Strategic development of medicines information: Expanding key global initiatives

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Medicines information (MI) is a broad concept that includes information targeted to health care professionals as well as to patients. It may be in written, electronic or verbal forms. The internet is becoming more widely used as a source for MI, even though research shows that health care professionals and patient information leaflets are still the most common sources for medicine users. As patients are increasingly looking for the information they need themselves, the role of health care professionals in providing information is evolving, and there exists a need for greater health literacy skills among the patients. Medicines information as a concept is often defined and understood differently. Furthermore, it is such an integral part of pharmacy practice that it is rarely discussed as a separate entity. However, there is a growing recognition of a need to discuss MI in a broader sense and consider national strategies to meet consumer needs for medicines information. It also has been recognized that provision of MI should be a shared responsibility of all stakeholders in health care. This commentary gives an example of national level strategic development of MI, and calls for international collaboration.

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