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Insights and optimisation

How the pharmacist has become a key decision maker  

2 Apr 2024 | By Karl Hamer
The role of the pharmacist in the pharma industry has evolved and their place in prescribing has accelerated. They are now key decision makers who need to be considered in pharma’s strategic approaches.

But what’s driven this change?  


Pharmacists have sought to expand their clinical role and be recognised as medication experts. This has led to more pharmacists taking on advanced roles such as independent prescribers, allowing them to directly prescribe and monitor drug therapies. With this advanced training, pharmacists are well positioned to provide recommendations on optimal treatments. 

Professional pharmacy organisations like the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have also advocated for an expanded clinical role for pharmacists and a seat at the table in pharma decisions. 

Leadership efforts have also reinforced the pharmacist’s image as a medication expert. 

Positioning themselves in the product lifecycle 

Pharma has come to appreciate the importance of engaging with pharmacists throughout the product lifecycle. During drug development, clinical pharmacists are advising on dosing, interactions, and other pharmaceutics considerations.  

At product launch, community pharmacists are gatekeepers who recommend new therapies where appropriate within their remit. And pharmacists have a monitoring role, reporting adverse effects and monitoring long-term outcomes that inform post-marketing surveillance. 

Expanded services 

The NHS has also expanded services like the New Medicine Service, where community pharmacists offer enhanced advice and adherence support for patients with long term conditions starting new treatments. With pharmacists on the frontline of patient care, the pharma industry must see them as invaluable partners. 

Using their voice 

Moving forward, pharmacists also look to be increasingly involved in activities like health technology assessments that influence drug reimbursement and formulary decisions. Their expertise in pharmacoeconomics and real-world data gives them a voice in drug value and coverage, too. 

No longer just dispensers of medication, pharmacists are increasingly being seen as key decision makers when it comes to influencing drug development, marketing, and utilisation. Their medication knowledge and patient focus allows them to contribute across the entire life cycle of pharma products. 

At Uniphar, we ensure the pharmacist is engaged in activities wherever appropriate, have a seat around the table in advisory boards and connect the brand to the pharmacist for ongoing engagement.