Approaches to over-the-counter medications teaching in pharmacy education: A global perspective


  • Vassiliki Sinopoulou University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire
  • Paul Rutter University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire


Diagnosis, Non-Prescription Medicines, Over-the-Counter Medicines, Teaching, Undergraduate


Objective: The rise in patients seeking advice on symptoms and over-the-counter medications in community pharmacies requires that pharmacists possess the right knowledge and ability to make appropriate recommendations. The aim of this study was to investigate the current state of over-the-counter medication teaching in pharmacy schools worldwide.

Method: An internet survey was sent to 324 pharmacy schools. Descriptive statistics were calculated and qualitative data were analysed for themes. Ethical approval was gained by Wolverhampton Science Ethics Committee, United Kingdom.

Results: The response rate was 25.9% with 84 responses from 24 countries. Results showed that the main focus of teaching was: to provide students with knowledge on symptom presentation (97%); how to gather information, predominantly by using mnemonic acronyms (97%); and ensuring safety through referral mechanisms (74%).

Conclusion: Pharmacy schools, overall, provide appropriate teaching centred on diagnostic ability, to manage patients signs and symptoms, however, staff employed and teaching methodologies used could be reviewed to better equip future students with the right knowledge and skills.

Author Biographies

Vassiliki Sinopoulou, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire


Paul Rutter, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire

Professor in Pharmacy Practice, The School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


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Research Article