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Taking Medication Properly

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Research released today by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) found that 33% of Irish people do not always read instructions before talking over the counter medicines when buying products for the first time. And two out of ten Irish consumers never, or only sometimes, read new prescription information when taking a new prescription medicine. And 64,000 Irish consumers are now buying medicines over the internet, many of which are counterfeit.

Pat O'Mahony, CEO Irish Medicines Board.

Key findings from the research carried out by the IMB:

. Almost three in four of those surveyed claim to read product information (on the leaflet and label) before taking a prescription medicine for the first time.

. Among those who do not read the product information, the vast majority qualified this by explaining that their GP or pharmacist give them the necessary information.

. 67% read the product information before taking an over the counter medicine for the first time.

. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed always seek advice from a healthcare professional - typically a pharmacist - before taking a new over the counter medicine

. GPs (68%) and pharmacists (25%) are by far the most trusted sources of medicines advice

. Two out of ten adults are averse to medical product information. This group never or only sometimes read new prescription product information and rarely seek advice from a healthcare professional before taking a new over the counter medicine.

In relation to the internet, the results show that to date only a very small number of consumers are purchasing medicines online. However, the survey findings do reveal that the internet is playing an increasingly important role among Irish consumers with a quarter of adults (25%) using it as a source of information about medicines. Despite the fact that 75% do not use the internet for this purpose, 62% of all adults still rate the internet as a fairly good, good or excellent source of medicinal product information:

. Of the one in four consumers (245 respondents) who do go online:
- 51% believe the internet does not influence their ultimate choice of medicine or treatment;
- 33% are looking for details about the type of medicines available to treat specific conditions;
- 30% are attempting to diagnose health symptoms (self-diagnosis).

. Just two percent of the population (64,000 adults) claim to have actually purchased medicines over the internet.

. However, one in ten said they would consider purchasing medicines online in the future. Cost was cited as a key motivator for the potential purchase of medicines online.

. While 66% of respondents have a concern about the authenticity or safety of medicines available on the internet, 12% do not have concerns in this regard. 20% have never previously considered this issue.

. Almost seven out of ten adults were unaware that it is illegal in Ireland to purchase prescription medicines on the internet.

For more information on how to take your medicines correctly, you can go to