Background Community pharmacies are the first point of contact in the healthcare system. Thus, community pharmacists have a crucial role in optimising the medicines use process and promoting patient outcomes.
Purpose The study aimed to examine counselling and dispensing practise in community pharmacy in Riyadh city, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods The simulated patient (SP) method was used to measure how pharmacists provided patient counselling. There were four scenarios. Scenarios 1 and 2 concerned drug-drug and drug-food interactions, scenario 3 concerned the proper time of administration, and scenario 4 concerned side effects. Each pharmacy was visited twice with different scenarios. The simulated visits were conducted between April and May, 2012. A questionnaire to test the attitude of community pharmacists regarding counselling and dispensing practise was distributed in the same period.
Results There were 161 simulated visits. Community pharmacists did not ask SPs any questions during 144 (90%) visits. Pharmacists did not provide any information to SPs during 152 (95%) visits. When the SPs asked specific questions about their medicines, pharmacists provided no information during 30 (19%) visits. 350 questionnaires were distributed. Of the respondents, 232 (64%) reported that they usually or always tell the patient about the purpose of medicines or the diagnosis, 302 (98%) reported that they usually or always give patient information on how to use or apply the medicine. 299 (85%) said they were satisfied with their counselling practise.
Conclusions Dispensing practise in the community in Saudi Arabia seems inadequate. There is a strong need to improve medicines counselling and dispensing practise in community pharmacies.
No conflict of interest.
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