The increase in antimicrobial resistance and the lack of new antimicrobial agents in drug discovery pipelines have called for global attention to mitigate the problem of antimicrobial misuse. While an antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programme has been implemented in Malaysia, the perception and practices of public hospital pharmacists remain unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the perception and practices of Malaysian public hospital pharmacists towards the AMS programme in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.
A cross-sectional study, using a validated 23-item self-administered questionnaire, was conducted among pharmacists from 11 public hospitals in the State of Selangor, Malaysia, from December 2016 to January 2017. All public hospital pharmacists (n=432) were invited to participate in the survey. A 5-point Likert scale was employed in the questionnaire; the perception section was scored from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) while the practice section was scored from 1 (never) to 5 (always). Both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to analyse data.
Of the 432 pharmacists surveyed, 199 responded, giving a response rate of 46.0%. The majority of the respondents agreed (n=190, 95.5%) that the AMS programme improves patient care at their hospitals (median=5; IQR=1). Slightly less than half of the respondents indicated that a local antibiotic guideline was established in their hospitals (median=3, IQR=2.5), and had taken part in antimicrobial awareness campaigns to promote optimal use of antimicrobials in hospitals (median=3, IQR=1).
Overall, the perception and practices of the surveyed hospital pharmacists towards AMS programme were positive. National antibiotic guidelines, which take into consideration local antimicrobial resistance patterns, should be used fully to improve antimicrobial usage and to reduce practice variation. Collaboration among healthcare professionals should be strengthened to minimise the unfavourable consequences of unintended use of antimicrobial agents while optimising clinical outcomes.