ADHERENCE TO OTC DIRECTORY –THE PERCEPTION OF COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS IN SAUDI ARABIA
AbstractBackground: Worldwide Ministries of Health (MoH) are encouraged to publish an updated Overthe-Counter (OTC)-Directory that pharmacists should adhere to in dispensing non-prescriptionmedications. The Saudi Ministry of Health has published the OTC-Directory in the year 2000, andsince then, it was readily available to all practicing pharmacists at no cost. This study was aimed toinvestigate the knowledge of practicing pharmacists in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, regarding permittedself-prescription medications (i.e., OTC-Directory), as well as pharmacists professionalcompetence and adherence at dispensing OTC drugs without prescription. Methods: The studywas cross-sectional by design. A computer generated list of simple random sampling was used toselect the pharmacies out of 1,500 working in Riyadh. The data was collected from 384 randomlyselected community pharmacies by questionnaire using direct investigation method and the totalrespondents were 405. Associations between qualitative variables were observed using PearsonChi-square and Fisher Exact test. Results: Four hundred and five (405) pharmacists participated inthe survey of which 100% were males and 362 (89.4%) were below the age of 40 years. Majorityof them (361, 88.9%) were holding bachelors degree. Almost one-third of the respondents (123,30.4%) were not aware of the existence of the Saudi OTC-Directory. The pharmacists’geographical location, nationality and attendance of CME activity had significant association withknowledge about the OTC-directory (p<0.05). Two hundred and eighty-two (69.6%) of thepharmacists who had knowledge about Saudi OTC-directory did not comply with its guidelines.Pharmacists with higher degrees were more observant of the OTC-Directory as compared to thosewith diploma and Bachelor Degree (p=0.014). Conclusions: There is significant non-complianceof OTC-directory by the community pharmacists while providing non-prescription drugs inRiyadh, Saudi Arabia.Keywords: Self medication, OTC-Directory, community pharmacist, pharmacy practice
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