Survey: Consumers listen to pharmacists for OTC buys

WASHINGTON —Pharmacists believe that 82% of consumers purchase over-the-counter products that actually were recommended to them by a pharmacist, according to the most recent “Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey” conducted by the American Pharmacists Association.

The survey, completed by more than 1,000 APhA member and nonmember pharmacists, also found that pharmacists counsel 29 patients on average per week around the use of nonprescription medicines. Patients who seek their pharmacist’s advice include patients requiring assistance in identifying the most appropriate product (90%), patients that are worried about using an OTC product with other prescription medications (80%), patients suffering from an acute or chronic condition (79%) and patients worried about taking OTC products with a specific disease/condition (65%).

“Pharmacists are the medication experts on the healthcare team,” stated Thomas Menighan, APhA CEO. “[They] are trained not only about prescription medications, but also nonprescription medications, supplements and herbals.”

One of APhA’s goals in conducting the annual “Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey” is to educate consumers that pharmacists have the knowledge and training to help them select the right OTC medications. As part of the survey, pharmacists are asked to tabulate the OTC products they recommend per week in 76 different product categories.

As part of the survey, pharmacists were asked how many times per week they had recommended each product. Those brands that indexed higher than 60% among pharmacist recommendations included: Procter & Gamble’s Crest Whitestrips (87%); GlaxoSmithKline’s Breathe Right (74%); Amerifit Brands’ AZO Test Strips (UTI test) (72%); Church & Dwight’s First Response (ovulation test kits) (70%); McNeil Consumer’s Sudafed (70%); Omron blood pressure monitors (70%); and Reckitt Benckiser’s Mucinex family of products (63%).

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