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Soc Sci Med. 1999 Jul;49(2):279-89.

Pharmacy and herbal medicine in the US.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy Administration, The University of Mississippi 38677, USA. phacsb@olemiss.edu


Herbal medicine is increasing in popularity in the United States. The market continues to grow, with a presence being established for commercially-prepared herbal products in community pharmacies throughout the nation. This survey was conducted to describe that presence in pharmacies and to describe pharmacists' perceptions of this product class. A response rate of 26.3% (n = 512) was achieved for a five-page mail survey sent to a geographically stratified random sample of community pharmacies in the United States. Approximately 73% of pharmacists responding indicated that their pharmacy carried commercially-prepared herbal products. Attitudinal items were included to measure pharmacists' perceptions toward these products, as those perceptions have the potential to influence attitudes and subsequently behavior (such as clinical involvement with patients wishing to integrate herbal products into an existing regimen). Pharmacists, on average, did not believe that herbal products are well standardized, or that the products are well accepted by the Food and Drug Administration or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Much potential exists for pharmacists to fill a role as information provider to patients who self-medicate with herbal medicines; must their perceptions of the product class be changed first?

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