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Health Expect. 2004 Sep;7(3):191-202.

Feedback from community pharmacy users on the contribution of community pharmacy to improving the public's health: a systematic review of the peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature 1990-2002.

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Health and Society, School of Pharmacy University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.



To systematically review feedback from pharmacy users on their perceptions and experiences of health-related advice and services provided from community pharmacies.


The focus of the review was community pharmacy activities in relation to promoting health and well-being, preventing ill-health and maintaining health. Searches were conducted for peer-reviewed (international) and non-peer-reviewed (UK) research. Electronic databases searched included MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts; hand searches of key journals and conference abstracts, key informants. Key informants in the UK were contacted to identify unpublished studies. The inclusion period was 1990 onwards. Data extraction and synthesis Data were abstracted into a matrix by one author with a sample checked by a second. The Health Development Agency's Evidence Base 2000 standards and the evidence categories used by the Department of Health in the National Service Frameworks were applied to each item.


Seven peer reviewed papers and 13 non-peer reviewed reports were identified for inclusion in the review. Consumer usage of pharmacies is almost universal with prescription supplies and purchase of over the counter medicines predominating. Evidence shows that not only is usage low for general health advice, but that pharmacists are perceived as 'drugs experts' rather than experts on health and illness. Emergency hormonal contraception and head lice management schemes have been well received. There is a need to consider privacy and confidentiality surrounding advice giving.


Users of community pharmacy-based health development initiatives express a high level of satisfaction. If community pharmacies are to be used to their full extent, then actions to extending the public's awareness and acceptance of the pharmacist's role in giving advice will be crucial. Further research will be needed to measure any change in premises development on the public's perception of the level of privacy in pharmacies.

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