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9/6/2000
Press Release

New Research Reveals Americans Want More Information About Their Medications

A new survey of more than 1,000 Americans reveals that consumers are regularly using the Internet to find health information. The survey also found that one out of three respondents said they do not believe that the supplemental materials that typically accompany prescriptions provide enough information about drug interactions. In addition, less than half (47 percent) "strongly agree" that these information leaflets are helpful.

Part of a series conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to find out how consumers receive health and medical information, the survey also probed consumers to determine if they feel the information they receive with their prescription medication is sufficient.

According to the survey, only 37 percent of respondents "strongly agree" that the information they receive with their prescription medications is easy to understand. Only 36 percent "strongly agree" that it is complete.

An online survey of 1,000 Internet users revealed that three out of four Internet users (76 percent) use the Web to search for health information. Almost half (48 percent) said that they have searched online for specific information about their prescription medications. Respondents said they would most likely search online for information about medication side effects (86 percent), general drug facts (81 percent), and drug interactions (78 percent).

A third survey of more than 1,000 consumers revealed that almost half (46 percent) of the American population currently takes a prescription medication. In the past year, Americans, as a whole, took an average of three different prescription medications. More than eight in ten adults

(86 percent) agree that it is important to know detailed information about any prescription that they take. Specifically, the survey revealed that 86 percent of Americans are concerned about drug interactions; 84 percent are concerned with adverse drug effects.

When looking for health information, 49 percent of survey respondents said that they would ask a pharmacist. More than half the respondents (54 percent) said they would most trust a book authored by a non-profit association of pharmacists.

"Our research shows that consumers feel the supplemental information they usually receive with their prescription medications is not complete," said Society President Bruce E. Scott, M.S. "We want patients and consumers to know that they can turn to their pharmacists with any medication-related questions."

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of their medications. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP’s primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. The Society publishes AHFS Drug Information, a comprehensive resource widely recognized by physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, and other health care professionals as the premier source of complete drug information.

Click here for the full research report.