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Trends in the receipt of medicines information among Finnish adults in 1999-2014: a nationwide repeated cross-sectional survey

15 Jun 2019

Objective

The aim of this study was to examine long-term trends in the receipt of medicines information (MI) among adult medicine users from 1999 to 2014.

Design

Repeated cross-sectional postal survey from the years 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008–2014.

Setting

Each study year, a new nationally representative sample of 5000 Finns aged 15–64 years was drawn from the Population Register Centre of Finland.

Participants

The range of annual respondents varied from 2545 to 3371 and response rates from 53% to 67%. Of the total responses (n=29 465), 64% were from medicine users (n=18 862, ranging by year from 58% to 68%).

Outcome measures

Receipt of information on medicines in use within 12 months prior to the survey from a given list of consumer MI sources available in Finland.

Results

Physicians, community pharmacists and package leaflets were the most common MI sources throughout the study period. Receipt of MI increased most from the Internet (from 1% in 1999 to 16% in 2014), while decreased most from physicians (62% to 47%) and package leaflets (44% to 34%), and remained stable from community pharmacists (46% to 45%) and nurses (14% to 14%). In 1999, of the medicine users 4% did not report receipt of MI from any of the sources listed in the survey, while this proportion had remarkably increased to 28% in 2014.

Conclusions

Healthcare professionals and package leaflets had still a dominating importance in 2014 despite the growing number of MI sources over time, but still a minority of adult medicine users reported receiving MI via the Internet in 2014. Worrying is that the proportion of adult medicine users who did not receive MI from any of the sources became seven fold during the study period.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open