The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that unintended, harmful reactions to medication are among the leading causes of death in many countries. The WHO advocates that governments, health professionals and media monitor medicine safety and promote safe medication use. In 1995, Taiwan initiated a National Health Insurance program, which amounts to universal health insurance. Taiwan residents can access comprehensive treatments and obtain many drugs from different health sectors. Pharmaceuticals accounted for 24% of the total National Health expenditure in Taiwan in 2016. The average yearly number of outpatient visits in Taiwan (15.4 visits) was more than twice that in countries associated with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In Taiwan, some people engaged in “doctor-shopping” behavior that was more likely to result in duplicate medications that caused adverse drug reactions.
The correct medication use Health Promoting School (HPS) program was launched in 2009 by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration in cooperation with the Taiwan Ministry of Education and Taiwan Pharmacist Association. Local schools and hospitals worked together to enhance teachers’ capacities to implement correct medication use education that enhances teacher and student competencies with regard to correct medication usage.
The correct medication use HPS program featured a collaborative partnership between schools, local education authorities, hospital/community pharmacists, and university support networks. Teaching materials and resources regarding five core abilities of correct medication use were developed and recruited into the Taiwan HPS website to make it easy for schools to adopt and implement the correct medication use HPS program. Studies indicated that the HPS–community pharmacist partnership had a positive impact on enhancing correct medication use and medication literacy in Taiwan.