Background and Objective: The overuse of antibiotics in the community is a primary cause of antibiotic resistance. Community pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals and so they are in an ideal position to implement interventions to ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics. This study aimed to explore the role of community pharmacists in the optimization of antibiotic prescribing and utilization.
Method: Four focus groups were conducted with community pharmacists in Perth, Western Australia. Audio-recorded data were compared with field notes, transcribed, and thematically analyzed.
Results: There were twenty-four participants in four focus group sessions. Four main themes were identified: patient perceptions and behaviors, prescribing behaviors, pharmacists' roles and responsibilities, and health care system interventions in relation to antibiotic utilization. A number of interventions that could be implemented by community pharmacists were identified. In addition to interventions that are currently in place in Australia, forward dispensing, improved interprofessional collaboration, an expansion of current prescribing role, and vaccination capabilities were also suggested.
Conclusions: This study indicated that current scope of pharmacists' roles has room for more intervention strategies aimed at improving antibiotic prescribing and utilization in the community.