Public engagement workshop: how to improve medicines for older people?
Public engagement in medication management has become more and more important in promoting population health. A public engagement workshop attended by 78 members of the geriatric community, family carers as well as professionals from academic research, industry and regulatory agencies entitled 'How to improve medicines for older people?' took place on the 2nd July 2013 at the University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy. The main aim of the event was to provide a dynamic environment for information exchange and to identify ways of improving current and future geriatric drug therapy. The day opened with presentations from UCL School of Pharmacy researchers on the use of medicines at home, formulations, administration devices and multi-component compliance aids (MCAs) whilst a representative from UCL Interaction Centre gave an insightful presentation on human errors and resilience strategies regarding medication use. These opening presentations encouraged participants to share their own experiences as well as initiating a lively debate. Following the plenary presentations, the workshop was divided into 8 groups for parallel discussion session. These opinion sharing sessions witnessed fruitful discussions between patients, carers and researchers. The day closed with a panel session of representatives from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Geriatric Medicines Society and Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT). Participants were encouraged to voice their questions, concerns and recommendations about medications. The main concern expressed by both patients and carers from the workshop were (but are not limited to) formulation changes, MCA accessibility difficulties, interactions of different medicines, carers' concerns with the administration of medicines and not having enough knowledge of services provided by community pharmacists i.e. medicines use reviews (MURs) or new medicine service (NMS). Overall, this workshop created a useful forum for members of the geriatric community, their carers as well as research and industrial professionals to have an input in the improvement and management of geriatric drug therapy and this event also provided an excellent opportunity for the researchers to share the latest research innovations with attendees.