Professor Debi Bhattacharya

Professor of Behavioural Medicine

School/Department: Allied Health Professions, School of



I am Professor of Behavioural Medicine at the University of Leicester and a primary care pharmacist. I lead a portfolio of research applying behavioural science to medicine-related challenges. I am experienced in delivering research spanning the full spectrum from diagnosing the nature of the problem through to designing targeted interventions and large-scale testing in definitive trials. My work includes both patient and practitioner behaviour change; two key strands are supporting deprescribing and medication adherence. Current research programmes that I am leading on these topics include:

  • CHARMER which is a five year, £2.4M NIHR funded research programme to design and test a deprescribing intervention across 24 hospitals in England.
  • IMAB-Qi which is a five year, £2.7M NIHR funded research programme to design and test a medication adherence intervention across 38 medical practices in England.

I am also passionate about research capacity building to secure the future of evidence-based healthcare. I am currently leading the NIHR incubator for pharmacy professionals which is three years of funding to build research capacity amongst the pharmacy profession.

My national/international roles include membership of the funding panels for NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and NIHR pre-application support fund, Pharmacy Research Advisory group and editorial boards for the journals Patient Preference and Adherence and International Journal of Pharmacy practice.


Grants as lead applicant/primary supervisor

The Identification of Medication Adherence Barriers Questionnaire intervention (IMAB-Qi): Developing a package to support IMAB-Qi delivery in general practice and a trial to test IMAB-Qi effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, National Institute for Health and Care Research, £2,695,924.49 


Development of a trial to evaluate a theory and evidence-based medication adherence intervention to enhance structured medica, NIHR Programme Development Grant, £115,000 


CompreHensive geriAtRician-led MEdication Review (CHARMER), NIHR Programme grant, £2,400,000 

09/2020- 31/08/2025

Medication adherence intervention implementation, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration, £75,000 


Developing an evidence-based, feasible and acceptable approach to deprescribing long-term opiates, NIHR CLAHRC East of England, £29,000 


Improving treatment adherence in people with diabetes mellitus, European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes, £500,000 


Development of a medication adherence tool for people with bipolar disorder, NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, £330,000 


Development of a novel service model for older cancer survivors, Pharmacy Research UK, £32,000 


Developing a model for deprescribing in hospital, Pharmacy Research UK, £19,000 


Determining patient health literacy during a medicine consultation, Pharmacy Research UK, £37,000 


Identification of barriers to medication adherence, Pharmacy Research UK, £67,000 

06/2014- 12/2015

Exploring the effect of medication acceptability on adherence, Xeolas Pharmaceuticals, £54,000 


RCT of multi-compartment medication devices to estimate their effect on adherence, NIHR Health Technology Appraisal, £380,000 


Evaluation and enhancement of adherence to eye drop therapy using qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, Norwich Glaucoma Research Trust, £63,000 


A pilot study of the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Multicompartment Medication Devices, NIHR Health Technology Appraisal, £368,982 


Development of a community pharmacist led adherence intervention, University of East Anglia, £55,000 


The role of electronic discharge summaries in error reduction, NHS funded PhD studentship, £55,000 


Community pharmacist led adherence intervention for eczema, Numark Pharmacies, £17,000 


Development and validation of an adherence assessment tool, University of East Anglia, £55,000 


Active grants as co-applicant

Scalable low-cost interventions to support medication adherence in people prescribed treatment for hypertension in primary care, NIHR PGfAR, £2.2M   


Feasibility of a tailored text messaging adherence intervention, NIHR RfPB, £2.2M




Developing a core outcome set for evaluating medication adherence interventions for adults prescribed long-term medication in primary care. Debi Bhattacharya, Kumud Kantilal, Jacqueline Martin-Kerry, Vanessa Millar, Allan Clark, David Wright, Katherine Murphy, David Turner, Sion Scott. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 2024. 


geriAtRician-led MEdication Review (CHARMER): protocol for a feasibility study of a hospital deprescribing behaviour change intervention. Scott, S., Atkins, B., Martin-Kerry, J.... Bhattacharya, D. BMJ Open 2023.

Developing and testing complex behaviour change interventions to support proactive deprescribing: A narrative review. S Scott, J Martin-Kerry, D Bhattacharya. Basic Clin Pharmacol and Toxi 2023.

Co-design of a behaviour change intervention to equip geriatricians and pharmacists to proactively deprescribe medicines that are no longer needed or are risky to continue in hospital. Sion Scott, Bethany Atkins, Ian Kellar…….. D Bhattacharya. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2023.

Understanding how primary care practitioners can be supported to recognise, screen and initially diagnose oropharyngeal dysphagia: protocol for a behavioural science realist review. C Smith, D Bhattacharya, S Scott. BMJ open 13 (2)


A personalised intervention programme aimed at improving adherence to oral antidiabetic and/or antihypertensive medication in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the INTENSE. M Langendoen-Gort, H Al-Jabr, JG Hugtenburg, F Rutters, M de Wit, D Bhattacharya, Ameen Abu-Hanna, Andrew Farmer, Petra JM Elders. Trials 23 (1), 1-15.2022

A Theory-Informed Systematic Review of Barriers and Enablers to Implementing Multi-Drug Pharmacogenomic Testing. E Youssef, D Bhattacharya, R Sharma, DJ Wright. Journal of Personalized Medicine 12 (11), 1821.2022

Developing a core outcome set for hospital deprescribing trials for older people under the care of a geriatrician. J Martin-Kerry, J Taylor, S Scott, M Patel, D Wright, A Clark, D Turner, David Phillip Alldred, Katherine Murphy, Victoria Keevil, Miles D Witham, Ian Kellar, D Bhattacharya. Age and Ageing 51 (11), 2022

A review of trial and real‐world data applying elements of a realist approach to identify behavioural mechanisms supporting practitioners to taper opioids. Bhattacharya, D, Whiteside, H., Tang, E., Kantilal, K., Loke, Y., Atkins, B., & Hill, C. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2022

Facilitating healthcare practitioners to deliver self-management support in adult cancer survivors: a realist review. Kantilal, K., Hardeman, W., Whiteside, H., Karapanagioutou, E., Small, M., & Bhattacharya, D. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2022

Barriers And Enablers To Switching From A Solid To A Liquid Formulation Of Parkinson’s Medication: A Theory-Based Mixed Methods Investigation. Atkins, B., Bhattacharya, D., Smith, C., & Scott, S. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2022.


Anticholinergic burden in older adult inpatients: patterns from admission to discharge and associations with hospital outcomes.Herrero-Zazo, M., Berry, R., Bines, E., Bhattacharya, D., Myint, P. K. & Keevil, V. L., 6 May 2021, In : Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety. 12, p. 1-13 13 p.

Mapping modifiable determinants of medication adherence in bipolar disorder (BD) to the theoretical domains framework (TDF): a systematic review. Prajapati, A. R., Dima, A., Mosa, G., Scott, S., Song, F., Wilson, J. & Bhattacharya, D., May 2021, In : Psychological Medicine. 51, 7, p. 1082-1098 17 p.

The feasibility of the PAM intervention to support treatment-adherence in people with hypertension in primary care. A randomised clinical controlled trial. Kassavou, A., Mirzaei, V., Shpendi, S., Brimicombe, J., Chauhan, J., Bhattacharya, D., Naughton, F., Hardeman, W., Eborall, H., van Emmenis, M., De Simoni, A., Takhar, A., Gupta, P., Patel, P., Mascolo, C., Prevost, A. T., Morris, S., Griffin, S., McManus, R. J., Mant, J. & 1 others, , 26 Apr 2021, In : Scientific Reports. 11, 8897.

A practitioner behaviour change intervention for deprescribing in the hospital setting. Scott, S., May, H., Patel, M., Wright, D. J. & Bhattacharya, D., Mar 2021, In : Age and Ageing. 50, 2, p. 581–586 6 p.

Barriers and facilitators to pharmacists integrating into the ward-based multidisciplinary team: a systematic review and meta-synthesis. Hatton, K., Bhattacharya, D., Scott, S. & Wright, D., 16 Feb 2021, In : Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

The role of behavioural science in changing deprescribing practice Scott, S., Wright, D. J. & Bhattacharya, D., Jan 2021, In : British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 87, 1, p. 39-41 3 p.


Assessing the acceptability of a text messaging service and smartphone app to support patient adherence to medications prescribed for high blood pressure: A pilot study Kassavou, A., Court, C. A., Chauhan, J., Brimicombe, J., Bhattacharya, D., Naughton, F., Hardeman, W., Mascolo, C. & Sutton, S., 21 Sep 2020, In : Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 6, 1, 14 p., 134 .

K Kantilal, W Hardeman,…..Bhattacharya, D. Realist review protocol for understanding the real-world barriers and enablers to practitioners implementing self-management support to people living with and beyond cancer. BMJ open 10 (9), e037636 2020

N Wali, A Renzaho, X Wang, B Atkins, D Bhattacharya. Do interventions to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy recognise diversity? A systematic review. AIDS care, 1-152020

A Kassavou, J Chauhan, J Brimicombe, D Bhattacharya et al. Assessing the acceptability of a text messaging service and smartphone app to support patient adherence to medications prescribed for high blood pressure: a pilot study. 2020

R Shenoy, S Scott, D Bhattacharya. Quantifying and characterising multi-compartment compliance aid provision. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 16 (4), 560-567


ScottS……..Bhattacharya, D. Development of a hospital deprescribing implementation framework: A focus group study with geriatricians and pharmacists. Age and Ageing. 2019 Nov. 10.1093

Shenoy, R, Scott, S, Bhattacharya, D. Quantifying and characterising multi-compartment compliance aid provision. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2019

Easthall, C.E, Taylor, N, Bhattacharya, D. Barriers to medication adherence in long-term conditions: A conceptual framework to support intervention development. International Journal of Pharm Prac 2019

Wright, D.J, Scott, S, Buck, J, Bhattacharya, D. Role of nurses in supporting proactive deprescribing. Nursing Standard. doi 10. 2019

Stewart, C, Bond, C.M, Bhattacharya, D, Myint, P. Barriers and facilitators to reducing anticholinergic burden from the perspectives of patients, their carers, and healthcare professionals: A protocol for qualitative evidence synthesis. Journal of Evidence based Medicine. 2019

Scott S…….. Bhattacharya, D. Attitudinal predictors of older peoples' and caregivers' desire to deprescribe in hospital. BMC Geriatrics. 2019 Apr 15;19. 108.

Prajapati A…….. Bhattacharya, D. Mapping of modifiable barriers and facilitators of medication adherence in bipolar disorder to the Theoretical Domains Framework: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. 2019

Katangwe T, Bhattacharya D, Twigg M. A systematic review exploring characteristics of lifestyle modification interventions in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes for delivery in community pharmacy. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2019 Feb;27(1):3-16.

Wright D, Scott S, Buck J, Bhattacharya D. Roles of nurses in supporting proactive deprescribing. Nursing Standard. 2019 Jan 14.

Wright D, Bhattacharya D, Scott S. Deprescribing: Routine pharmacy practice or an exciting research opportunity? International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2019.


Easthall C, Taylor N, Bhattacharya D. Barriers to medication adherence in patients prescribed medicines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a conceptual framework. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2018 Oct 3.

Scott S…….. Bhattacharya, D. Deprescribing admission medication at a UK teaching hospital; a report on quantity and nature of activity. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. 2018 Oct;40(5):991–996.


Scott, S, Clark, A, May, H & Bhattacharya, D 2018, 'Validation and Feasibility of the Medication Acceptability Questionnaire to Investigate Tablet and Liquid Alendronic Acid with Older Hospital Patients', Pharmacy, vol. 6, 84.

Hammad EA, Bale A, Wright DJ, Bhattacharya D. Pharmacy led medicine reconciliation at hospital: a systematic review of effects and costs. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2017 Mar;13(2):300–312.


Twigg MJ, Bhattacharya D, Clark A, et al. What do patients need to know? A study to assess patients' satisfaction with information about medicines. Int J Pharm Pract 2016 doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12252 [published Online First: 2016/02/16

Watson, S, Aldus, C, Bond, C.M, Bhattacharya, D.Systematic review of the health and societal effects of medication organisation devices.BMC Health Services Research. 2016

Bhattacharya, D.A review of strategies to identify medication non-adherence and to implement appropriate solutions.Osteoporosis Review.2016. Vol 24, issue 1, pages 16-21

Bhattacharya, D, Aldus, et al.The feasibility of determining the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Medication Organisation Devices compared to usual care for older people in a community setting: Systematic review, stakeholder focus groups and feasibility RCT.Health Technology Assessment. 2016


Adams, R.P, Barton, G, Bhattacharya, D et al. Supervised pharmacy student-led medication review in primary care for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled pilot study.BMJ Open.2015

Cate, H, Bhattacharya, D, et al..A comparison of measures used to describe adherence to glaucoma medication in a randomised controlled trial.Clinical Trials 2015:DOI: 10.1177/1740774515592636

Duell P, Wright D, Renzaho, Bhattacharya D. A. Optimal health literacy measurement for the clinical setting: A systematic review.Patient education and counselling 2015: DOI information: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.04.003

Twigg, M.J, Bhattacharya, D, Desborough, J.A, Wright, D.J. A drop-in clinic for patients with poorly-controlled diabetes: a community pharmacy feasibility study.International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 37, Issue 2, March 2015


Hammad E, Bhattacharya D, Wright D, Nunney I, Walton C. Adherence to UK national guidance for discharge information: an audit in primary care.British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Volume 78, Issue 6,pages 1453–1464, December 2014

Yemm, R, Bhattacharya, D, Wright, D.J, Poland, F. What constitutes a high quality discharge summary? A comparison between the views of secondary and primary care doctors. International Journal of Medical Education 2014, 5:125-131doi: 10.5116/ijme.538b.3c2e

Cate, H, Bhattacharya, D, Clark, A, Holland, Fordham, R, R, Broadway, D.C.Improving adherence to glaucoma medication: a randomised controlled trial of a patient-centred intervention (The Norwich Adherence Glaucoma Study). BMC Ophthalmology 2014, 14:32doi:10.1186/1471-2415-14-32

Salter C, McDaid L, Bhattacharya D, Holland R, Marshall T, Howe, Abandoned Acid? Understanding Adherence to Bisphosphonate Medications for the Prevention of Osteoporosis among Older Women: A Qualitative Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE 2014; 9(1): e83552. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083552


Adams, R, May, H, Swift, L, Bhattacharya, D.Do older patients find multi-compartment medication devices easy to use and which are the easiest?Age and Ageing 2013; DOI: 10.1093/ageing/aft113

Easthall C, Song F, Bhattacharya D.A meta-analysis of cognitive-based behaviour change techniques as interventions to improve medication adherence. BMJ Open 2013; 3(8) doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002749

Cate, H, Bhattacharya, D, Clark, A, Holland, R, Broadway, D.C.Patterns of adherence behaviour for patients with glaucoma.Eye, 2013, 27(4):545-53. doi:10.1038/eye.2012.294

Cate, H, Bhattacharya, D, Clark, A, Holland, R, Fordham, R, Broadway, D.C.Protocol for a randomised controlled trial to estimate the effects and costs of a patient centred educational intervention in glaucoma management.BMC Ophthalmology. 12:57


Twigg MJ, Desborough JA, Poland F, Bhattacharya D, Wright D.The current and future roles of community pharmacists: views and experiences of patients with type 2 diabetes.Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 2012. doi:

Michael J. Twigg, James A. Desborough, Debi Bhattacharya, David J. Wright.An audit of prescribing for type 2 diabetes in primary care: optimising the role of the community pharmacist in the primary healthcare team. Primary Health Care Research & Development 2012. doi:10.1017/S1463423612000345

Twigg MJ, Bhattacharya D, Poland F, Desborough JA, Wright D.The views of pharmacists who participated in a community pharmacy RCT. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00228

Fogg, A, Staufenberg, E, Small, I, Bhattacharya, D.An exploratory study of primary care pharmacist Led Epilepsy Consultations.International Journal of Pharmacy Practice2012; 20(5):294-302. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00207

Desborough, J. A., Sach, T., Bhattacharya, D., Holland, R. C. and Wright, D. J.A cost-consequences analysis of an adherence focused pharmacist-led medication review service. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice2012, 20: 41–49. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7174.2011.00161

Easthall, C, Willoughby, K, Small, M, Watson, S, Bhattacharya, D.Capecitabine non-adherence: exploration of magnitude, nature and contributing factor. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice.2012; doi: 1078155211436022


Fox AT, Lloyd K, Arkwright PD, Bhattacharya D, Brown T, Chetcuti P, et al. The RCPCH care pathway for food allergy in children: an evidence and consensus based national approach. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2011 November 1, 2011;96: i25-i9.


Desborough, J.A, Butters, P, Bhattacharya, D, Holland, R.C, Wright, D.J. Does it matter whether the recipient of patient questionnaires in general practice is the general practitioner or an independent researcher? The REPLY randomised trial. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2008;8(42). doi:10.1186/1471-2288-8-42


Bhattacharya, D, Wright, D.J, Purvis, J.R.Pharmacist domiciliary visiting in England: identifying the characteristics associated with continuation.Pharmacy World and Science.2007, 30 (1) 9-16, doi: 10.1007/s11096-007-9133-z


Bhattacharya, D. Pharmacists should support unintentionally non-adherent patients. Pharmacy in Practice.2006, 16(8):212-6

Bhattacharya, D. Indications for Monitored Dosage System Provision.DOH commissioned report. Available electronically at 2006


I welcome candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to join my research team. Skill sets that lend themselves particularly well to my programmes of research are a clinical or psychology background. My strands of research all focus on behaviour change; most notably patient behaviour change in the context of medication adherence and practitioner behaviour change in the context of deprescribing.


I have led the design and delivery of a placements programme spanning four years of a pharmacist training programme and clinical masters level module of an MPharm programme. Most recently I established a pharmacist non-medical prescribing programme for which I was course director for six years.

Press and media

I would be delighted to have the opportunity to comment on topics related to pharmacy and health behaviour change specifically deprescribing and medication adherence.

University of Leicester to host pharmacy research ‘incubator’ with £120k funding, P3 Pharmacy, June 2023 

Deprescribing – reactive and proactive, Medical Update Online, April 2023

CHARMER – a different kind of deprescribing intervention study, Pharmacy Update Online, April 2023

University of Leicester launches first distance-learning independent prescriber course, November 2022


  • 2003 – 2004: Certificate in Higher Education practice. University of East Anglia
  • 1999 – 2003: PhD University of Bradford. ‘Pharmacist Domiciliary Visiting services’
  • 1995 - 1999: B.Pharm (Hons) University of Bradford, School of Pharmacy
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