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      Factors Affecting Community Pharmacist’s Knowledge About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Management in China: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become a significant risk factor that threatens public health. Many studies have confirmed that the professional services for COPD patients by community pharmacists can improve comprehensive benefits. However, there’s less research investigating the factors affecting community pharmacists’ knowledge about COPD management. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the knowledge of COPD among community pharmacists in China and analyze the factors affecting community pharmacist’s knowledge about COPD management.


          This study employed a face-to-face, self-administered questionnaire survey targeting community pharmacists from three cities (Nanjing, Zhuhai, Qingyang) in China. Descriptive statistics, t-test and one-way ANOVA were used for data analysis.


          Out of the 794 pharmacists surveyed, 177 (22.3%) were completed and valid. The majority (91.0%) of participants had a positive attitude they were responsible for assisting patients to control the disease progression. Among 12 knowledge-related survey questions, only 34 (19.2%) pharmacists answered more than half of them correctly, showing that overall knowledge level of participants was generally low. The overall knowledge level was significantly ( P < 0.05) associated with higher academic education, on-the-job training, and pharmacies selling drugs for treating COPD. Regarding medical knowledge, participants got higher accuracy rates at some questions as the symptoms of COPD and identifying the main causative factors but were weak in disease characteristics and guidelines for disease diagnosis. As for medication, participants had a certain understanding of different drugs for COPD and their adverse reactions. For non-drug treatment, participants could not entirely choose the best non-drug treatment for patients, while most of them recognize the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation.


          This research indicated that community pharmacists in China lacked sufficient knowledge about COPD management. It is necessary to improve university education, strengthen on-the-job training, adjust the social insurance system, and develop service guidelines for licensed pharmacists to support their professional services for COPD patients.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with important chronic comorbid diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. The present study analysed data from 20,296 subjects aged > or =45 yrs at baseline in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). The sample was stratified based on baseline lung function data, according to modified Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) criteria. Comorbid disease at baseline and death and hospitalisations over a 5-yr follow-up were then searched for. Lung function impairment was found to be associated with more comorbid disease. In logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking, body mass index and education, subjects with GOLD stage 3 or 4 COPD had a higher prevalence of diabetes (odds ratio (OR) 1.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-1.9), hypertension (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3-1.9) and cardiovascular disease (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.9-3.0). Comorbid disease was associated with a higher risk of hospitalisation and mortality that was worse in people with impaired lung function. Lung function impairment is associated with a higher risk of comorbid disease, which contributes to a higher risk of adverse outcomes of mortality and hospitalisations.
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                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                01 December 2020
                : 15
                : 3171-3181
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau , Macao People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]National Licensed Pharmacist Development Research Center, China Pharmaceutical University , Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province 210009, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hao Hu; Carolina Oi Lam Ung State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau , TaipaN22-2057, MacaoTel +853 88228538 Email;

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Hu et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 39, Pages: 11
                Funded by: the National Licensed Pharmacist Development Research Center at the China Pharmaceutical University;
                This work was supported by a grant from the National Licensed Pharmacist Development Research Center at the China Pharmaceutical University (under Grant No. ndrplc201901).
                Original Research


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