Community pharmacists' attitudes relating to patients' use of health products in Japan

Yasuko Asahina, Satoko Hori, Yasufumi Sawada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is little information about Japanese pharmacists' perceived facilitators and barriers to communication with patients about orally taken health products, including herbs and dietary supplements. Objective: To explore Japanese pharmacists' attitudes relating to patients' use of health products. Method: Qualitative study involving focus group interviews with pharmacists was conducted. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Setting: Focus group interviews with community pharmacists were conducted in Japan. Main outcome measure: Pharmacists' views and experiences about patients' health product use and their perceived facilitators and barriers to communication. Results: Sixteen pharmacists participated and were asked to describe their views and experiences about patients' health product use. Some were uncomfortable inquiring about and being asked about patients' health product use, due to lack of scientific evidence for their efficacy and safety, lack of knowledge to advise patients properly, and fear that they could not answer patients' questions. Other pharmacists had similar views or experiences, but those who were proactive in communicating with patients were motivated by certain predisposing factors, such as their professional responsibility for ensuring patients' health and safety. Conclusion: This study showed that differences in opinion about their roles might create differences in pharmacists' attitudes toward patients' health product use. This highlights the importance of reconsidering pharmacists' roles in community settings. Further studies and debate are needed in order to clarify the pharmacists' roles and to ensure the design of educational objectives that would enable pharmacists to support their patients in using health products and prescription drugs safely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-537
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative medicines
  • Complementary medicines
  • Focus group interview
  • Herbs and dietary supplements
  • Japan
  • Pharmacist
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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