pharmacy record

4 Reasons to Keep Patient Records in Community Pharmacy

A significant number of community pharmacists across Nigeria don’t keep details of the patients that attend them and medications they dispense. It is unclear how significant the number is as the studies don’t really exist. In our work at Wella Health we would estimate that this number would be anywhere between 50 – 60% of community pharmacists, perhaps even more. That is to say that over 1 in 2 pharmacists in the community don’t have a record of what they dispense to their patients. This is shocking in comparison to many other jurisdictions where close to 100% of dispensed medications are recorded.

There are many reasons for this lack of record keeping, some probably valid, however as health care professionals excuses, cannot be our guiding light. We always have to aim to be in line with global best practices.

Here are 4 reasons why you need to keep a patient profile in your community pharmacy:

  • Avoid a fine

The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act (1992 No. 91). Registration of Pharmaceutical
Premises Regulations, 2005, incudes the following sections (emphasis are ours):

Proper Record Keeping

5. { I) Manufacturers, Importers, Wholesalers and Retailers of drugs,
Poisons and devices shall keep appropriate records of the receipt and disposal
of drugs.
(2) Any unauthorized disposal of drugs shall be penalized in accordance with
these regulations.
(3) Retail outlets of drugs, poisons and devices shall keep proper records of
the following:
(a) all receipts of purchases made;
(b) disposal of Poisons ;
(c) ledgers/bin cards; and
(d) dispensed prescription.

12. A person who contravenes or fails to comply with the provisions of these
regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine

The law is clear, retail pharmacies must keep records of dispensed prescriptions or face a fine. With revenue/ funding at dismal levels for many government bodies, don’t be surprised when this regulation starts getting enforced and you receive notice of a fine.


  • Pharmaceutical Care

The provision of pharmaceutical care is now the rage in modern pharmacy practice. Going beyond just simple dispensing to also helping patients eliminate or reduce their symptoms and promote their wellness is now key. However, how can you hope to do this effectively when you don’t have a record of who your patient is? You wouldn’t know how to contact them and you can’t even tell what medication you dispensed to them last month. To have any hope of providing proper pharmaceutical care, it’s imperative that you keep a good patient record.


  • Patient Safety

Without proper patient records, there is no way to guarantee safety. If the patient had an allergic or adverse reaction to a previous drug it would be difficult to tell. It’s not uncommon to hear of patients being given penicillin or an ACE inhibitor when they’ve previously had a reaction to it. Also if a patient comes with a new prescription, how would you check if it interacts with their previous medications when you don’t have a record.

Read: ‘how would you recall a drug in your pharmacy if you had to’

Even simpler is the fact that patients quickly forget most instructions and the name of the drug you tell them

See this funny video of Emmanuella the comedian who asked a chemist for latrine instead of combantrin.

Practicing pharmacy without a proper patient record is simply unsafe.

  • Patient Surveys/ Research

Conducting patient surveys or research on how to improve your pharmacy’s service would be difficult without patient records. As you don’t have a database of patients, you wouldn’t be able to easily send surveys to calculate key performance indicators such as a Net promoter score or deliver digital surveys to gain insights on how to better serve your clients. Keeping a record enables you always have a finger on the pulse of all your patients whenever you need to.


Keeping patient records is in line with International best practice. It keeps your patients safe and satisfied and helps you provide the best possible pharmaceutical care. You may use pen and paper but that’s cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Another option is Microsoft software packages. Similar to paper, this can be cumbersome to maintain, reconcile and access at the time it’s required. WellaHealth has created an easy to use pharmacy record system that’s available securely from anywhere and anytime. Integrated to it are automatic SMS messages that promote patient loyalty. It’s in use by hundreds of pharmacies who’ve seen patient growth and increase in revenues as a result. Get in touch to get started now.

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