The Pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ scopes of practice in the management of minor ailments at community pharmacies in Indonesia: a cross-sectional study

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Nonprescription Drugs, Self Care, Professional Practice, Professional Role, Scope of Practice, Community Pharmacy Services, Pharmacies, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Multivariate Analysis, Cross-Sectional Studies, Indonesia


Background: Managing minor ailments in community pharmacy is an evolving pharmacy service in developing countries. Defined scopes of practice for pharmacy staff are essential for the safe management of minor ailments. Limited research exists regarding the perceptions of Indonesian pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ scopes of practice in providing minor ailments management services.

Objective: To evaluate pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ understanding of their scopes of practice, perceived competency and factors influencing the delivery of minor ailments services in Indonesian community pharmacies.

Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were conducted during January-February 2020 of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians attending seminars conducted by relevant Indonesian Associations in Central Java, Indonesia. Percentage of common responses (PCR) described similarity of perceived scopes of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified associations of scopes of practice with pharmacy characteristics.

Results: A total of 185 pharmacists and 142 pharmacy technicians participated. Pharmacy technicians performed minor ailment consultations, however, if considered beyond their scope of practice, they referred the patient to the pharmacist (T=120/142, 84.5%). Vaginal thrush, bacterial conjunctivitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and acute pain were minor ailments perceived only within a pharmacist’s scope (PCR above 60%). Of 34 minor ailments, 11 showed PCR values between 40-60% overlapping pharmacists and pharmacy technicians perceived scopes of practice (allergy/rash, back pain, cold sores, dermatitis, diarrhoea, eczema, hayfever, haemorrhoids, rheumatism, sore throat, and superficial wounds). Back pain, cold sores, dermatitis, and sore throat associated pharmacists’ scope of practice with years of practice experience (p-value<0.05). Pharmacy technicians perceived their scopes of practice to be wider than perceived by pharmacists.

Conclusions: Discordance between pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ perceived scopes of minor ailments management highlights the need for clearly defined scopes of practice for each professional group. Each professional group must practise within their competence to ensure safe pharmacy practices.


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