Drug-related problems: Evaluation of a classification system in the daily practice of a Swiss University Hospital

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To evaluate the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE) classification system as a tool for documenting the impact of a hospital clinical pharmacology service.


Two medical wards comprising totally 85 beds in a university hospital.

Main outcome measure

Number of events classified with the PCNE-system, their acceptance by the medical staff and cost implications.


Clinical pharmacy review of pharmacotherapy on ward rounds and from case notes were documented, and identified drug-related problems (DRPs) were classified using the PCNE system version 5.00.


During 70 observation days 216 interventions were registered of which 213 (98.6%) could be classified: 128 (60.1%) were detected by reviewing the case notes, 33 (15.5%) on ward rounds, 32 (15.0%) by direct reporting to the clinical pharmacist (CP), and 20 (9.4%) on non-formulary prescriptions. Of 148 suggested interventions by the CP 123 (83.0%) were approved by the responsible physician, 12 ADR reports (8.1%) were submitted to the local pharmacovigilance centre and 31 (20.9%) specific information given without further need for action. An evaluation of the DRPs showed that direct drug costs of €2,058 within the study period or €10,731 per year could be avoided.


We consider the PCNE system to be a practical tool in the hospital setting, which demonstrates the values of a clinical pharmacy service in terms of identifying and reducing DRPs and also has the potential to reduce prescribing costs.

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