Pharmacy counseling requires pharmacists to offer to discuss with patients any information that the pharmacist deems significant, including a description of the medication; the duration of drug therapy; common severe side effects or interactions and therapeutic contraindications, and prescription refill information.
There has been a wealth of published studies in recent years demonstrating that empowering patients with information results in better health outcomes.
For example, it has been firmly established that communicating with pharmacy patients about the importance of adherence to therapy, including refill reminders, has important proven benefits to individual patients, to the public health and to the economy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently concluded that poor adherence "impair[s] the ability of health care systems around the world to achieve population health goals, and that "there is growing evidence to suggest that because of the alarmingly low rates of adherence, increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments."
Similarly, public health experts recognize that improving the flow of other types of health information to consumers is a critical public health objective.
Pharmacists engage in a number of different types of tailored messaging about prescription drugs, disease states, and treatment options.
Most of these communications can be viewed, to a greater or lesser extent, as encouraging the purchase of drug products.
However, these types of messaging serve to educate and empower patients and, thus, have real value not only to individual patients but also to society.