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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 15107

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Vitry A, Gilbert A, Mott K, Rao D, March G.
Provision of medicines information in Australian community pharmacies
Pharm World Sci 2009 Feb 20; epub ahead of print


To assess the provision of consumer medicines information in Australian community pharmacies.

Two methods were employed. One was an exit survey involving consumers just leaving a community
pharmacy (n = 554). A total of 42 pharmacies from 6 states were selected randomly. Another was a telephone survey conducted with people aged 15 and over (n = 2,005). The sample was stratified by region at the level of capital city, regional urban and rural with minimum quotas for each category.

In the exit survey, 13 (6.4%) of the 208 respondents collecting a script received written instructions such as the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI), including 7 (15%) receiving their prescription for the first time and 6 (4%) who came for a subsequent supply. In the phone survey, 876 (46%)of the 1,576 respondents who ever get prescriptions or OTC medicines declared they never or rarely receive written information on how to use a medicine apart from what is on the bottle
or packaging.

The strategy of CMI distribution via pharmacies in Australia has failed to reach acceptable levels. Further strategies have to be implemented by the professional and consumer organisations to ensure consumers receive appropriate essential medicine information.

Impacts of findings on practice
• In Australia most consumers do currently not receive pharmacy printed CMIs despite substantial training and incentives for pharmacists to provide them.
• Regulatory authorities, pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy organisations should re-consider the CMI providing policy in consultation with the consumer organisations

Australia, Community pharmacy, Consumer survey, Medicine information, Medicine policies, Standards of practice


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.