NPA research gets BBC Breakfast platform

The National Pharmacy Association’s Director of Pharmacy, Leyla Hannbeck, appeared on BBC Breakfast to detail latest research by the professional body that show almost half of all patients believe the risks associated with common medicines are exaggerated and many put themselves in danger by ignoring professional advice.

The new survey also shows that some people are irritated by the medicines safety protocols in pharmacies and are prepared to fib in order to get around them.

A previous 2018 study¹ found at least 6% of emergency re-admissions to hospital are caused by Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs). The estimated cost to the NHS of definitely avoidable ADRs is £98.5million per year.

In the interview Hannbeck warned of the dangers of sharing prescription drugs with others and advised that any 'left over' medication should always be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal. 

The new survey, carried out online in September 2018, reveals:

  • Almost half (41%) of people believe that the information leaflets provided in medicines boxes exaggerate the risks of side effects;
  • Only 32% always read the leaflet
  • 27% say they would buy a medicine from elsewhere (e.g. a supermarket or garage) even after a pharmacist has advised the medicine is inappropriate for them
  • 40% say they are sometimes irritated when counter staff ask safety-related questions before they will hand over a medicine; 15% of people have fibbed about their health to a member of staff in a pharmacy in order to get hold a medicine
  • More than half (52%) do not feel comfortable challenging advice given to them by a doctor; 43% are uncomfortable challenging a pharmacist’s advice
  • 16% have at least once collected prescription medicines without any intention of using them – rather than raise their doubts with the doctor or pharmacist.

Nevertheless, nearly nine in ten people (87%) agree that “talking with my pharmacist will help me get the most from my medicines and reduce my risk of harm”.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association said: “Having a good understanding of how their medicines work helps patients take an active role in their own care. 

“Patients should give full and clear information to their pharmacist and be supported to demand full and clear advice in return.”

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