Pharmacists’ perception of evidence-based practice and experience in over-the-counter counseling: A cross-sectional study in Japan

Main Article Content

Nanako Uchiyama
Masaki Shoji
Mitsuko Onda


community pharmacy, evidence-based practice, over-the-counter drugs, counseling, Japan


Background: Evidence-based practice (EBP) is essential for pharmacists to select and recommend over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in medical consultations (hereinafter referred to as OTC counseling). Objectives: This study examined the association between pharmacists’ perceptions of EBPs and their implementation of OTC counseling. Methods: A web-based survey was conducted. Questions regarding pharmacists’ perceptions of EBP and experience in OTC counseling were set, and respondents were asked to respond based on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The association between pharmacists’ perceptions of EBP and experience in OTC counseling was examined by calculating Spearman’s ρ using bivariate correlation analysis. Results: Responses were obtained from 250 pharmacists. Although 70% of respondents indicated that EBP improves service quality, only 39, 31, and 14% had knowledge of the EBP steps, conducted a literature search, and performed a critical appraisal, respectively. Regarding OTC counseling experience, only 31% of respondents indicated that “sufficient evidence information on OTC drugs has been obtained.” Over 60% of respondents expressed the need for OTC usage guidelines and support tools and revealed that brand-specific purchases of OTC drugs make EBP difficult. An association was observed between pharmacists’ perceptions of EBP and experience in OTC counseling. “Level of recognition of steps for practicing evidence-based medicine” was associated with the “need fulfillment level for evidence information” (ρ = 0.329, P < 0.001), “brand-specific purchases of OTC drugs” (ρ = 0.240, P < 0.001), “perception of product advertisement” (ρ = 0.227, P < 0.001), and “need for OTC guidelines” (ρ = 0.208, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Pharmacists’ perceptions of EBP were associated with their experience in OTC counseling

Abstract 34 | PDF Downloads 19


1. Rutter P, Wadesango E. Does evidence drive pharmacist over-the-counter product recommendations? J Eval Clin Pract. 2014;20(4):425-8.
2. Kyriakoulis K, Patelarou A, Laliotis A, et al. Educational strategies for teaching evidence-based practice to undergraduate health students: systematic review. J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2016;13:34.
3. Melnyk BM, Fineout-Overholt E. Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011.
4. Lehane E, Leahy-Warren P, O’Riordan C, et al. Evidence-based practice education for healthcare professions: An expert view. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2019;24(3):103-8.
5. Bordoni B. The benefits and limitations of evidence-based practice in osteopathy. Cureus. 2019;11(11):e6093. https://doi. org/10.7759/cureus.6093
6. Moritz K, Seiberth JM, Schiek S, et al. The impact of evidence from clinical trials on counselling for over‐the‐counter drugs: A national survey of pharmaceutical staff in German pharmacies. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2019;44(6):895-903. https://doi. org/10.1111/jcpt.13013
7. Halila GC, Junior EH, Otuki MF, et al. The practice of OTC counseling by community pharmacists in Parana, Brazil. Pharm Pract (Granada). 2015;13(4):597.
8. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Vision of pharmacies for patients 11121000-Iyakushokuhinkyoku-Soumuka/vision_1.Pdf. Accessed 20 July 2021.
9. Naka Y, Onda M, Yamane Y, et al. The factors that influence the intention of consumers with cold-like symptoms who visited drugstores to purchase OTC drugs to consult pharmacists or sellers. JPN J Drug Inform. 2016;18(2):81-6. https://doi. org/10.11256/jjdi.18.81
10. Hayashi M, Masuda S, Kimura H. Key information providers, channels, and characteristics of Japanese consumers’ informed choices of over‑the‑counter medications. Springerplus. 2015;4:737.
11. Hanna LA, Hughes CM. Pharmacists’ attitudes towards an evidence-based approach for Over-the-counter medication. Int J Clin Pharm. 2012;34(1):63-71.
12. Tadokoro K. Educational Program to be Effective Counsellor, -What are ‘Counselling Competences’? -. Sakushin Gakuin University Bulletin. 2017;7:67-82.
13. Aloudah N, Alhumsi A, Alobeid N, et al. Factors impeding the supply of over-the-counter medications according to evidencebased practice: A mixed-methods study. PLoS One. 2020;5(11):e0240913.
14. Hanna LA, Hughes CM. ‘First, do no harm’: factors that influence pharmacists making decisions about over-the-counter medication: a qualitative study in Northern Ireland. Drug Saf. 2010;33(3):245-55. 000000000-00000
15. McKee P, Hughes C, Hanna LA. Views of pharmacy graduates and pharmacist tutors on evidence-based practice in relation to over-the-counter consultations: a qualitative study. J Eval Clin Pract. 2015;21(6):1040-6.
16. Hanna LA, Hughes C. The influence of evidence-based medicine training on decision-making in relation to over-the-counter medicines: a qualitative study. Int J Pharm Pract. 2012;20(6):358-66.
17. McMillan SS, Thangarajah T, Anderson C, et al. Pharmacy student decision making in over-the-counter medicine supply: A critical incident study. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018;14(8):749-57.
18. Hanna LA, Hughes CM. Public’s views on making decisions about over-the-counter medication and their attitudes towards evidence of effectiveness: A cross-sectional questionnaire study. Patient Educ Couns. 2011;83(3):345-51. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.pec.2011.02.016
19. Watson MC, Bond CM, Grimshaw JM, et al. Educational strategies to promote evidence-based community pharmacy practice: a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT). Fam Pract. 2002;19(5):529-36.
20. Ubbink DT, Guyatt GH, Vermeulen H. Framework of policy recommendations for implementation of evidence-based practice: a systematic scoping review. BMJ Open. 2013;3(1):e001881.
21. LaBrie J, Earleywine M, Lamb T, et al. Comparing electronic-keypad responses to paper and pencil questionnaires in group assessments of alcohol consumption and related attitudes. Addict Behav. 2006;31(12):2334-8. addbeh.2006.03.004