Transformation of hospital pharmacy in China - from count, mix, supply, to patient care on the ward

16 August 2012

Health improvements have been falling behind the rapid pace of economic development in China which has led to discontent and criticism towards government, going against the nation's guiding principle to build a harmonious society.  Consequently an ambitious health-care reform is currently underway, aiming to provide affordable and equitable basic health care for all by 2020, however transformation to cost-effective services is difficult, and health expenditure and out-of-pocket payments are still requiring attention.  At the same time, irrational drug use is threatening the health and safety of the Chinese public.  Due to distorted pricing for medical services, physicians tend to overprescribe drugs for financial incentives. In fact, China is among the countries where antimicrobials and infusions are unnecessarily overused.

Internationally, the roles of pharmacists have expanded from compounding and supplying drugs to patient focused care, which has been shown to lower mortality, prevent adverse drug events, reduce costs, reduce medication errors and reduce patient's length of stay in hospitals.

In China, considering the fact that hospitals deliver more than 90% of outpatient and inpatient services, and dispense more than 70% of the nation's medications, we could expect hospital pharmacists, in their evolving roles, to improve the quality use of medicines and patient safety, and make a difference in the health-care reform.

Over the last 10 years, a series of policies have been issued to promote pharmacists' involvement in direct patient care to ensure quality use of medicines and patient safety.  The presentation by Chinese pharmacist Ryan Li will highlight measures that have been taken and some achievements that have been made.  He will also discuss the future development of hospital pharmacists in China and the future of this profession.


Yan Li is a Masters student of the six-year continuous program for pharmacy at Peking University, which is the first of its kind in China.  He is also a pharmacist based at Peking University Third Hospital who focuses on clinical practice in cardiology.  He serves as a part-time editor for medical website Unividas and is keen to write popular science articles to the public.

His pharmacy department maintains the highest standard of service, education and research and is widely acknowledged among the best in China.  More than 10 pharmacists from different hospitals visit his department to be trained each year, so he has first-hand observations of the changes taking place in China.  Earlier this year, he accompanied researchers from the University of Sydney to observe clinical pharmacy practices in 30 hospitals in China as a young liaison and translator.  He is currently visiting the University to assist researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy with their research about development of hospital pharmacy in China.  His visit is generously sponsored by China Studies Centre.


RSVP here.

Time: 5.30-6.30PM

Location: Room 310, Old Teachers College, the University of Sydney