Adherence to treatment: practice, education and research in Danish community pharmacy

  • Lotte S. Haugbølle
  • Hanne Herborg
Keywords: Medication Adherence, Pharmacists, Denmark


Objective: To describe the practice, education and research concerning medication adherence in Danish community pharmacy.

Methods: The authors supplemented their expertise in the area of medication adherence through their contacts with other educators and researchers as well as by conducting searches in the Danish Pharmacy Practice Evidence Database, which provides annually updated literature reviews on intervention research in Danish pharmacy practice.

Results: Practice: Medication adherence is the focus of and/or is supported by a large number of services and initiatives used in pharmacy practice such as governmental funding, IT-supported medicine administration systems, dose-dispensing systems, theme years in pharmacies on adherence and concordance, standards for counselling at the counter, pharmacist counselling, medication reviews and inhaler technique assessment. Education: In Denmark, pharmacy and pharmaconomist students are extensively trained in the theory and practice of adherence to therapy. Pharmacy staff can choose from a variety of continuing education and post-graduate programmes which address patient adherence. Research: Nine ongoing and recently completed studies are described. Early research in Denmark comprised primarily smaller, qualitative studies centred on user perspectives, whereas later research has shifted the focus towards larger, quantitative, controlled studies and action-oriented studies focusing on patient groups with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, asthma, coronary vascular diseases).

Conclusions: Our analysis has documented that Danish pharmaceutical education and research has focused strongly on adherence to treatment for more than three decades. Adherence initiatives in Danish community pharmacies have developed substantially in the past 5-10 years, and, as pharmacies have prioritised their role in health care and patient safety, this development can be expected to continue in future years.


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