Patients Turn to Pharmacists for OTC Recommendations--April 2009

April 9, 2009
Jessica A. Smith

The American Pharmacists Association pushes for patients to seek pharmacist guidance in selecting OTC medications.

Pharmacists believe that 83% of patients purchase OTC products recommended by their pharmacist, according to the most recent OTC product study conducted by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Completed by close to 1000 APhA member and nonmember pharmacists, the survey results showed that pharmacists counsel an average of 31 patients each week regarding OTC medications.

“Pharmacists are the only health professionals specifically trained in nonprescription medications,” said APhA Chief Executive Officer John A. Gans. “Patients can take an active role in self-care by reading medication labels, knowing the active ingredients in their medications, and asking their pharmacist questions.”

Among the patients who consult with their pharmacists for advice, 92% have an acute or chronic condition, 84% have concerns about using an OTC product with their prescription medications, and 74% seek advice regarding the safety of OTC medications for their specific disease or condition, survey data showed.

Considering the sheer breadth of OTC medications on the market—>100,000 containing >1000 active ingredients—APhA aims to educate patients through the survey. To meet this end, the group seeks to highlight pharmacists’ education and training in helping to select the best OTC medications for each individual. Pharmacists’ role as the most accessible health care providers places them in prime position to advise and inform patients about critical facts regarding OTC medications, according to APhA.

For other articles in this issue, see:

NY Judge Blasts FDA on Plan B Restrictions but Idaho Bill Could Limit Access

Pharmacists in Diabetes Ten City Challenge Critical to Success

Pharmacies Move Toward Going Green