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DPT survey reveals Pharmacists ranked second after doctor

Our Bureau, Bangalore
Monday, February 21, 2011, 15:45 Hrs  [IST]

The importance of a pharmacist in terms of his usefulness and performance has been ranked after a doctor, according to a survey conducted by the Delhi Pharmaceutical Trust. Pharmacists also scored high on trust in each location and on an all India basis.

The quantitative survey was conducted on consumers across the four cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. This is for the first time that such a study on perceptions of consumers about pharmacists has been carried out, said Dr DBA Narayana, Managing Trustee, Delhi Pharmaceutical Trust.

There have been many opinions expressed about the role of pharmacists, in various professional circles. Most of these opinions are at best the perceptions of individuals not necessarily involved actively in the community pharmacy profession in retail referred to as chemists.

Irrespective of the regional difference, access to a medical shop was high, and still 12 per cent of the population did not have a medical shop in their vicinity. It was interesting to note that 39 per cent said they had access to more than one outlet near their house. Consumers do not necessarily look at a Green Cross symbol displayed to identify a Pharmacy as they were not aware. “There is a need to create awareness on this,” stated Dr Narayana.

With regard to identify a qualified pharmacists’ at an outlet, the survey revealed the need to address the issue on the appearance of a pharmacist donning a uniform and a name badge. There is a need for a strong case for branding of pharmacists, said Professor Kusum Devi of AI-Ameen College of Pharmacy, Bangalore, one of the main investigators of the study.

Visibility of a fridge in a chemist outlet was high. But the chemists did not necessarily take out medicines from the fridge. This called for the need to provide more information to the consumers by the chemists. Another issue was about expiry dates and its significance. In view of the shortfall in community pharmacy, Delhi Pharmaceutical Trust has now taken on the onus to focus on analyzing the survey responses on other questions related to cover professionalism of the pharmacist including drug information provided, and consumer perceptions on medicines and future expectations from the pharmacists, stated Dr Narayana.

 

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