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      Qualification, knowledge and experience of dispensers working at community pharmacies in Pakistan

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          Pharmacies are managed by a variety of dispensers in terms of qualification, knowledge and experience in Pakistan.


          The study aimed to document the state of knowledge, experience and qualification of dispensers working at community pharmacies in Pakistan.


          A comparative cross sectional study was conducted at a randomly selected sample of 371 pharmacies in the three cities of Pakistan. A structured questionnaire for data collection was developed and finalized by focused group discussions and pilot testing. The data was coded, entered and analyzed by using SPSS Version 16. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests (p≤0.05) were performed to find out differences.


          Out of total sample of 371 pharmacies, 31.8 % (118) were in Islamabad, 32.4 % (120) in Peshawar and 35.8 % (133) were in Lahore. Fifty percent of the respondents had correct knowledge of range of room temperature at which medicines should be stored. Only 11.1% (41) of the respondents knew about OTC (over the counter drugs) which can be sold without prescription while 5.9 % (22) of the respondents were aware of POM (prescription only medicines) which can be only sold on a valid prescription. While 87.6% (325), 88.1% (327), 58.7% (318) and 95.7 % (355) of the respondents did not know the meaning of the dispensing abbreviations such as ‘h.s’, ‘q.d’, ‘sos’ and ‘p.r.n’. The respondents did not know correctly the status of Deltacortil® (Prednisolone), Septran® (Sulfamethoxazole) and Fansidar® (Pyrimethamine and Sulfadoxine) either as OTC or POM in 26.7% (99), 64.2% (238), and 44.5 % (165) of the cases, respectively. There was a significant difference (p≤0.05) in knowledge of dispensers regarding storage temperature, prescription terminologies and status of medicines having different level of qualification and experience.


          The overall knowledge and training of dispensers working at community pharmacies is inadequate in Pakistan. However, pharmacists had relatively better knowledge regarding storage temperature, prescription terminologies and status of medicines as compared to pharmacy assistants, diploma holders and salesperson.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Pharmacies, self-medication and pharmaceutical marketing in Bombay, India.

           M Nichter,  V. Kamat (1998)
          Studies of pharmaceutical practice have called attention to the role played by pharmacists and pharmacy attendants in fostering self-medication and medicine experimentation among the public. Left undocumented is the extent to which clients passively follow the advice of pharmacy personnel or question their motive or expertise. While research has focused on pharmacists and pharmacy attendants as agents encouraging self-medication and medicine experimentation, adequate attention has not been paid to pharmacist-client interactions that are sensitive to the social, cultural, and economic context in which medicine sales and advice occur. This paper highlights the context in which pharmacy attendants engage in "prescribing medicines" to the public in Bombay, India. An ethnographic description of pharmacies and pharmaceutical-related behavior in Bombay is provided to demonstrate how reciprocal relationships between pharmacy owners, medicine wholesalers and pharmaceutical sales representatives (medreps) influence the actions of pharmacy staff. Attention is focused on the role of the medicine marketing and distribution system in fostering prescription practice, pharmacy "counter-pushing" and self-medication. In documenting the profit motives of different players located on the drug sales continuum, it is argued that the economic rationale and the symbiotic relations that exist between doctors, medreps, medicine wholesalers and retailers, need to be more closely scrutinized by those advocating "rational drug use".
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            The role of pharmacists in developing countries: the current scenario in Pakistan

            During the past few years, the pharmacy profession has expanded significantly in terms of professional services delivery and now has been recognized as an important profession in the multidisciplinary provision of health care. In contrast to the situation in developed countries, pharmacists in developing countries are still underutilized and their role as health care professionals is not deemed important by either the community or other health care providers. The aim of this paper is to highlight the role of pharmacists in developing countries, particularly in Pakistan. The paper draws on the literature related to the socioeconomic and health status of Pakistan's population, along with background on the pharmacy profession in the country in the context of the current directions of health care. The paper highlights the current scenario and portrays the pharmacy profession in Pakistan. It concludes that although the pharmacy profession in Pakistan is continuously evolving, the health care system of Pakistan has yet to recognize the pharmacist's role. This lack of recognition is due to the limited interaction of pharmacists with the public. Pharmacists in Pakistan are concerned about their present professional role in the health care system. The main problem they are facing is the shortage of pharmacists in pharmacies. Moreover, their services are focused towards management more than towards customers. For these reasons, the pharmacist's role as a health care professional is not familiar to the public.
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              Malaria treatment in the retail sector: Knowledge and practices of drug sellers in rural Tanzania

              Background Throughout Africa, the private retail sector has been recognised as an important source of antimalarial treatment, complementing formal health services. However, the quality of advice and treatment at private outlets is a widespread concern, especially with the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). As a result, ACTs are often deployed exclusively through public health facilities, potentially leading to poorer access among parts of the population. This research aimed at assessing the performance of the retail sector in rural Tanzania. Such information is urgently required to improve and broaden delivery channels for life-saving drugs. Methods During a comprehensive shop census in the districts of Kilombero and Ulanga, Tanzania, we interviewed 489 shopkeepers about their knowledge of malaria and malaria treatment. A complementary mystery shoppers study was conducted in 118 retail outlets in order to assess the vendors' drug selling practices. Both studies included drug stores as well as general shops. Results Shopkeepers in drug stores were able to name more malaria symptoms and were more knowledgeable about malaria treatment than their peers in general shops. In drug stores, 52% mentioned the correct child-dosage of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) compared to only 3% in general shops. In drug stores, mystery shoppers were more likely to receive an appropriate treatment (OR = 9.6), but at an approximately seven times higher price. Overall, adults were more often sold an antimalarial than children (OR = 11.3). On the other hand, general shopkeepers were often ready to refer especially children to a higher level if they felt unable to manage the case. Conclusion The quality of malaria case-management in the retail sector is not satisfactory. Drug stores should be supported and empowered to provide correct malaria-treatment with drugs they are allowed to dispense. At the same time, the role of general shops as first contact points for malaria patients needs to be re-considered. Interventions to improve availability of ACTs in the retail sector are urgently required within the given legal framework.

                Author and article information

                Pharm Pract (Granada)
                Pharm Pract (Granada)
                Pharm Pract
                Pharmacy Practice
                Centro de Investigaciones y Publicaciones Farmaceuticas
                Apr-Jun 2011
                17 June 2011
                : 9
                : 2
                : 93-100
                Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, University Sains Malaysia . Penang (Malaysia) and Associate Professor. Hamdard Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Hamdard University , Islamabad (Pakistan).
                College of Pharmacy, Al Qassim University . Al Qassim, (Saudi Arabia).
                Copyright © 2011, CIPF

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                The study was partially funded by Research & Development program of Ministry of Health, Government of Pakistan.
                Original Research


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