Americans Share Many Things, Including Rx Drugs

Article excerpt

Most of the facts in a new Louis Harris poll aren't so new to pharmacists. They already know some consumers have trouble understanding labels on their medications. Ho-hum. And, of course, they know consumers ask their pharmacist about prescription and over-the-counter medications. Yawn.

But how about the fact that 20% of those polled admitted they had committed a pharmaceutical sin--taking Rx medicines prescribed for someone else? Now that's news a pharmacist can use to improve patient care.

"The vital role that prescription drugs play in preventing disease and as a curative for health problems is without question," said Richard Porter, publisher of Prevention magazine, which sponsored the poll. "This finding should send a warning signal to medical professionals that they must seek to identify those patients that may be practicing this habit and alert them to the possible dangers."

The survey of 1,256 randomly selected adults revealed that people who have attended or graduated from college (24%) are more likely to take drugs prescribed for someone else than are those with a high school education or less (16%). Only 10% of respondents over 50 years of age used another's prescription drugs, compared with 26% of those under 50. Southerners (23%), Westerners (25%), women (22%), and those in households with incomes above $50,000 (24%) are also more prone to the medication-sharing habit.

This is the first year the Prevention Index has looked at America's habits and attitudes about prescription and OTC medications. …

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