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”Research activities strengthen pharmacy’s role as a healthcare expert”

Surveys conducted in pharmacies are bringing patients’ voices to the development of pharmacotherapy. At Jumbon Apteekki, a pharmacy in Oriola’s research pharmacy network, the staff also value being involved with advancing more effective treatment. For example, an ongoing national diabetes study is gathering important information from the treatment of the disease.

15.9.2021

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According to Heidi Loponen (left) and Kim Rattay from Jumbon Apteekki, research activities bring variation and interesting content to daily work at the pharmacy.

Patient reported outcome (PRO) studies produce information about the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy in patients’ daily lives. The studies investigate for instance the factors affecting quality of life, the impacts of reimbursement changes or commitment to treatment. Oriola conducts PRO studies annually in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies and its research pharmacy network, which covers more than 180 pharmacies across Finland.

Jumbon Apteekki, a pharmacy in the city of Vantaa, has been part of the research pharmacy network for a long time. As a meeting place for healthcare professionals and people, research activities fit naturally with pharmacies, says Kim Rattay (M.Sc. Pharm.), and Heidi Loponen (B.Sc. Pharm.) who leads research activities at Jumbon Apteekki.

“Taking part in conducting studies to develop treatment is a natural part of pharmacies’ role in advancing health. In addition to medication, people seek information from pharmacies, and we are often more easily reached than a doctor. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly getting information from pharmacies since healthcare resources have been tight. People trust pharmacies’ expertise and research activities strengthen this perception,” says Loponen.

New information and deeper customer relationships

Research activities bring variation and interesting content to daily work at the pharmacy.

“I believe all pharmacists are motivated by the opportunity to advance for example the treatment of major diseases, such as cancer. Study findings also bring new information and help to deepen our own expertise. Additionally, research activities create added value for us as an employer, since we can offer different types of work experience for those who are interested,” says Rattay.

Type 2 diabetes is an example of a disease that causes a significant burden to both diabetics and society. Its treatment practices in Finland are currently mapped in an ongoing survey. The aim is also to investigate how people with diabetes understand their own treatment, and how treatment is realised among patients with concomitant cardiovascular diseases. Oriola is conducting the survey in collaboration with research pharmacies and Boehringer Ingelheim.

“The survey has been well-received by our customers, and they have been happy to get their voice heard. Many may have taken diabetes medication for decades, but they still haven’t necessarily discussed their treatment regularly with healthcare professionals. For our customers, participation in studies can offer new information but also get them thinking about their own situation and encourage them to contact a doctor. The conversations related to the studies also deepen customer relationships at the pharmacy,” says Loponen.

Did you know this about PRO studies?

  • PRO studies are especially suited to situations when seeking information related to patients’ quality of life, compliance to treatment or factors that affect selecting between different treatments.
  • Patient surveys can be part of more extensive Real World Evidence (RWE) register studies, which produce data about the comprehensive effectiveness of pharmacotherapy.
  • The study results are used for example to support product development, pricing and reimbursement applications, and the development of support services related to treatment.
  • In international terms, Oriola’s research pharmacy network is a unique way of acquiring PRO data.