Advertisement

Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 450–457 | Cite as

Patient experiences of over-the-counter medicine purchases in Flemish community pharmacies

  • Steven SimoensEmail author
  • Marieke Lobeau
  • Koen Verbeke
  • Arthur van Aerschot
Research Article

Abstract

Objective Patient use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines contributes to improving public health and reducing public pharmaceutical expenditure. However, little is known of patient experiences of pharmacy distribution and services related to OTC medicines. The aim of this study is to explore patient experiences of purchasing OTC medicines in Flemish community pharmacies. Method Data were gathered from an anonymous postal questionnaire survey of patients purchasing OTC medicines in a random sample of Flemish community pharmacies in April 2008. The self-administered questionnaire related to the most recent purchase of OTC medicines by a patient in a community pharmacy. The questionnaire included questions about: (a) sources of information about OTC medicines; (b) the patient relationship with pharmacist and physician; (c) organization and layout of the pharmacy; (d) distribution channels; and (e) patient satisfaction. Questions were generally measured using Likert scales. The questionnaire was piloted among patients. Results One hundred and fifty-five pharmacies consented to distribute questionnaires to five patients each, yielding a total of 358 useable questionnaires (response rate of 46%). The first point of contact about OTC medicines was the pharmacist (61% of patients), followed by the physician (29%). Newspapers and the internet were not viewed as primary sources of advice on OTC medicines. Patients tended to purchase OTC medicines for the acute treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal conditions, common cold, cough or musculo-skeletal pain. More than 75% of patients felt that pharmacists provided sufficient information about the health condition and OTC medicine use. About one-third of patients did not wish the physician to be informed of their OTC medicine use. Patients did not seem to agree with distribution channels for OTC medicines other than the community pharmacy. Conclusions Flemish patients were satisfied with pharmacy distribution and services related to OTC medicines. They see an important role for pharmacists and physicians to accompany them in their OTC medicine use. Our results highlighted the need to strengthen communication between patients, pharmacists and physicians. It is also recommended that pharmacists keep an individual record detailing patient use of OTC and prescription medicines.

Keywords

Belgium Community pharmacy Distribution channels Flanders Information sources Over-the-counter medicines Patient experiences Patient relationship 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the community pharmacists for distributing and to patients for completing the questionnaire. They are also indebted to Liesbeth Decoutere, Sofie Delwiche, Charlotte Geerts, Joëlle Geerts, Valérie Hendrickx and Sarah Mennes for their contribution to data input and initial data analysis.

Funding

No external sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript.

References

  1. 1.
    Consumer Healthcare Products Association. OTC facts and figures. 2004. http://www.chpa-info.org. 30 July 2008.
  2. 2.
    Covington TR. The pharmacist as nonprescription drug therapy manager: let’s seize the opportunity. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42:518–9. doi: 10.1331/108658002763316987.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Association of the European Self-Medication Industry. AESGP facts and figures. http://www.aesgp.be/publications/Facts-Figures.asp. 28 July 2008.
  4. 4.
    Association of the European Self-Medication Industry. The economic and public health value of self-medication. http://www.self-medication.org/ephv/2004study.pdf. 24 July 2008.
  5. 5.
    Hansford D, Cunningham S, John D, McCaig D, Stewart D. Community pharmacists’ views, attitudes and early experiences of over-the-counter simvastatin. Pharm World Sci. 2007;29:380–5. doi: 10.1007/s11096-007-9084-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stewart D, John D, Cunningham S, McCaig D, Hansford D. A comparison of community pharmacists’ views of over-the-counter omeprazole and simvastatin. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2007;16:1290–7. doi: 10.1002/pds.1481.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vamvakopoulos JE, Kountouri M, Marshall T, Greenfield SM. Lifestyle or life-saving medicines? A primary healthcare professional and consumer opinion survey on over-the-counter statins. Ann Pharmacother. 2008;42:413–20. doi: 10.1345/aph.1K421.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gül H, Omurtag G, Clark PM, Tozan A, Ozel S. Nonprescription medication purchases and the role of pharmacists as healthcare workers in self-medication in Istanbul. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13:PH9–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gurwitz JH, McLaughlin TJ, Fish LS. The effect of an Rx-to-OTC switch on medication prescribing patterns and utilization of physician services: the case of vaginal antifungal products. Health Serv Res. 1995;30:672–85.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Andrade SE, Gurwitz JH, Fish LS. The effect of an Rx-to-OTC switch on medication prescribing patterns and utilization of physician services: the case of H2-receptor antagonists. Med Care. 1999;37:424–30. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199904000-00012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fleming GF, McElnay JC, Hughes CM. Development of a community pharmacy-based model to identify and treat OTC drug abuse/misuse: a pilot study. Pharm World Sci. 2004;26:282–8. doi: 10.1023/B:PHAR.0000042891.66983.60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Indermitte J, Reber D, Beutler M, Bruppacher R, Hersberger KE. Prevalence and patient awareness of selected potential drug interactions with self-medication. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2007;32:149–59. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2007.00809.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hong SH, Spadaro D, West D, Tak SH. Patient valuation of pharmacist services for self care with OTC medications. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2005;30:193–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2005.00625.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yousef AM, Al-Bakri AG, Bustanji Y, Wazaify M. Self-medication patterns in Amman, Jordan. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30:24–30. doi: 10.1007/s11096-007-9135-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Brass EP. Consumer behavior in the setting of over-the-counter statin availability: lessons from the consumer use study of OTC mevacor. Am J Cardiol. 2004;94:22F–9F. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2004.07.051.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wazaify M, Shields E, Hughes C, McEilnay J. Societal perspectives on over-the-counter medicines. Fam Pract. 2005;22:170–6. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmh723.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bradley C, Riaz A, Tobias S, Krenke Y, Dassu D. Patients attitudes to over-the-counter drugs and possible professional responses to self-medication. Fam Pract. 1998;15:44–50. doi: 10.1093/fampra/15.1.44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Limburg. OTC project. [In Flemish]. http://www.klav.be/portal/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/bestanden/BO/OTC/Opleiding.pdf. 29 July 2008.
  19. 19.
    Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Antwerp. Adviezen voor zelfzorg. [In Flemish]. Antwerp: Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Antwerp, 2006. ISBN 90-70472-22-88.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Krishnan HS, Schaefer M. Evaluation of the impact of pharmacist’s advice giving on the outcomes of self-medication in patients suffering from dyspepsia. Pharm World Sci. 2000;22:102–8. doi: 10.1023/A:1008733207854.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wertheimer AI, Serradell J. A discussion paper on self-care and its implications for pharmacists. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30:309–15. doi: 10.1007/s11096-007-9187-y.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sleath B, Rubin RH, Campbell W, Gwyther L, Clark T. Physician–patient communication about over-the-counter medications. Soc Sci Med. 2001;53:357–69. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00341-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Callebaut J, Janssens M, Lorre D, Hendrikx H. The naked consumer: the secret of motivational research in global marketing. Antwerp: Censydiam Institute, 1994. ISBN 9090077790.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Association of the European Self-Medication Industry. Economic and legal framework for non-prescription medicines. Brussels: Association of the European Self-Medication Industry; 2008.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Flemish Patient Platform. Resultaten vragenlijst medicatie en de rol van de apotheker. [In Flemish]. http://www.vlaamspatientenplatform.be/www/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,46/Itemid,98/. 23 July 2008.
  26. 26.
    Bradley C, Blenkinsopp A. Over-the-counter drugs: the future for self-medication. BMJ. 1996;312:835–7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pharma.be. Bevolkingsenquête: houding en gedrag van Belgische patiënten ten aanzien van OTC-geneesmiddelen. [In Flemish]. http://www.pharma.be/data/File/factua%20newsletter/nl/factuaOTC_NL.pdf. 22 July 2008.
  28. 28.
    Belgian Monitor. Wet tot wijziging van het koninklijk besluit nr. 78 van 10 November 1967 betreffende de uitoefening van de gezondheidszorgberoepen. [In Flemish]. http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi/welcome.pl. 25 July 2008.
  29. 29.
    Belgian Monitor. Wet houdende diverse bepalingen (IV). [In Flemish]. http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi/welcome.pl. 25 July 2008.
  30. 30.
    Shah B, Chewning B. Conceptualizing and measuring pharmacist–patient communication: a review of published studies. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2006;2:153–85. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2006.05.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mauksch LB, Dugdale DC, Dodson S, Epstein R. Relationship, communication, and efficiency in the medical encounter: creating a clinical model from a literature review. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:1387–95. doi: 10.1001/archinte.168.13.1387.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mobach MP. The counter and consultation room work explored in the Netherlands. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30:360–6. doi: 10.1007/s11096-008-9188-5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Corens D. Health system review: Belgium. (Vol. 9, No. 2). http://www.euro.who.int/Document/E90059.pdf. 30 July 2008. ISSN 1817-6127.
  34. 34.
    Gore PR, Madhavan S. Consumers’ preference and willingness to pay for pharmacist counselling for non-prescription medicines. J Clin Pharm Ther. 1994;19:17–25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.1994.tb00803.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Simoens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marieke Lobeau
    • 2
  • Koen Verbeke
    • 3
  • Arthur van Aerschot
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-EconomicsKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Royal Pharmaceutical Society of East-FlandersGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Pharmaceutical Society of Bruges and OstendBrugesBelgium
  4. 4.Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Rega InstituteKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations