Pharmaceutical care, not known to most health professionals in developing countries including India, is a concept that deals with the way people should receive and use medication, information about medication and instructions for use. The term “pharmaceutical care” originated in the United States but has been widely adopted in all the developed nations. The philosophy of clinical pharmacy concept moved the pharmacist closer to the patient. This concept, however, was subjected to various interpretations; some of them emphasized control of medicine use rather than concentrating on individual patients. In the past two decades, orientation of pharmacists in many countries has shifted from product to patient. The term “Pharmaceutical care” was first defined in the US and used in 1975 to refer to the care that a given patient requires and receives which assures safe and rational medicine use.
Widely accepted definition of Pharmaceutical care: It is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve the patient’s quality of life.
Pharmaceutical care today: In recent years the term “pharmaceutical care” has established itself as a philosophy of practice, with the patient and the community as the primary beneficiaries of the pharmacist’s actions. The concept postulated by Hepler and Strand for the development of pharmaceutical care was adopted by International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) soon after its introduction. In 1996 pharmaceutical care was acknowledged by WHO in a joint statement with FIP on Good Pharmacy Practice in community and hospital practice settings. In adopting this definition, the FIP added one significant amendment, “achieving definite outcomes that improve or maintain the patient’s quality of life”. FIP supports the concept of pharmaceutical care but recognizes the individual needs of different countries. A popular web medical dictionary defines pharmaceutical care as an evolving concept, in which a pharmacist provides services beyond that which can be reasonably provided by physicians–e.g., reviewing a medicine’s intended use, counseling points on compliance and optimal use.