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A focus group based study of the perspectives of the Maltese population and healthcare professionals on medication wastage.

West, Lorna Marie; Diack, Lesley; Cordina, Maria; Stewart, Derek


Lorna Marie West

Lesley Diack

Maria Cordina

Derek Stewart


The World Health Organization states that globally more than half of all medication is inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or sold with a need to implement wastage reduction strategies. Developing processes which include behaviour change theories, such as the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), significantly impacts the positive implementation of evidence into healthcare practice. Objective To describe and understand the beliefs and behaviours regarding medication wastage of the Maltese public and healthcare professionals (HCPs) and to explore potential solutions. Setting: Malta. Method Five 90 min audio recorded focus groups (2 public and 3 HCPs) were conducted with a purposive sample who responded to a previous survey study and were willing to participate in focus groups in Malta. The guide was based upon the TDF with interview questions derived from findings of the questionnaire phase. Focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis was carried using the framework approach. Main outcome measure Beliefs and behaviours regarding medication wastage and potential solutions to reduce medication wastage. Results A total of eleven pharmacists, six doctors and six members of the public consented to participate. Focus groups conducted with HCPs and the general public identified the following four key themes aligned with the TDF domains to address proposed solutions to minimise medication wastage: (1) practitioner effects; (2) patients effects; (3) political effects; (4) societal effects. Conclusion This study has employed a theoretical framework to obtain a better understanding of facilitators which require attention as part of strategic development.


WEST, L.M., DIACK, L., CORDINA, M. and STEWART, D. 2016. A focus group based study of the perspectives of the Maltese population and healthcare professionals on medication wastage. International journal of clinical pharmacy [online], 38(5), pages 1241-1249. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2016
Publication Date Oct 31, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 29, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 30, 2017
Journal International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Print ISSN 2210-7703
Electronic ISSN 2210-7711
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 5
Pages 1241-1249
Keywords Awareness; Behaviour; Focus groups; Healthcare professionals; Malta; Medication wastage
Public URL


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