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Utilisation of community pharmacists by the general public in Malaysia

Authors


Correspondence

Dr Siew Siang Chua, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

E-mail: chuass@um.edu.my

Abstract

Objectives

The study was conducted to assess how the general public in the Klang Valley, Malaysia, utilised community pharmacists.

Methods

This was a prospective observational study which documented interactions between community pharmacists and their customers. A researcher was stationed in 10 participating community pharmacies around the Klang Valley to observe and record all the interactions, using a structured data-collection form.

Keys findings

Interactions between 1914 customers and the pharmacists of the 10 community pharmacies were recorded. A total of 2199 requests were made by these customers. The main types of request were for medications by brand name (32.2%), advice on minor health problems (25.9%) and for health supplements (11.7%). Only 65 prescriptions were received by the community pharmacies; that is, fewer than two prescriptions per pharmacy per day. The pharmacists provided counselling for only 54.4% of the requests where a medication or health supplement was dispensed. Counselling by pharmacist was significantly associated with the type of request (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The main reason for the general public to visit a community pharmacy in Malaysia was to purchase a particular medication. Few prescriptions were filled at community pharmacies in Malaysia, indicating the under-utilisation of community pharmacists as a safety net for prescribed medications in primary care.

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