Test result: Not enough advice in pharmacies

Test result: Not enough advice in pharmacies

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Local pharmacies and mail order pharmacies show weaknesses in advice

Appropriate advice is often not given either in the classic pharmacies on site or in mail-order pharmacies, according to the current result of an investigation by the Stiftung Warentest. Only eight out of 38 pharmacies tested scored “good” in the current test.

In Germany, pharmacies are compulsory to protect consumers. The medication may only be passed on by qualified specialists, who should also provide patients with information about impending side effects and interactions. There is therefore an obligation to provide advice here. The Stiftung Warentest has now examined the extent to which pharmacies live up to their responsibilities.

Only every fifth pharmacy gives "good" advice Overall, "only four of the 21 on-site pharmacies from the Dresden, Frankfurt am Main and Hanover area tested by the Stiftung Warentest had mastered their tasks well," reports the "Stiftung Warentest". Of the 17 mail order pharmacies tested, only four also received a “good” rating. According to the foundation, a mail-order pharmacy even scored “poor”. In order to test the professional qualification of the pharmacies, "on-site and mail-order pharmacies were given the same seven tasks: three for interactions and three for over-the-counter medicines", according to the Stiftung Warentest's announcement today. The seventh task was the professional preparation and labeling of a prescription, which only nine of the 38 pharmacies mastered “very well”. In general, the pharmacies had shown weaknesses in the professional quality, whereas the service was usually good.

Threatening interactions often not addressed. According to the Stiftung Warentest, only one of the pharmacies tested recognized "all important interactions." protection against heart attacks and strokes. ”Only a little more than half of the pharmacies had warned of the danger clearly. The mail-order pharmacies performed significantly better overall than the local pharmacies with regard to the indications of impending interactions in the current test. "Perhaps they use the software that is common in pharmacies, which indicates a risky interplay of medication," the Stiftung Warentest speculates. In return, the on-site pharmacies have provided more solid information about over-the-counter medications and how to take them. In both segments, however, the employees "demanded too little".

Patients should inquire on their own initiative. The pharmacy works regulations, which were last tightened in 2012, require advice on aspects of drug safety, such as changes and side effects. However, if pharmacists do not ask questions, they often do not find out which medicines their customers are still taking. "In case of doubt, consumers should take the initiative and inform themselves about the medication they are taking or ask specifically about possible interactions." (fp)

Image: Matthias Balzer / pixelio.de

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