Pharmacists are commonly called on as the first resource for patients when selecting an appropriate self-care medication or supplement. This study examines pharmacists’ over-the-counter (OTC) recommendations in the chain community pharmacy setting in the United States.
The objective of the study was to assess chain community pharmacists’ willingness and attitudes to provide self-care recommendations to patients and to identify chain community pharmacists’ barriers to making OTC medication and supplement recommendations.
An anonymous survey was created to identify pharmacists’ attitudes and their willingness to perform these recommendations. The questionnaire included specific questions to identify barriers that exist to making OTC recommendations. The survey was distributed by fax and email to 527 pharmacists in the Mid-South regional district of a U.S. grocery chain pharmacy. Descriptive statistics were used to identify demographic trends and display results.
Pharmacists are overwhelmingly willing to provide OTC recommendations (100%) and see it as an important part of community practice (99%). The greatest barriers were time/prescription volume (94%) and staffing demands (78%). The greatest need for education was in the areas of eye/ear care and vitamins/herbal products.
The results affirmed pharmacists’ willingness and overall positive attitude to providing OTC medication counseling in the community pharmacy setting. The research uniquely identified barriers that pharmacists experience when attempting to make OTC recommendations. This information can be used not only for the implementation of patient care services targeting self-care needs but also in the application of general community pharmacy practice.
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