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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2003 Sep-Oct;43(5):602-11.

Pharmacists' personal use, professional practice behaviors, and perceptions regarding herbal and other natural products.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, 7-159 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



To characterize pharmacists' personal and family use of, professional practice behaviors regarding, and perceptions of herbal and other natural products (H/NPs), and to ascertain whether these characteristics differ by pharmacists' education, practice setting, and other demographic characteristics.


Descriptive study.




Cross-sectional questionnaire mailed in June 2000.


A random sample of 1,017 pharmacists with active Minnesota licenses.


Of the 533 respondents, 282 (53%) reported personal use of H/NPs, and 240 (45%) reported having recommended H/NPs to a family member. Pharmacists working in community/outpatient settings and pharmacists living in nonurban areas were more likely to report H/NP use. Patients' requests, consumer demand, manufacturer's reputation, and manufacturer's ability to provide product quality data were key factors influencing respondents' decisions to purchase and stock H/NPs in the pharmacy. Trade journals/professional newsletters, continuing education coursework, reference texts, and reports of randomized clinical trials were considered very important sources of information about H/NPs. However, almost all respondents (95%) felt available information on H/NPs was "not adequate" or only "somewhat adequate." Half the pharmacists (51%) believed that H/NPs were safe, but only 19% believed they were effective. Slightly more than half of the respondents (56%) reported suggesting to a patient that he or she try an H/NP. The amount of government oversight of H/NPs was considered "not adequate" by 78% of pharmacists. On average, pharmacists reported that patients ask them questions regarding H/NPs 7 times per 40-hour workweek; other health care practitioners ask an average of 1.3 times per week.


Pharmacists' personal use of H/NPs is as high or higher than that of other groups of Americans, and they use similar products. Decisions to stock H/NPs in a pharmacy are influenced by consumer demand and concern for product quality. Pharmacists desire more information on H/NPs and more government oversight of these products, and pharmacists are increasingly being sought out as sources of information regarding H/NPs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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