Information provision and retrieval by registered salespersons from consumers during over-the-counter drug sales – a questionnaire survey

Hayato Kizaki, Misato Mochizuki, Yutaka Yoshida, Kaori Ishikawa, Miya Ohishi, Hiroki Satoh, Yasufumi Sawada, Satoko Hori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In Japan, non-pharmacists who are accredited as registered salespersons can sell over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and they play a very important role in supporting proper OTC drug use by consumers. The purpose of this study was to evaluate information provided to and information collected from consumers, and cooperation with pharmacists during OTC drug sales by registered salespersons, and to clarify their related concerns and behaviors. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey of 385 registered salespersons working at 56 drugstores throughout Japan was conducted. Based on the questionnaire survey, the frequency of information provision/collection in various categories was determined for the registered salespersons. The relation between concerns of registered salespersons relating to OTC drug sales and the frequency of information provision/collection was examined. The frequency of consultation of registered salespersons with a pharmacist was calculated for registered salespersons with/without in-store pharmacists. The χ-square test or Fisher’s exact test was performed to assess the significance of differences. Results: Two hundred and seven registered salespersons (53.7%) responded completely. A greater number of OTC drug purchasers per day was associated with a greater frequency of information provision about “side effects” and information collection about “favorite items” (alcohol, tobacco, health foods, etc.) (p < 0.05). One hundred and thirty-nine (67.2%) participants had concerns about “interactions between OTC drugs and prescription drugs”, and these concerns were related to the frequency of information provision/collection (p < 0.05). Regarding the frequency of consultation with a pharmacist, 35 of 46 participants (76.1%) working with pharmacists answered “always” or “usually”, whereas only 19 of 161 participants (11.8%) working without full-time pharmacists answered “always” or “usually”. More than half of the registered salespersons thought that cooperation with a pharmacist was necessary when they were “asked about concomitant use with prescription drugs” or “told that side effects happened.” Conclusions: The results of this study show that experienced registered salespersons selling OTC drugs are more likely to collect information from consumers and to provide information to consumers. It appears to be important for registered salespersons to cooperate with pharmacists in order to provide and collect appropriate information about concomitant medications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1333
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Over-the-counter drug
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered salespersons
  • Self-medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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