General practitioner Practice manager GP practices England Scotland Wales

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Improving patient outcomes through the better use of multi compliance aids (MCA)

On 26 July 2013, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy, published the report 'Improving patient outcomes: The better use of multi-compartment compliance aids' which includes guidance and recommendations for health and social care professionals.

Most GPs and community pharmacists have experienced demands for multi-compartment compliance aids (MCA) from patients, their relatives and social care workers, in the belief that it will assist patients to use their medicines correctly.

Following such demands there has often been little reflection as to whether that intervention improves patient outcomes – and the MCAs have been supplied almost on-demand.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has considered the evidence base, which indicates that MCAs are not a panacea for problems with concordance, and that they should not automatically be the intervention of choice.

Not all medicines are suitable for inclusion in MCAs and health and social care professionals should recognise that re-packaging medication from the manufacturer’s original packaging may often be unlicensed and involves risks and responsibility for the decisions made.

With the lack of evidence of benefit to patient outcomes, it is a recommendation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society that the use of original packs of medicines, supported by appropriate pharmaceutical care, should be the preferred option for the supply of medicines in the absence of a specific need for an MCA as an adherence intervention.

The improvement of patient outcomes will require substantial change in behaviours, with understanding and teamwork needed across primary and social care. Therefore the publication of this guidance document should be shared with:

  • GPs;
  • community pharmacists;
  • hospital pharmacists and other hospital professionals who may be involved in recommending the use of MCAs
  • CCG clinical leaders; and
  • social care professionals and commissioners.


Download the report (Royal Pharmaceutical Society website)