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APhA: Pharmacists have big influence on OTC purchases

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WASHINGTON — According to an American Pharmacists Association (APhA) study, 82% of consumers buy over-the-counter products recommended by their pharmacist.

The association said this week that the latest Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey, completed by more than 1,000 APhA member and nonmember pharmacists, also finds that on average pharmacists counsel 29 patients per week about OTC medications.

Patients who seek their pharmacist’s advice include those requiring assistance in identifying the most appropriate product (90%), those worried about using an OTC product with prescription medications (80%), those suffering from an acute or chronic condition (79%), and those worried about taking OTC products with a specific disease/condition (65%).

"Pharmacists are the medication experts on the health care team. Pharmacists are trained not only about prescription medications, but also nonprescription medications, supplements and herbals," APhA chief executive Thomas Menighan said in a statement. "Patients can take an active role in self-care by reading medication labels, knowing the active ingredients in their medications and asking their pharmacist questions."

APhA noted that one of its goals in conducting the annual survey is to educate consumers that pharmacists have the knowledge and training to help them select the right OTC medicines. As part of the poll, pharmacists are asked to tabulate the OTC products they recommend per week in 76 product categories.


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