In this paper, consumers’ and practicing pharmacists’ perceptions of pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to NHPs are examined.

Della Kwan , Heather S Boon , Kristine Hirschkorn , Sandy Welsh , Tannis Jurgens , Lynda Eccott , Shirley Heschuk , Glenn G Griener  and Jillian C Cohen-Kohler

Abstract (provisional)

Background

Natural health products (NHPs) such as herbs, vitamins and homeopathic medicines, are currently available for sale in most Canadian pharmacies. However, most pharmacists report that they have limited knowledge about these products which have been regulated in Canada as a specific sub-category of drugs. In this paper, consumers’ and practicing pharmacists’ perceptions of pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to NHPs are examined.

Methods

A total of 16 focus groups were conducted with consumers (n = 50) and pharmacists (n = 47) from four different cities across Canada (Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Halifax).

Results

In this paper we illustrate the ways in which pharmacists’ professional responsibilities are impacted by changing consumer needs. Many consumers in the study utilized a wide range of information resources that may or may not have included pharmacists. Nevertheless, the majority of consumers and pharmacists agreed that pharmacists should be knowledgeable about NHPs and felt that pharmacists should be able to manage drug-NHPs interactions as well as identify and evaluate the variety of information available to help consumers make informed decisions.

Conclusions

This paper demonstrates that consumers’ expectations and behaviour significantly impact pharmacists’ perceptions of their professional responsibilities with respect to NHPs.

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:40doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-40

Published: 14 July 2008

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.