The use of medicines bought in pharmacies and other retail outlets

Johnson, Julia and Bytheway, Bill (2001). The use of medicines bought in pharmacies and other retail outlets. In: Heller, Tom; Muston, Rosemary; Sidell, Moyra and Lloyd, Cathy eds. Working for Health. London, UK: Sage Publications, pp. 319–328.



Although older people in the UK receive free prescriptions for their medicines they are still significant purchasers of medicines and other pharmaceutical products. This chapter is based on research conducted by the authors and funded by the Department of Health on the management of long term medication by older people. A representative sample of seventy seven people age 75 years or more took part in the research. The chapter reports the findings relating to the use and consumption of over the counter products. It identifies four categories of usage by older people: for prevention and health maintenance; to treat symptoms as an alternative to going to the doctor; to supplement or replace prescription medicines; to treat the side effects of prescription medicines. It concludes that the study of the use of over the counter medicines is important in understanding older people's health maintenance strategies and their use of prescription medicines.

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