Pharmacovigilance of over-the-counter products based in community pharmacy: A feasible option?

H K Sinclair, C M Bond, P C Hannaford, Grampian Pharm Network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: With the increasing range of potent medicines available for sale 'over-the-counter' (OTC) in community pharmacies, this feasibility study set out to develop and validate a method for the pharmacovigilance of OTC medicine, using ibuprofen as a model.

Method: A trained network of community pharmacies (n = 61) in Grampian, Scotland, tested different methods for recruiting people buying ibuprofen for their own use (pilot 1) and then used the 'best' method to test two methods of follow-up (pilot 2).

Results: Recruitment rates - method 1 (pharmacy staff inserted the patient information sheet and recruitment questionnaire in the shop bag of eligible subjects): 18% (41/227) of questionnaires issued; method 2 (staff explained the study and asked eligible subjects to complete the questionnaire outwith the pharmacy): 31% (61/194); method 3 (staff explained the study and asked eligible subjects to complete the questionnaire in the pharmacy): 52% (100/192). A further 200 subjects were recruited in pilot 2. The majority of recruits (n = 402) were female (75%), mean ape 43 years (range 18-84 years), 73% drank alcohol, 72% were non-smokers, and 56% were in the two most affluent socio-economic categories. There was a strong association between the drug dose data collected prospectively and that collected retrospectively. The average response to postal follow-up was 80% (315/392) at 1 week and 79% (308/390) at 2 months.

Conclusion: The study has confirmed the support of pharmacy personnel in undertaking research and indicated the feasibility of a major pharmacovigilance project of OTC medicines. Copyright (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-491
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • community pharmacy
  • research network
  • pharmacovigilance study
  • non-prescribed medicines
  • ibuprofen

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