Community pharmacists’ views, attitudes and early experiences of over-the-counter simvastatin
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To describe community pharmacists’ views, attitudes and early experiences of OTC simvastatin.
A cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey of the main pharmacist in 2000 randomly selected community pharmacy premises in Great Britain (approximately 15%).
Main outcome measure
The questionnaire comprised items on: attitudes to OTC simvastatin; continuing education; sales; and general views and experiences. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis of responses to open questions.
Questionnaires were returned by 1,156 community pharmacists (57.8%). Nine hundred and fifty-six respondents (82.7%) reported no sales of simvastatin in the previous fourteen days. Eighty-two (7.1%) sold one pack, 40 (3.5%) sold two packs and 18 (1.6%) sold three packs or more (60 did not answer). Almost all respondents (1,086, 93.9%) stated that they had participated in continuing education. Most (691/1,148, 60.1%) strongly agreed or agreed that they were entirely confident about selling simvastatin and that community pharmacists could make an appropriate risk assessment for the use of simvastatin (898/1,149, 78.2%). Responses to the open question identified a number of themes including: need for access to clinical information; cost as a barrier to supply; those purchasing were least likely to benefit; and the lack of an evidence base for the OTC dose.
Community pharmacists surveyed had undertaken an array of continuing education and felt confident to undertake cardiovascular risk assessment. However, very few sales of OTC simvastatin had been made and a variety of issues were identified, particularly relating to the evidence base, access to clinical information, cost and the product licence.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacists Great Britain OTC Over-the-counter medication Pharmacist experience Pharmacist views Simvastatin
The authors would like to acknowledge B. Melia for comments, M. Bruce, D. Garden, A. Harding, S. Jack, T. O’Donovan, D. O’Sullivan, C. McCaig, A. Munro, K. Munro, C. Power, D. Shaban and A. Wilson for assistance with data collection, H. Singer for data input and all the community pharmacist respondents for completing questionnaires. The study was funded by The Robert Gordon University.
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