Skip to content

A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Medicines Optimisation


Medicines are the most commonly used therapeutic intervention in the NHS, accounting for £16.8 billion annually in England. Over 1 billion prescription items are dispensed annually in the community. Up to 50% of medicines for chronic (long-term) conditions are not used as intended. As a result, patients’ health outcomes are not optimised. Over and under-use of medicines leads to diminished benefits, greater costs and increased harms. This is recognised as a global Patient Safety problem in the World Health Organisation’s Global Challenge “Medication without harm”, which aims to halve severe, avoidable harm globally by 2021.

Medicines Optimisation is “the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes”. The stakeholders of medicines optimisation are patients, public and clinicians (e.g. general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses), commissioners, policy makers and guideline developers.


Project summary

The community successfully brought together stakeholders from the GW4 institutions, who provided a broad range of methodological and specific skills necessary to meet immediate project outcomes, and to develop research priorities arising from the project. A workshop allowed the community to reach consensus about medicines optimisation research priorities and led to a manuscript and development of funding proposals that the community are continuing to progress.

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter