Mon, Jan 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Public knowledge of medicines needs improvement: poll

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

The public’s knowledge of the use of medicines still needs improvement if a policy to allow convenience stores to sell medicines is to be implemented, the Taipei City Government Department of Health said, citing the result of a survey it conducted on the public’s knowledge of medicine use.

The department had the Taipei Pharmacists Association and Taipei Medical University conduct a survey on the public’s knowledge of medicine use. The survey was conducted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15 last year, with 1,093 respondents at randomly chosen MRT stations, the department said.

The survey showed that up to 30 percent of respondents and nearly 40 percent of respondents above 61 years old, who more often use refill prescriptions for the treatment of chronic diseases, did not know that prescriptions issued by hospitals could be filled at local pharmacies.

In addition, about 25 percent of the respondents did not know they could ask pharmacists about drug usage and information before buying the medicines, the department said, adding that some people might risk drug misuse.

As online purchasing has become more popular in recent years, the survey showed that 28.5 percent of the respondents did not know drug sales on the Internet were illegal.

As for the use of over-the--counter (OTC) medicines that contain menthol, camphor and methyl salicylate, often used in balms for relief of migraines or mosquito bites, 56.8 percent of the respondents said they did not know they should be used with caution for babies under two years of age.

The department said the results showed that the general public still needs to improve its knowledge of medicine use, the department said, urging the public to ask pharmacists about drugs or carefully read drug instructions before taking them.

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