Unanswered Health-Related Questions in Community Pharmacy: Frequency, Nature and Consequences

Jennifer Gordon, Jean-Pierre Calabretto, Michael Sorich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Medical practice research suggests that deficits in information exchange can have implications, such as misunderstandings and non-adherence to treatment. There has been little investigation into the implications of unanswered health-related questions in community pharmacy, especially for professional pharmacy practice and quality use of medicines. Aim: To investigate the frequency of consumers leaving community pharmacies with unanswered health-related questions, the nature of the unanswered questions and the impact on consumers. Method: Consumers exiting participating community pharmacies (convenience sample) were interviewed using a semi-structured tool to capture information on the frequency, nature and consequences of unanswered health-related questions. Data recorded from the interviews were thematically analysed. Results: Over the 5 week study period, of the 87 participants interviewed, 18 (20%) had come into the pharmacy with a health-related question and 6 (33%) left with their question unanswered. Of the 47 participants who were asked about past instances of unanswered questions, 7 (15%) reported incidents they could recall. The nature of the unanswered questions mainly focused on potential or perceived medication-related adverse effects, and information on which to select medicines or treatment. A number of unanswered questions were considered to have potential for negative health consequences if not followed up. Conclusion: On occasion, consumers leave community pharmacies with unanswered questions, which could have consequences for the quality use of medicines. Further research is needed to establish the prevalence and significance of unanswered health-related questions in community pharmacy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)271-274
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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