Community pharmacy and emerging public health initiatives in developing Southeast Asian countries: a systematic review

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The development of health and healthcare systems in South-East Asia has influenced the practice of community pharmacy. Over the years, community pharmacy in the region has striven to expand services beyond dispensing to encompass more involvement in public health issues. Searches were conducted in Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PubMed for articles published between January 2000 and December 2014, with 21 studies in five countries meeting the inclusion criteria. The findings showed increasing interest in research into the delivery of pharmacy services and public health initiatives. Overall, the review found that provision of some health services in pharmacies was common; however, most public health initiatives appeared to be poorly implemented, had limited evidence and were not demonstrated to be sustainable across the sector. This indicates that the practice of community pharmacy in the region has not significantly changed over the past 14 years with respect to the scope and quality of pharmacy services provided, and fundamental policy changes are necessary to improve this situation.

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