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Pharmaceutical care in pharmacies: is there a changing process?

A descriptive study was conducted with 91 pharmacists of the municipality of Jundiaí (state of São Paulo) in order to learn about the professional practice of the pharmacists who work in pharmacies and their knowledge and perceptions about Pharmaceutical Care (PC). Most of them were young (62.6% between 20 and 29 years old), female (63.7%), private institution graduates (90.1%), and were not the owners of the pharmacies (87.9%). They carried out administrative, technical and attention to patient activities, particularly providing guidance and dispensing medications; 67.0% followed their patients' pharmacotherapeutic treatment up, but did not record any information regarding it. To 62.7% of the pharmacists, PC was related only to the guidance and service provided, but those activities were not performed systematically and in an organized way, as recommended. Many (91.2%) considered necessary to work closer to their patients; however, they mentioned difficulties including lack of time, of support from the pharmacy owner, and patient's disinterest. Several of these difficulties have also been verified in other countries, suggesting that the PC practice: (a) requires a structural change and rearrangement of functions since, currently, the structure and the activities are adjusted to the commercial activity; (b) reveals a professional identity crisis and, consequently, lack of social recognition and little insertion in the multiprofessional health team. Knowledge of PC proved to be limited, but the situation can change as the ongoing curriculum changes produce an effect on the education of the new pharmacists.

Pharmaceutical Services; Pharmaceutical Profession; Pharmacists; Pharmacy; Health Promotion

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil