International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 607–615 | Cite as

South Asian and Middle Eastern patients’ perspectives on medicine-related problems in the United Kingdom

  • Faten AlhomoudEmail author
  • Soraya Dhillon
  • Zoe Aslanpour
  • Felicity Smith
Research Article


Background There has been little research which specifically examines medicine use among South Asian (SA) and Middle Eastern (ME) groups, although evidence suggests that medicine-related needs may be poorly met for these groups. Objective To describe medicine-related problems (MRPs) experienced by SA and ME patients from their perspectives and identify possible contributory factors that may be specific to their cultures. Setting The data were collected in seven pharmacies in London, United Kingdom (UK). Method The study was a qualitative study. Patients were from SA and ME origins, aged over 18 and prescribed three or more regular medicines. Patients were identified when presenting with a prescription. The data were collected in 80 face-to-face semi-structured interviews using Gordon’s MRPs tool. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using Gordon’s coding frame and Nvivo 10 software. Main outcome measure Describing MRPs experienced by SA and ME patients from their perspectives and identifying possible contributory factors that may be specific to their cultures. Results Eighty participants (61 % male) had mean (SD) age 58 (13.4) years and a mean (SD) of 8 (4) medicines. Interviews revealed that several factors contributed to the development of MRPs; some appeared to be specific to SA and ME cultures and others were similar to the general population. The factors that were reported to be specific to SA and ME groups comprised religious practices and beliefs, use of non-prescription medicines, extent of family support, and travelling abroad—to patient’s homeland or to take religious journeys. Illiteracy, language and communication barriers, lack of translated resources, perceptions of healthcare providers, and difficulty consulting a doctor of the same gender may also contribute to the problems. Many of these factors could be expected to influence patient’s safety, adherence, and informed decision-making. Conclusion This study demonstrated that SA and ME patients have their own problems and needs regarding both medicine use and service access. By uncovering particular problems experienced by these groups, the study can inform healthcare professionals to support SA and ME patients in the use of their medicines.


Drug-related problems Ethnic minorities Ethnicity Medication errors Medication-related problems Medicine use Patient perspective Primary care United Kingdom 



The authors wish to acknowledge the participation of the pharmacies and patients involved in this study.


No specific funding was received for this study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faten Alhomoud
    • 1
    Email author
  • Soraya Dhillon
    • 2
  • Zoe Aslanpour
    • 2
  • Felicity Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Clinical PharmacyUniversity of DammamDammamSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.University of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  3. 3.Department of Practice and Policy, School of PharmacyUniversity College London (UCL)LondonUK

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