Development of a strategic model for integrating complementary medicines into professional pharmacy practice

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Traditional medicine (TM) and complementary medicine (CM) products have played an increasingly important role in the business of pharmacy for over two decades in a number of countries. With a focus on the quality use of all medicines including complementary medicines, there have been a number of initiatives to encourage the integration of TM/CM products into professional practice. Recent studies report that many of the barriers that prevent such integration remain.


To explore the pharmacists' perspective regarding how barriers to the integration of TM/CM products into the professional practice of pharmacy could be resolved.


Purposive sampling and snowballing were used to recruit 11 registered pharmacists who had worked in community pharmacy for a minimum of 6 months to participate in one of 3 focus groups. Focus group questions informed by previous studies, explored participants' perspectives on the actions required to support professional services related to TM/CM products.


Pharmacists proposed that five key stakeholders (professional pharmacy organizations, universities, government, pharmacy owners, and pharmacists) enact 4 developments that require a collaborative effort (“education and training”, “building the evidence base”, “developing reliable and accessible information resources”, and “workplace support for best practice”). Manufacturers of TM/CM products were not identified by pharmacists as collaborators in these developments.


Collectively, the findings from this study support a strategic model to guide the integration of TM/CM products into the professional practice of pharmacy.

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