The Outcome of an Education Programme to Assist Pharmacists in Prescribing Over-the-counter (OTC) Products for Common Skin Diseases


  • Phyllis M Lau Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University (Parkville Campus), 381 Royal Parade, Parkville Vic. 3052, Australia;
  • Robin Marks Department of Medicine (Dermatology), St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy Vic. 3065, Australia
  • Kay Stewart Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University (Parkville Campus), 381 Royal Parade, Parkville Vic. 3052, Australia;


educational programme, OTC, skin diseases


Aim. Dermatology within the Pharmacy: an Education Programme on Common Skin Conditions for Pharmacists was developed to assist pharmacists in Australia with both the diagnosis of common skin diseases and the prescribing of appropriate non prescription medications for their treatment. The educational resources comprised a 107-page book with colour photographs and diagnostic flow charts and a video that complemented the book. The programme was evaluated to determine its effectiveness in improving pharmacists’ skills and confidence in diagnosis and management, and participants’ satisfaction with the resource.

Method. Two hundred and ten community pharmacists, recruited by telephone from a list of community pharmacies, participated in the evaluation. Pharmacists were randomly allocated into three groups. Group 1 received printed educational material; group 2 received printed material and a supporting video; group 3 served as the control.

A mail questionnaire to assess pharmacists’ confidence and skills in diagnosing and managing common skin conditions was distributed prior to distribution of the educational materials, and at one month and six-months after distribution.

Results. One hundred and eighty-three pharmacists completed all three evaluations. Analysis at four weeks showed that groups 1 and 2 improved significantly in their skill in diagnosis whilst group 3 were relatively unaffected. Group 2 also increased significantly in their confidence in both diagnosing and managing skin conditions. Improvements were maintained six-months after the education programme.

One hundred and eleven pharmacists (60.7%) completed evaluations of their satisfaction with the programme. They rated both the book and the video very highly in helping to improve their ability to diagnose and manage skin conditions.

Conclusion. These data suggest that practical educational programmes such as the DEP are worthwhile in ensuring that consumers with common skin diseases receive appropriate advice in the community pharmacy setting.


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How to Cite

Lau, P. M., Marks, R., & Stewart, K. (2001). The Outcome of an Education Programme to Assist Pharmacists in Prescribing Over-the-counter (OTC) Products for Common Skin Diseases. Pharmacy Education, 1(2). Retrieved from



Research Article