Australian pharmacists' knowledge of the efficacy and safety of complementary medicines

Freya Waddington, Mark Naunton, Greg Kyle, Gabrielle O'Kane, Gabrielle Cooper, Jackson Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Global usage and expenditure on complementary medicines is increasing. Over 50% of consumers purchase these products from pharmacies and expect pharmacists to provide them with appropriate information regarding efficacy and safety of these products. Internationally, pharmacists have identified their lack of detailed knowledge of the efficacy and safety of these products as a barrier to recommending these products. Currently, little is known about the actual knowledge Australian pharmacists have of these products. This research seeks to determine Australian pharmacists' knowledge of the efficacy and safety of complementary medicines. An online survey was validated and distributed by three professional pharmacy bodies in Australia and online social media to survey Australian pharmacists' knowledge of a selection of complementary medicines that are defined as having therapeutic benefits as per the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines. In total, 535 complete surveys were returned and included in the final analysis. Surveys were predominantly completed by community pharmacists. The mean knowledge score obtained was 62%. There were no statistically significantly different results from pharmacists with a nutritional qualification. Australian pharmacists appear to have a basic knowledge of complementary medicines with a defined clinical effect. Specialised and targeted education focussing on relevant and efficacious complementary medicines with strong clinical evidence base is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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