Drug dispensing aims to promote rational medicine use. However, in many countries, the work processes are still not well defined. In this sense, the perception of pharmacists about dispensing practices presents an overview of how the service is being performed in the country and its main challenges. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the self-reported work process of Brazilian community pharmacists in relation to drug dispensing, challenges, and strategies for carrying out the service.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted between May and July 2021, with community pharmacists from all regions of Brazil. Pharmacists were invited to answer a validated, self-administered questionnaire, implemented through Google Forms, containing 33 questions related to the steps of drug dispensing (questions and counseling) and the main challenges and strategies to perform the service. The data were exported to Microsoft Office Excel and SPSS®. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the association between responses and demographic information, with a significance level of less than 5% (p < 0.05). This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee (number: 4.295.171).
A total of 625 community pharmacists responded to the survey. Most pharmacists reported always or frequently performing 17 (54%) of the 31 steps described in the instrument. The steps that pharmacists reported performing more frequently were forming the medication name (n = 569, 91.04%), verifying the completeness and adequacy of the prescription according to current legislation (n = 567, 90.72%) and providing counseling on dosage (n = 549, 87.84%). Documentation was the main step in which pharmacists reported never or rarely performing (n = 424, 67.84%). The results showed that there was a significant influence of the variables of public education institution, age, and postgraduate education on the frequency of dispensing steps (F(3, 621) = 14.884, p < 0.001; R2ajdusted = 0,063).
This study showed that most pharmacists reported always or frequently asking most of the questions and performing counseling contained in the instrument during drug dispensing. These results can contribute to an understanding of current dispensing practices and generate insights for developing strategies to qualify the service.