Pharmacists' use of guidelines for the supply of non-prescription medicines: a cross-sectional survey

Deanna Mill, Jacinta L Johnson, Mia Percival, Kenneth Lee, Sandra M Salter, Danielle D'Lima, Liza Seubert, Rhonda Clifford, Amy Theresa Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Guidelines support best practice for healthcare practice. In Australia, some non-prescription medicines are only accessible after consultation with a pharmacist and are known as Pharmacist Only medicines. Guidelines for providing some Pharmacist Only medicines are available, however, it is currently unknown if and how these guidelines are used in practice.The objective was to characterise pharmacists', intern pharmacists and pharmacy students' use of guidelines for Pharmacist Only medicines.

METHODS: A cross-sectional electronic survey of Australian registered pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students was administered in July 2020. Questions explored the participants' use of Pharmacist Only medicine guidelines (available both in print and online; available online only) in the preceding 12 months. Data were analysed descriptively (i.e. frequencies, percentages).

KEY FINDINGS: In total, 574 eligible respondents completed the survey. Overall, 396 (69%) reported accessing the online and in-print guidelines in the previous 12 months with 185 (33%) accessing online-only guidelines. The guideline on emergency contraception was used the most out of all guidelines in the past 12 months (278, 48%). Overall, respondents reported accessing guidelines to update knowledge, check their practice reflected best practice and content familiarisation. Respondents' reasons for not accessing guidelines were due to respondents stating they did not need the information or that they had previously accessed the guidelines more than 12 months ago. These reasons varied between respondent groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Access and use of the Pharmacist Only medicines guidelines varied between pharmacists, interns and students. Further understanding of the influences of the use of these guidelines will help inform professional bodies on how best to develop guidelines to increase consistent use in practice and implement interventions to increase use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-488
Number of pages11
JournalThe International Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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