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Title: Perception and critical analysis of the medicines entitlement system
Authors: Cassar, Doriella
Azzopardi, Lilian M.
Keywords: Pharmaceutical services -- Malta
Drug accessibility -- Malta
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of Pharmacy & The Malta Pharmaceutical Association
Citation: Cassar, D., & Azzopardi, L. M. (2015). Perception and critical analysis of the medicines entitlement system. Journal of Euromed Pharmacy, 05, 12-15.
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To determine the perceived, actual and desired knowledge of healthcare professionals regarding free medicines’ entitlement, to identify strengths and weaknesses of the present entitlement system and to recommend improvements to the system to enhance patient care and sustainability. METHOD: Qualitative interviews with the Medicines Entitlement Unit (MEU) staff were carried out to identify customer care-related issues encountered. This information was used to devise a questionnaire to assess perceived, actual and desired knowledge on medicines’ entitlement. The questionnaire was distributed to physicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis of the medicines’ entitlement system was undertaken through qualitative interviews. KEY FINDINGS: A total of 26 strengths, 7 weaknesses, 6 opportunities and 15 threats on the present entitlement system were identified during the discussion sessions with 20 participants. Strengths included legislation, reference documentation and customer care service while the main weakness identified was the current IT system. Opportunities included an improved IT system and premises. Threats identified included manual applications, misconceptions by the public and healthcare professionals and patients’ attitudes and expectations. A total of 207 physicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from different professional backgrounds completed the questionnaire. The participants obtained an average score of 72.2%. The respondents obtained a significantly higher mean score (p<0.001) for questions related to Fifth (V) Schedule conditions and entitlement (81.60%), compared to the mean score for the questions related to the Government Formulary List (GFL) and related policies (63.57%). Pharmacists obtained a significantly (p=0.005) higher total mean score (75.89%) than physicians (66.21%). A positive relationship between the self-rating and actual overall knowledge was found; the mean total scores vary significantly between the overall knowledge self-rating (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: The results show that healthcare professionals have appropriate insight of the medicines’ entitlement system and are very interested in improving their knowledge. Measures to increase their knowledge should be considered. The weaknesses and opportunities identified should be addressed to improve the current entitlement system both for the patients and healthcare professionals.
Appears in Collections:Journal of Euromed Pharmacy : issue 05 : 2015
Journal of Euromed Pharmacy : issue 05 : 2015

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