Sharing prescription medicines: results of a survey of community pharmacy clients in Auckland, New Zealand

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International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy


Background The practice of medication sharing, the lending (giving) or borrowing (taking) of prescription medicines, has been reported increasingly in the literature. Aim This study aimed to investigate prescription medication sharing practices among adults in Auckland, New Zealand. Setting Community pharmacies in Auckland. Method A cross-sectional survey was conducted in ten community pharmacies in Auckland during March, 2012. Clients were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire to assess their medication sharing practices. Main outcome measures Proportion of respondents reporting lending or borrowing; information provided or received. Results Of all participants (N = 642), 25.5 % reported borrowing, and 24.1 % reported lending prescribed medicines in the past year. Furthermore, 14.8 % of participants reported ever giving a child’s prescribed medicine to another child in their care, and 49.8 % reported having leftover prescription medicines at home. Of those who borrowed medicines (n = 164), 56.1 % received written medication instructions from the lender, and of the lenders (n = 155), 47.1 % provided verbal instructions with the lent medicines. Conclusion The sharing of prescription medicines in Auckland appears to be similar to that reported in other developed countries, and it is now clear that information provision while sharing does not always occur. Approaches to reduce harm resulting from sharing medicines should be explored.

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