ADHERENCE TO OTC DIRECTORY –THE PERCEPTION OF COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS IN SAUDI ARABIA

Mohammed Othman Al-Rukban, Mohammad Adnan Khalil

Abstract


Background: Worldwide Ministries of Health (MoH) are encouraged to publish an updated Overthe-Counter (OTC)-Directory that pharmacists should adhere to in dispensing non-prescription
medications. The Saudi Ministry of Health has published the OTC-Directory in the year 2000, and
since then, it was readily available to all practicing pharmacists at no cost. This study was aimed to
investigate the knowledge of practicing pharmacists in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, regarding permitted
self-prescription medications (i.e., OTC-Directory), as well as pharmacists professional
competence and adherence at dispensing OTC drugs without prescription. Methods: The study
was cross-sectional by design. A computer generated list of simple random sampling was used to
select the pharmacies out of 1,500 working in Riyadh. The data was collected from 384 randomly
selected community pharmacies by questionnaire using direct investigation method and the total
respondents were 405. Associations between qualitative variables were observed using Pearson
Chi-square and Fisher Exact test. Results: Four hundred and five (405) pharmacists participated in
the survey of which 100% were males and 362 (89.4%) were below the age of 40 years. Majority
of them (361, 88.9%) were holding bachelors degree. Almost one-third of the respondents (123,
30.4%) were not aware of the existence of the Saudi OTC-Directory. The pharmacists’
geographical location, nationality and attendance of CME activity had significant association with
knowledge about the OTC-directory (p<0.05). Two hundred and eighty-two (69.6%) of the
pharmacists who had knowledge about Saudi OTC-directory did not comply with its guidelines.
Pharmacists with higher degrees were more observant of the OTC-Directory as compared to those
with diploma and Bachelor Degree (p=0.014). Conclusions: There is significant non-compliance
of OTC-directory by the community pharmacists while providing non-prescription drugs in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Keywords: Self medication, OTC-Directory, community pharmacist, pharmacy practice

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