WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2016)—Pharmacy Today released findings of the American Pharmacists Association’s (APhA) Annual Over-the-Counter (OTC) Product Survey.* The survey, conducted in July and August 2015, presents the OTC products most often recommended in the U.S. and demonstrates the various ways pharmacists assist their patients.

In addition to the product recommendations, the survey reveals that pharmacists estimate 79 percent of patients purchase the over-the-counter (OTC) product they recommended, 90 percent of pharmacists walk a patient to the OTC section to assist with a product selection and the average patient consult takes only four minutes of the patient’s time. In addition, pharmacists, on average, counsel 27 patients per week about OTC medications.

The surveyed patients sought their pharmacist’s advice for a number of reasons, including those who require assistance in identifying the most appropriate product (94 percent), patients suffering from an acute or chronic condition (83 percent), patients worried about using an OTC product with other prescription medications (76 percent) and patients worried about taking OTC products with a specific disease/condition (63 percent). The most frequently asked questions by patients regarding OTC products were about adult cough and cold products (91 percent), pediatric cough and cold products (61 percent) and vitamins/dietary supplements (61 percent).

With more than 300,000 OTC drug products on the market, in more than 80 therapeutic classes, it is critical that patients consult their pharmacist to maximize the benefits from medications and minimize the potential for harmful drug interaction and/or side effects.

As the medication experts, pharmacists are trained in both prescription and over-the-counter medications and can provide patients with important information about how medications may interact with certain foods, other medicines or dietary supplements. Pharmacists can help patients select products that address the patient’s individual needs and to navigate their way through the various products available. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and APhA encourages patients to actively seek their advice about the proper use of medications.

More than 1,000 practicing community pharmacist recipients of Pharmacy Today completed the survey, which was published in the March 2016 edition of the publication. It consisted of eight introductory OTC questions and a series of 89 product categories, for which the recipients were asked to write in approximately how many times per week they had recommended each product. These 89 product categories were divided into three groups of questions, each of which was sent to one-third of participants. Results are grouped by organ system or general use of the products. The groupings were derived from the structure of APhA’s Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs, the definitive source of professional information about OTC products.

* Being a #1 recommended product in the survey does not indicate Pharmacy Today or APhA endorsement of any product or service. 

Read the full survey here.