Where to buy OTC medications? A cross-sectional survey investigating consumers' confidence in over-the-counter (OTC) skills and their attitudes towards the availability of OTC painkillers

A.E.M. Brabers, L. Van Dijk, M.L. Bouvy, J.D. De Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To examine consumers' confidence in their own, and also in other people's, over-the-counter (OTC) skills and to describe their attitude towards the availability of OTC painkillers. Moreover we examined the association between confidence in OTC skills and attitudes. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Mixed methods (postal and electronic) self-administered questionnaire. Participants: Members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel. Main outcome measures: Consumers' confidence in their own, and in other people's, OTC skills was examined. Confidence was measured by three questions regarding obtaining information on, choosing and using OTC medication. Consumers' attitudes towards availability were assessed using six safety profiles, by asking which channel consumers prefer for each profile. Results: The response rate was 68% (n=972). Consumers feel confident about their own OTC skills (mean 3.74; 95% CI 3.69 to 3.79, on a 5-point Likert scale), but have less confidence in OTC skills of others (mean 2.92; 95% CI 2.88 to 2.96). Consumers are conservative in their attitudes towards the availability of OTC painkillers. Most consumers prefer painkillers to be available exclusively in pharmacies (41-71% per profile indicated pharmacy only). Moreover, there is an association between confidence in OTC skills and attitudes (p=0.005; β=-0.114). Consumers who are more confident about their own OTC skills prefer OTC painkillers to be more generally available. Conclusions: Consumers feel confident about their own OTC skills. However, they would prefer painkillers with safety profiles resembling those currently available OTC, to be available as OTC in pharmacies exclusively. Consumers' confidence in the OTC skills of others is more consistent with their attitudes towards availability of OTC painkillers. Until consumers themselves realise that they are also one of the others, they may overestimate their own OTC skills, which may entail health risks.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003455
JournalBMJ Open
Volume3
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • acetylsalicylic acid
  • ascorbic acid
  • caffeine
  • carbasalate calcium
  • diclofenac
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen
  • non prescription drug
  • paracetamol
  • propyphenazone
  • adult
  • aged
  • article
  • common cold
  • consumer
  • consumer attitude
  • content validity
  • coughing
  • cross-sectional study
  • demography
  • drug marketing
  • drug safety
  • drug use
  • female
  • gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • gastrointestinal symptom
  • health care availability
  • health hazard
  • health survey
  • human
  • male
  • normal human
  • outcome assessment
  • pharmacy
  • product safety
  • questionnaire
  • skill
  • sore throat

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