Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Clinical pharmacists working within family practice - What is the evidence.pdf (513.84 kB)

Clinical pharmacists working within family practice: What is the evidence?

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-27, 10:25 authored by Karen Cardwell, Susan SmithSusan Smith

There is increasing interest in the role of clinical pharmacists in primary care and family practice. They differ from community pharmacists in that they work directly with physicians, other health care professionals and patients with the aim of optimizing patients’ medication regimens, health outcomes and coordination of care. These pharmacists also play a key role in the education of patients with chronic disease. This is occurring in the context of a rising prevalence of long-term conditions (multimorbidity), multiple medicines (polypharmacy) and increased health care service utilization. Prescribing in the context of multimorbidity and polypharmacy is complicated, due to an increased potential for drug–drug interactions, adverse drug reactions and potentially inappropriate prescribing, a term used to describe suboptimal prescribing practices such as over-prescribing of certain medications such as opiates, misprescribing and under-prescribing. Moreover, disease-specific national prescribing guidelines are based on evidence derived from populations which do not necessarily reflect patients with more complex multimorbidity. Consequently, the management of these patients is difficult, particularly for family practitioners as there is often fragmentation and poor communication between primary and secondary care settings. The recognition of the need to support family practitioners in the management of these patients has led to the integration of non-dispensing, clinical pharmacists into the family practice team.


The editorial was funded by departmental resources.



This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Family Practice following peer review. The version of record 'Cardwell K, Smith SM. Clinical pharmacists working within family practice: what is the evidence? Family Practice. 2018;35(2):120-121' is available online at:

Published Citation

Cardwell K, Smith SM. Clinical pharmacists working within family practice: what is the evidence? Family Practice. 2018;35(2):120-121.

Publication Date

6 February 2018

PubMed ID



  • HRB Centre for Primary Care Research
  • General Practice

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services


Oxford University Press (OUP)


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)