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Wiki_PhC Definitions

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Pharmaceutical Care definitions, an inventory


Pharmaceutical practice shows a large variety world-wide. Therefore the term “Pharmaceutical Care” knows many interpretations (see also: Anonymous. Pharmaceutical Care, towards an international understanding? Pharm.J. 1999;263(7063): 464 or van Mil JWF, Fernandez-Llimos, F. What is 'Pharmaceutical Care' in 2013. Int J Clin Pharm 2013;35;1-2 (free) . The development of the term started in 1975, and has for the time being (in 2017) been consolidated with the definition of the pharmaceutical care network Europe: 'Pharmaceutical care is the Pharmacist's contribution to the care of individuals in order to optimize medicine use and improve health outcomes'

One viewpoint is that it represents all the activities concerning the dispensing of the medicines. But it is a common understanding that the mere delivery of medicines is not pharmaceutical care, and not even a part of it.  Some think it is only counselling patients about their medicines, but the care includes all which is aimed at improving the outcomes of treatment, except for the simple dispensing. But there still are multiple interpretations, which may also be cause by the fact that language differences mean that the English term “Pharmaceutical care” cannot always be adequately translated.

What pharmaceutical care is to one person is called medicines management by the other. But the essential elements are almost everywhere the same and the philosophy of the pharmaceutical care has been accepted in many countries as a primary mission of pharmacy. It has been difficult to get the definition harmonized, even per continent. But in march 2020, the Council of Europe published a resolution on the implementation of pharmaceutical care in the respective European countries. In that resolution they used the Hepler Strand definition: Pharmaceutical care is “the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life” and it “involves the process through which a pharmacist co-operates with a patient and other professionals in designing, implementing and monitoring a therapeutic plan that will produce specific therapeutic outcomes for the patient”. A copy of this resolution can be found here




Definition Author/Organisation
The care that a given patient requires and receives which assures safe and rational drug usage Mikael RL , Brown TR, Lazarus HL, Vinson  MC.  Quality of pharmaceutical care in hospitals. Am J Hosp Pharm  1975;32:567-574.
Pharmaceutical care includes the determination of the drug needs for a given individual and a provision not only of the drugs required but also of the necessary services (before, during or after treatment) to assure optimally safe and effective therapy. It includes a feedback mechanism as a means of facilitating continuity of care by those who provide it Brodie DC, Parish PA, Poston JW. Societal needs for drugs and drug-related services. Am J Pharm Educ 1980;44:276-278.
Pharmaceutical care is a covenantal relationship between a patient and a pharmacist in which the pharmacist performs drug-use control functions (with appropriate knowledge and skills) governed by awareness of and commitment to the patients' interest. Hepler CD. The third wave in pharmacy education: the clinical movement. Am J Pharm Educ 1987;51:369-85
Pharmaceutical care is defined as the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of the achieving definite outcomes that improve the patient’s quality of life. Those outcomes are: (1) cure the disease, (2) elimination or reduction of a patient’s symptomatology Hepler, C.D and Strand, L.M., “Opportunities and responsibilities in pharmaceutical care”, Am.J. Pharm.Educ., 1998;53: 7S-14S also in Am J Hosp Pharm 1990;47:533-43
Pharmaceutical Care is that component of pharmacy practice which entails the direct interaction of the pharmacist with the patient for the purpose of caring for that patient’s drug-related needs Strand LM, Cipolle RJ, Morley PC. Pharmaceutical Care: an introduction. Kalamzoo, MI: Upjohn Company 1992
A practice for which the practitioner takes responsibility for a patient s drug therapy needs and is held accountable for this commitment Linda Strand. A pharmacy pioneer - Remington Medal address . Int Pharm J 1997;11:69
Pharmaceutical care as a service which systematically and continuously monitors the clinical and psychosocial effects of drug therapy on a patient Munroe WP, Dalmady-Israel C. The community pharmacist's role in disease management and managed care. Int Pharm J 1998;12:suppl II.
Pharmaceutical care (Farmaceutische Patiëntenzorg, FPZ) is the structured intensified care of the pharmacist for an optimal pharmacotherapy in which the patient and his condition are the primary concern. The aim is to obtain an optimal Health Related Quality of Life van Mil JWF, Tromp TFJ, de Jong-van den Berg LTW. Pharmaceutical Care de zorg van de apotheker. [Pharmaceutical care, the care of the pharmacist] 1993;43:1243-1247.
Pharmaceutical care: The care given by the pharmacy team in the field of pharmacotherapy to individual patients, aimed at improving their quality of life Definition developed by the Dutch scientific institute for Pharmacy (WINAp), 1998

The mission of the pharmacist is to provide pharmaceutical care. Pharmaceutical care is the direct, responsible provision of medication – related care for the purpose of the achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life

ASHP Statement on Pharmaceutical Care, reviewed in 1998 by the Council of Professional Affairs and the ASHP Board of Directors and was founded to still be appropriate – American society of Hospital Pharmacy, ASHP statement on pharmaceutical care. Am J Hosp Pharm. 1993; 50:1720-3

Pharmaceutical Care is patient-centered, outcomes oriented pharmacy practice that requires the pharmacist to work in concept with the patient and the patient’s other healthcare providers to promote health, to prevent diseases, and to assess, monitor, initiate, and modify medications use to assure that therapy regiments are safe and effective. 



A patient-centered practice in which the practitioner assumes responsibility for a patient’s drug-related needs and is held accountable for this commitment.

Cipolle RJ, Strand LM, Morley PC. Pharmaceutical care practice: the clinician’s guide. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2004.


World Health Organization (WHO), (1998) defined pharmaceutical care as a system that continually observes the short-term results of the therapy in progress and helps to make corrections to improve management outcomes. The term requires multidisciplinary approach and the term would normally consist of a patient, a pharmacist, and a general practitioner.

Babiker, G.A.R.M., An explorative study of pharmaceutical care practice from the perspective of pharmacists in Malaysia (thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for a Degree of Master of Science-pharmacy), July 2008

Pharmaceutical care is a practice philosophy for pharmacy. It is the way of pharmacists to coach the individual patients with their medication. The concept deals with the way a patient should receive and use medication and should receive education on the use of medicines. The concept also deals with responsibilities, medication surveillance, counseling and the evaluation of  all the outcomes of care.

Foppe van Mil JW, Schulz M, Tromp Th.F.J (Dick). Pharmaceutical care, European developments in concepts, implementation, teaching, and research: a review. Pharm World Sci 2004; 26; 303-311

Pharmaceutical care is the person-focused care relating to medication, which is provided by a pharmacist and the pharmacy team with the aim of improving the outcomes of therapy

Franklin BD, van Mil JWF. Defining Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Care. Pharm World Sci 2005;27:137

Le soin continu, systématique et professionnel exercé par le pharmacien a` l’égard d’un patient

donné dans le but de prévenir ou corriger des problèmes liés aux médicaments

[The contineous, systematic and professional care given by the pharmacist to the individual patient, in order to prevent or correct drug-related problems].

Van Mil in Le Pharmacien Hospitalier 2010 ;45 :79-84

Pharmaceutical care is the Pharmacist's contribution to the care of individuals in order to optimize medicine use and improve health outcomes. Alleman SA, van Mil JWF, Botermann L, Berger K, Griese N, Hersberger KE. Pharmaceutical care: the PCNE definition 2013. Int J Clin Pharm 2014;36:544-55



If you feel that any definitions are missing, please send them, with reference, to the PCNE secretariat at info@pcne.org.



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