Review of services provided by pharmacies that promote healthy living

David Brown, Jane Portlock, P. Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - The recognition that community pharmacies have the potential to make a greater contribution to promoting public health has led to a new concept, called the Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP). These are designed to meet public health needs through a tiered commissioning framework delivering health and well being services through community pharmacy, tailored to local requirements for tackling health inequalities.

Aim - To search the literature for quality evidence to support the inclusion of services in the HLP portfolio and suggest areas where more evidence is required.

Method - A systematic review of the research literature covering the period January 1990–August 2011 inclusive, using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Pharmline, NHS Evidence and the Cochrane databases. On-line searching of the grey literature (e.g. conference proceedings) was also carried out. Standard methods of assessing quality were employed.

Results - A total of 377 papers were included. Over time, there was a marked increase in frequency of publications reflecting a growing pharmacy interest in the public healthcare agenda; over a third (35 %) of papers appeared in the last three-year study period. The body of research had a wide geographical basis; contributions were as follows: UK (51.5 %), US (20.4 %), Australia/New Zealand (9.8 %), Europe (7.7 %) and Canada (7.2 %). The topics of contraception, cardiovascular disease prevention, diabetes and smoking cessation accounted for 40 % of included papers. The literature supports the introduction of specific community pharmacy services, targeted at customer groups, both with and without pre-existing diseases. Good evidence exists for smoking cessation, cardiovascular disease prevention, hypertension and diabetes. Some good evidence exists for interventions on asthma and heart failure. The evidence supporting weight management, sexual health, osteoporosis detection, substance abuse and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is weak and needs development.

Conclusion - There is strong evidence for the role of community pharmacy in a range of services, not only aimed at improving general health, but also maintaining the health of those with existing disease. In other areas, the evidence is less strong and further research is required to justify their inclusion in a HLP portfolio.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-409
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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