Needs and use of drug information sources in community pharmacies: a questionnaire based survey in German-speaking Switzerland
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Methods: Postal survey to a random sample of 223 (26% out of 859) community pharmacies from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The 48-item questionnaires were processed automatically with the Cardiff TELEform®-Software. In addition, a telephone-survey to a random sample of 20 non-responders was performed in order to test for non-response bias.
Results: A total of 108 pharmacists (response rate 48%) reported that the official Swiss drug reference book is still the most popular source of drug information used to solve all kinds of drug related problems. The Internet as a source of drug information is of minor importance, even though 88% of the pharmacies have Internet access. Deficits in drug information were reported for paediatrics, phytotherapy, drugs during pregnancy/lactation and for therapy guidelines. According to 35% of the pharmacists, the importance of offering drug information to customers will increase in the future. Most of the pharmacists are not afraid that Internet pharmacies would replace them.
Conclusions: The results show that the majority of the community pharmacists are only partially satisfied with the sources of drug information currently available. The Internet still plays a minor role for solving drug-related problems in daily practice, even though the available infrastructure makes the community pharmacies able to use the Internet more frequently. The pharmacists need more websites tailored to their needs. The pharmacists have clear visions about possible future developments. They do, however, have to adopt quickly to the changes ahead in order to remain competitive.
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