A systematic review of the literature comparing the practices of dispensing and non-dispensing doctors

Lim, David, Emery, Jon, Lewis, Janice, & Sunderland, V Bruce (2009) A systematic review of the literature comparing the practices of dispensing and non-dispensing doctors. Health Policy, 92(1), pp. 1-9.

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Objectives: Some doctors perform the dual roles of prescribing and dispensing pharmaceuticals. The dispensing doctors (DDs) role may give rise to prescribing behaviours that vary from those of non-DDs. The aim of this review was to systematically and comparatively appraise the research evidence related to the practices of DDs.

Methods: A systematic search of bibliographic databases and reference lists from selected papers were the sources of the data. Inclusion criteria were papers published in English, between 1970 and 2008 that provided quantitative data comparing the practices of DDs and non-DDs. At least two of the authors abstracted data from all eligible papers using a purpose-made data extraction form.

Results: Twenty-one papers were included in this review. Evidence indicated that DDs prescribed more pharmaceutical items and less often generically than non-DDs. There was limited evidence to suggest that DDs prescribed less judiciously and were associated with poor dispensing standards. Patient convenience and access to pharmaceuticals were main reasons for doctors to dispense.

Conclusion: DDs can fill an important gap in the provision of pharmaceuticals for their patients especially where health workforce shortages exist. There was evidence the dispensing role influenced prescribing. Patient convenience should be balanced against scarce medical resources, being utilised for dispensing.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
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8 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 60793
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Lim, David Emery, Jon Lewis, Janice Sunderland, V. Bruce
Keywords: systematic review, doctors, dispensing
DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2009.01.008
ISSN: 1872-6054
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 14 Jun 2013 03:16
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2016 01:58

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