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Non-prescription medicines for pain and fever: A comparison of recommendations and counseling from staff in pharmacy and general sales stores
Dept of Rational Use of Medicines, Medical Products Agency, P.O. Box 26, SE-751 03, Uppsala, Sweden.
Dept of Rational Use of Medicines, Medical Products Agency, P.O. Box 26, SE-751 03, Uppsala, Sweden.
Dept of Rational Use of Medicines, Medical Products Agency, P.O. Box 26, SE-751 03, Uppsala, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.
2013 (English)In: Health Policy, ISSN 0168-8510, Vol. 110, no 1, 76-83 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to map and analyze the content and quality of theencounter when customers buy non-prescription medicines for pain and fever.

Methods: 297 pharmacies and 801 general sales stores (GSS) in Sweden were selected. A"Mystery shopper" exercise was conducted. Three scenarios were used and a total of 366units were selected for each scenario. There were in total 625 observers: 208 in the childwith fever scenario, 225 in the Reliv scenario, and 192 in the painkiller during pregnancyscenario. Data collection: 21st September to 20th November 2011.

Results: In two out of three visits to GSS, the staff proposed a medicine for a heavily pregnantwoman. The staff suggested in 9% of the visits a medicine that is inappropriate in latepregnancy. The corresponding percentage in pharmacies was 1%.Both pharmacies and GSS proposed, in 6% a medicine that is inappropriate for babies toa feverish child. Only 16% of the pharmacists and 14% of the staff in GSS asked for the ageof the child.General sales staff recommended in 10% ibuprofen and in 4% an acetylsalicylic acid productwhen an acetaminophen preparation was requested. The corresponding percentage inthe pharmacy were 4% ibuprofen, 2% diclofenac, and 1% an acetylsalicylic acid product.

Conclusions: The staff in GSS and pharmacies do not pay sufficient attention to the heterogeneityof painkillers, which lead to inappropriate recommendations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 110, no 1, 76-83 p.
Keyword [en]
Analgesics, General sales stores’ counseling, Non-prescription medicines, Over-the-counter drugs, Pharmacists’ recommendations and counseling, Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-192340DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.12.006ISI: 000317372200010OAI: diva2:589519
Available from: 2013-01-18 Created: 2013-01-18 Last updated: 2013-07-11Bibliographically approved

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