Dispensing activity in a community pharmacy-based repeat dispensing pilot project

Keith A. Wilson*, Jill K. Jesson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To measure changes in dispensing activity in a UK repeat dispensing pilot study and to estimate any associated cost savings. Method: Patients were provided with two successive three-monthly repeat prescriptions containing all of the items on their "repeat medicines list" and valid at a study pharmacy. Pharmacists consulted with patients at the time of supply and completed a patient-monitoring form. Prescriptions with pricing data were returned by the UK Prescription Pricing Authority. These data were used to calculate dispensing activity, the cost of dispensed items and an estimate of cost savings on non-dispensed items. A retrospective identification of items prescribed during the six months prior to the project was used to provide a comparison with those dispensed during the project and thus a more realistic estimate of changes. Setting: 350 patients from two medical practices in a large English City, with inner city and suburban locations, and served by seven pharmacies. Key findings: There were methodological challenges in establishing a robust framework for calculating changes. Based on all of the items that patients could have obtained from their repeat list, 23.8% were not dispensed during the intervention period. A correction was then made to allow for a comparison with usage in the six months prior to the study. Based on the corrected data, there was an estimated 11.3% savings in drug costs compared with the pre-intervention period. There was a marked difference in changes between the two practices, the pharmacies and individual patients. The capitation-based remuneration method was acceptable to all but one of the community pharmacists. Conclusion: The repeat dispensing system reduced dispensing volume in comparison with the control period. A repeat dispensing system with a focus on patients' needs and their use of medicines might be cost neutral.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • dispensing activity
  • UK
  • repeat dispensing
  • cost savings
  • repeat prescriptions


Dive into the research topics of 'Dispensing activity in a community pharmacy-based repeat dispensing pilot project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this