Public Perception of the Role of Pharmacists and Willingness to Pay for Pharmacist-provided Dispensing Services: A Cross-sectional Pilot Study in the State of Sabah, Malaysia
Malaysian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmacists play an important role in healthcare delivery. Over the years, their role has shifted from product-oriented to patient-oriented. This study aimed to assess the perceptions of the public towards the role of pharmacists and the willingness of the public to pay for pharmacist-provided dispensing services in Sabah. This was a questionnairebased, cross-sectional study conducted from September 2014 to June 2015 in three major cities in Sabah, namely, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau. The
... akan and Tawau. The respondents were conveniently selected and interviewed based on a questionnaire to assess their perceptions of the role of pharmacists. A contingent valuation interview was then conducted to assess the respondents' willingness to pay. A total of 647 respondents were interviewed. Of the respondents, 61.4% agreed that pharmacists knew more about their medications and side effects and how to use the medications than their doctors. However, more than half of the respondents (54.4%) perceived that the pharmacists' role was only to supply medications and 66.6% of the respondents perceived that the pharmacist's role was to follow doctors' directions. Of the respondents, 89.0% appreciated and adhered to the counselling points provided by their pharmacists; 85.0% of the respondents hoped that pharmacists could play a greater role in healthcare in the future. Forty percent of the respondents agreed that community pharmacists were simply business people who sold products in their pharmacies. Finally, 55.3% of the respondents were willing to pay for pharmacist-provided dispensing services. The median (interquartile ranges [IQR]) amount that they were willing to pay was RM5.00 (IQR RM5.00). Respondents in this study showed variations in their views of the pharmacy profession. Nevertheless, more than half of the respondents valued pharmacist-provided dispensing services and were willing to pay RM5.00 for the services. To improve pharmacy practice, efforts should be undertaken to address the respondents' misunderstandings about the pharmacy profession and to promote the roles of pharmacists to the general public.