What is medicines optimisation?

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The present healthcare system faces great challenges due to the increasing numbers of adverse events, poor adherence, increasing numbers of medication incidents and inadequate communication across the primary/secondary care interface. Furthermore, expenditure on medicines is the second largest cost in healthcare. Medicines optimisation will be the answer.
In 2006 the National Health Service (NHS) plan set out the challenge to pharmacy in the document ‘Pharmacy in the Future – Implementing the NHS plan to meet the changing needs of patients’ and recommendations have been produced in an attempt to ensure that there is integrated best practice across the continuum of activity that is ‘medicines management’.
Medicines management is not a new concept. It has been defined as ‘Encompassing the entire way that medicines are selected, procured, delivered, prescribed, administered and reviewed to optimise the contribution that medicines make to producing informed and desired outcomes of patient care’. It includes all aspects of medicinal use, from the prescribing of medicines, the ways in which medicines are taken or not taken by patients to clinical and cost-effectiveness and the safe and secure handling of medicines. A simpler way of thinking about medicines management is that it is about ‘enabling people to make the best possible use of medicines’. In other words: medicines optimisation.