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Fertility patients and their prescriptions: a two-year audit of patient-pharmacist interactions in a reproductive endocrinology practice

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posted on 22.11.2019, 16:47 authored by E Scott Sills, Serhiy A. Shurpyak, Deirdre J. Gorman, Lyuda V. Shkrobot, Grainne U. Murray, Beppi MG O'Connor, Una E. Rapple, Alica O. Fogarty, Pavlina Svarkova, Kathy M. Brickell, David J. Walsh


This study assessed pharmacy performance and satisfaction as reported by patients during ovulation induction therapy.


Patients (n = 1269) receiving gonadotropin prescriptions for intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilisation-embryo transfer in 2007-2008 were prospectively interviewed by nurses and/or completed a structured questionnaire to evaluate pharmacy performance. "Community" (n = 12) and "specialty" (n = 2) pharmacy status (C vs. S) was defined by each pharmacy, and all pharmacies were selected by patients before cycle start. Patient comments about their pharmacy were classified into five types: i) Dispensing error-gonadotropin, ii) Dispensing error-non gonadotropin, iii) Mistake in prescribed medical equipment/supplies, iv) Counselling/communication inaccuracy, and v) Inventory problem or other.


391 pharmacy concerns were reported from 150 fertility patients during the study period. The majority (75.9%) of patients selected a S pharmacy to fill their prescriptions, and this pharmacy type was identified in 2.8% of adverse pharmacy encounters (p < 0.0001). Non-gonadotropin prescriptions filled at C pharmacies accounted for 40.2% of all complaints, followed by problems with prescriptions for supplies (20.2%) and gonadotropins (18.7%) at C pharmacies. Patient conflict involving S pharmacies was limited (n = 11), and related to operating hours and medication delivery logistics.


Fertility patients reported a disproportionate and significantly higher number of adverse pharmacy encounters from C pharmacies compared to S pharmacies. Although no licensing mechanism in Ireland currently recognises special training or certification in any area of pharmacy practice, informal self-designations by pharmacies remain a useful discriminator. Level of familiarity with fertility medicines and availability of inventory are important characteristics to be considered when counselling fertility patients about pharmacy choice. Those who select a C pharmacy should be advised to allow extra time for inventory verification, order confirmation, and additional counselling. Additional study is needed to determine if a minimum volume of fertility-related prescriptions is necessary to assure competence in this particular field of pharmacy practice.



This article is also available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727501/

Published Citation

Sills ES, Shurpyak SA, Gorman DJ, Shkrobot LV, Murray GU, O'Connor BM, Rapple UE, Fogarty AO, Sarkova P, Brickell KM, Walsh DJ. Fertility patients and their prescriptions: a two-year audit of patient-pharmacist interactions in a reproductive endocrinology practice. International Archives of Medicine. 2009;2(1):24.

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  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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