addressed. Social implications involved three themes: roles and interprofessional collaboration, changes in practice and barriers and model of practices and services. Perceptions of pharmacists' skills, organisational barriers, time constraints, lack of self-confidence and cultural shifts required to implement clinical services were included in these themes.

Summary: Our review demonstrates the changing role of community pharmacists in provision of clinical services within the healthcare system. The range of clinical services varies widely from one setting to another. The context of community pharmacy is not well suited to these changes in practice.

Keywords: clinical services; pharmacists; pharmacy; public policy; social implications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Policy
  • Professional Role