A UK wide research strategy to support the development of robust evidence to inform commissioning and clinical decision making is needed if pharmacy services are to be integrated into care pathways says the Pharmacy Practice Research Trust (the Trust) in a response to the UK Government's white paper on the future of pharmacy.
Research is acknowledged in the white paper as key to the future of a world class pharmacy service and the Trust agrees that future commissioning decisions will need to be based on sound evidence of improved outcomes.
The white paper acknowledges that pharmacy practice research is a relatively new area with an insufficient evidence base in terms of patient benefit and value for money. "It is disappointing that even with the strong support for research and the call for evidence in the white paper, it would appear there's a significant underestimation of the scale of investment in research that's necessary if pharmacy is to successfully take on the new roles identified for it", says Marshall Davies, Chair of the Trust.
Whilst the Trust is recognised as a key contributor in the development of evidence and building research capacity further resources for funding a substantive body of research are neededin key areas.
One of these areas, research into concordance and adherence to medication, is an area where the Trust has invested and the call for further research in this area is welcomed, as is the white paper proposal to explore collaborative working between the pharmaceutical industry and the profession to promote R&D and pharmacovigilance.
"Both the appointment of two clinical leaders for pharmacy and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer's expert panel who will identify research priorities for pharmacy are good news for the profession. However, there is a lack of support for profession led research and some concern that research priorities for pharmacy may be overlooked in the wider health needs agenda" says Dr Sue Ambler, Director of the Trust.
"We have recognised the lack of evidence and are endeavouring to address this through our own commissioned research programme" added Dr Ambler. "The Trust recently received an overwhelming response to a call for proposals for a grant supporting service evaluation in terms of patient benefit and value for money, but many good projects could not be funded due to the level of funding we had available. Our response is being sent to key stakeholders to stimulate further debate and discussion and hopefully take the first steps towards the development of a UK wide pharmacy practice research strategy."