Behavioural aspects surrounding medicine purchases from pharmacies in Australia
Keywords:Drugs, Non-Prescription, Self Medication, Australia
Objective: This study aimed to produce current data regarding behavioural aspects of non-prescription (over-the-counter) medicine purchases, in light of changes in the pharmaceutical market and increasing provision of professional services in pharmacies.
Methods: Data were collected in 15 community pharmacies in South-East Queensland, Australia, over 540 hours in five days in August, 2006. The method, previously validated, involved documentation of both observational and interview data. Fifteen trained researchers were stationed in a selected pharmacy each to unobtrusively observe all eligible sales of non-prescription medicines, and, where possible, interview the purchasers post-sale. Non-response was supplemented by observational data and recall by the salesperson. The data included details of the purchase and purchasing behaviour, while new questions addressed issues of topical importance, including customers’ privacy concerns. A selection of the analyses is reported here.
Results: In total, 3470 purchases were documented (135-479 per pharmacy), with customers of 67.5% of purchases (74.7% excluding an outlier pharmacy) participating in the survey. Customers averaged 1.2 non-prescription medicines per transaction. Two-thirds (67.2%) of customers were female, and 38.8% of the customers were aged 31-45 years. Analgesics and respiratory medicines accounted for two-thirds of the sales data (33.4% and 32.4%, respectively). Intended-brand purchases comprised 71% of purchases (2004/2824); in-store substitution then occurred in 8.8% of these cases, mainly following recommendations by pharmacy staff. Medicines intended for self-use comprised 62.9% of purchases (1752/2785). First-time purchases (30.8%, 799/2594) were more commonly influenced by pharmacy staff than by advertising.
Conclusions: This study used validated methods adapted to a changing marketplace, thus providing data that both confirm and add to knowledge surrounding medicine purchases. Despite the dynamics of the non-prescription market, it revealed consistencies with previous research.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2004-5 national health survey: summary of results. Canberra; 2004-5. URL: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/3B1917236618A042CA25711F00185526/$File/43640_2004-05.pdf. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia's health 2006. URL: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10321. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
4. Standard for the uniform scheduling of drugs and poisons. Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia; 2007.
5. Benrimoj SI, Emmerton L, Taylor R, Williams K, Gilbert A, Quintrell N. Cost benefit analysis of Pharmacist Only and Pharmacy Medicines and a risk based evaluation of the standards; 2005. URL: http://beta.guild.org.au/uploadedfiles/Research_and_Development_Grants_Program/Projects/2001-502_fr.pdf. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
6. Price Waterhouse Coopers. Scoping study of the Queensland pharmaceutical industry. 2003. URL: http://www.sdi.qld.gov.au/dsdweb/v3/documents/objdirctrled/nonsecure/pdf/9343.pdf#search=%22%22Generic%20medicines%22%20Australia%20%22New%20Zealand%22%20%22non-prescription%22%22. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
7. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Position statement - listing and scheduling of medicines; 2005. URL: http://www.psa.org.au/site.php?id=840. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
8. Harris C. Pharmacists help combat pseudoephedrine diversion. Austr Pharm. 2005;25(4):266.
9. Roberts S. Project STOP nabs first culprits. Pharmacy News 2006;(Feb 16):2.
10. National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee. Outcome of considerations by the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee at its October 2006 meeting of proposals for amendment to the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons; 2006. URL: http://www.tga.gov.au/NDPSC/gazette/g0510pos.pdf. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
11. Krska J, Kennedy E. Expectations and experience of customers purchasing OTC medicines in pharmacies of the North of Scotland. Pharm J. 1996;(256):354-356.
12. Fahey M. Guide to consumers' pharmaceutical purchasing behaviour. J Manag Care Pharm. 1996;2(5):489-499.
13. John D, Evans S. Residents' views and experiences of pharmacy questioning and advice relating to non-prescription medicine purchases. Int J Pharm Pract. 1997;5(2):85-90.
14. Beckerleg S, Lewando-Hundt G, Eddama M, Alem A, Shawa R, Abed Y. Purchasing a quick fix from private pharmacies in the Gaza Strip. Soc Sci Med. 1999;49(11):1489-1500.
15. Emmerton L. Non-prescription medicine purchasing behaviour. Brisbane: The University of Queensland; 2004.
16. Emmerton L. Exploration of two risk scenarios in non-prescription medicine purchases. Int J Pharm Pract. 2006;14(3):219-225.
17. Emmerton L. Development and review of a team project for undergraduate pharmacy students. Pharm Educ. 2006;6(1):71-76.
18. Emmerton L, Shaw J. Non-prescription medicine purchases in New Zealand. J Pharm Mark Manag. 2002;15(1):97-111.
19. Emmerton L, Shaw J. The influence of pharmacy staff in non-prescription medicine sales. Int J Pharm Pract. 2002;10:101-106.
20. Emmerton L. Purchasing behaviour for non-prescription medicines. Aust Pharm. 2005;24(4):326-.30.
21. Shaw J. Consumers' non-prescription medicines purchasing behaviour in community pharmacy. Auckland, NZ: The University of Auckland; 2005.
22. Wazaify M, Shields E, Hughes C, McElnay J. Societal perspectives on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Fam Pract. 2005;22(2):170-176.
23. AC Nielsen. ScanTrack Pharmacy; 2006. URL: http://au.acnielsen.com/products/rms_scan_track_pharmacy.shtml. (Accessed 16 July, 2008).
24. Emmerton L, Shaw J. MediTrends: Current market purchasing trends for non-prescription medicines. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago; 2000.
25. Hassell K, Noyce P, Rogers A, Harris J, Wilkinson J. A pathway to the GP: the pharmaceutical 'consultation' as a first port of call in primary health care. Fam Pract. 1997;14(6):498-502.
26. Self-medication: a study undertaken in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington, NZ: Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand and New Zealand Pharmacy Education and Research Foundation; 1998.
27. Fisher C, Corrigan O, Henman M. A study of community pharmacy practice. 3. Non-prescribed medicines sales and counselling. J Soc Admin Pharm. 1991;8(2):69-75.
28. Synder R. Consumers' needs and need of registered pharmacist's advice on OTC's. Drug Topics 1997;(141 Nov):71-73.
29. Bond C. POM to P - implications for practice pharmacists. Primary Care Pharmacy 2001;2(Mar):5-7.
30. Newall C, Anderson L, Phillipson J. Herbal medicines: a guide for health-care professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 0 Pharmacy Practice
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.