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Res Social Adm Pharm. 2015 Jul-Aug;11(4):545-59. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

Exploring culturally and linguistically diverse consumer needs in relation to medicines use and health information within the pharmacy setting.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Rm N401, Badham Building No A16, NSW 2006, Australia.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Rm S303, Pharmacy and Bank Building No A15, NSW 2006, Australia.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Room 410, Pharmacy and Bank Building A15, NSW 2006, Australia. Electronic address:



Low health literacy may result in adverse health outcomes for patients and is a problem faced by countries with multi-ethnic demography. For those of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, this problem can be compounded by language barriers such as low English proficiency (LEP). The pharmacy is often the last point of health-care provider contact before patients begin taking their medicines and the first point of care for minor ailments. There is a paucity of data exploring or establishing the needs of this population with respect to general medicine use/health information and pharmacist assistance.


This study aimed to investigate the needs of CALD Australians with low or negligible English proficiency, specifically in regards to their understanding of health and medicines and the role of pharmacy in achieving best medicine use outcomes for this population.


A qualitative method was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals of CALD backgrounds with a self-reported low or negligible English proficiency. The interviews explored past experiences with medicines use and interaction with health care professionals. A grounded theory approach with the method of constant comparison was undertaken for analyzing the data. Interviews were conducted until there was a saturation of themes.


Thirty-one interviews were conducted, and data analyses identified themes relating to medicine use of CALD community members which were broadly categorized into: (1) health information, (2) interactions with health care professionals, (3) social networks and (4) perceptions and beliefs influencing health-related behavior.


In CALD communities there are significant barriers to patient understanding and optimal use of medicines. There is significant potential for pharmacy to facilitate in addressing these issues as currently pharmacy is largely playing the role of dispenser of medicines. Whilst timely access of medicines is being ensured, there seems to be ample room for improvement in terms of pharmacy's role in facilitating appropriate and efficacious use of medicines with such CALD community members.


Culturally and linguistically diverse patients; Health literacy; Low English proficiency; Pharmacy

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