Beliefs about medicines among Swedish pharmacy employees

Tove M Jörgensen, Karolina A Andersson, Ann-Charlotte M Mårdby
Pharmacy World & Science: PWS 2006, 28 (4): 233-8

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the beliefs about medicines among pharmacy employees. A further aim was to analyse whether these beliefs were associated with any background characteristics, such as age, professional category or medication use.

METHOD: The study subjects were pharmacy employees at 24 community pharmacies in Göteborg, Sweden. The participating pharmacies had a total of 372 employees (pharmacists, dispensing pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians). Data was collected at the weekly pharmacy information meetings with a questionnaire comprising background questions and the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ). The general part of the BMQ was used. For each statement in the BMQ, respondents marked their degree of agreement on a five-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=uncertain, 4=agree and 5=strongly agree).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The three subscales of BMQ General: General Harm, General Overuse and General Benefit.

RESULTS: The majority of the 292 respondents were dispensing pharmacists. More than half of the respondents were aged 45 years or older and had worked in a pharmacy for 20 years or more. Compared to the other professional categories, a higher proportion of dispensing pharmacists stated that they currently used traditional medicines. The pharmacy employees had a mean score for General Benefit of 4.31 and a mean score for General Harm of 1.81. Pharmacists and dispensing pharmacists in general regarded medicines as somewhat more beneficial, whereas pharmacy technicians viewed medicines as slightly more harmful. Those who had worked in a pharmacy for 30-34 years regarded medicines as less harmful compared to those who had worked 0-4 years. Compared to non-users, current users of prescription drugs regarded medicines as more beneficial. When controlling for background characteristics, no confounders were detected for any of the three subscales (ANCOVA analyses).

CONCLUSION: Results of the study of 292 Swedish pharmacy employees show that they regard medicines as beneficial rather than harmful and that there are differences in beliefs between the professional categories. However, the reasons for these differences remain unclear. Nevertheless, the positive beliefs among pharmacy employees may have an impact on the communication with clients and, eventually, clients' adherence to medicines.

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