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TELEMATICS IN COMMUNITY PHARMACIES FOR RESPONSIBLE SELF-MEDICATION

Objective

The aim of TESEMED is to explore the application of telematics systems to provide community pharmacy users and professionals with information and education on self-administered medicines. Two prototypes are planned: one on pharmaceutical care protocols to be used by pharmacy professionals, and another one directly addressed to the community pharmacy users. These applications will run on stand-alone systems, and will be disseminated and updated through Internet World-Wide-Web solutions and other telematics means. The project involves the participation of the European organisations of pharmacists and OTC manufacturers. Links with consumer associations and civic health interest groups are also envisaged. National policies on self-medication will be analyzed and taken into account.

Responsible self-medication is a key element in modern societies with respect to health policies. In the European Union many national Ministries of Health have recognised its importance, launching information campaigns and publishing materials intended to assist the citizens in a correct utilisation of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Those policies and programmes are endorsed by international bodies, like the World Health Organization, that has consistently supported responsible self-medication. The EU institutions, through its various bodies and policy actions, has also endorsed the above. The European Commission, in a statement adopted on 1 June 1994 declares that "...Pharmacists have a key role to play in providing assistance, advice and information to the public about self-medication products...".

On the eve of the Information Society, Europe will take benefit from the information highways, facilitating also by electronic means, consumers' access to relevant information and advice on medicines. Medical practitioners and pharmacists, together with the involved industries can and will play an allied role to support and help the public in this respect. The current trends towards self-medication should be accompanied by the strengthening of information measures. Community pharmacies (there are more than 106,000 in the European Union), have a key role to play in providing assistance, advise and information to the public about self-medication products and the circumstances in which a doctor should be consulted. To help the pharmacies to play this role they will require specially-tailored information material and appropriate training.

The aim of TESEMED is to explore the current trends in Europe with respect to responsible self-medication, and the prospects for the application of telematics and information kiosks to provide community pharmacies and professionals with information and education on responsible self-medication. The project involves the participation of the European Association of Pharmacists and the European Proprietary Medicines Manufacture's Association (AESGP). Links with consumers groups and associations concerned with the citizen's interests in health matters, are also foreseen. National policies on self-medication will be analysed.

Available material produced in European countries, including official publications from health ministries and others, will be collected and considered as possible basis for computerised multimedia information systems. Two prototypes are planned: one on pharmaceutical care protocols to be used by pharmacy professionals and another one on information and education on self-medication addressed to the community pharmacy users. These applications will run on information kiosks, and will be disseminated and updated through Internet World-Wide-Web solutions and other telematics means.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica
Address
C/ Dr Aiguader, 80
08003 Barcelona
Spain