Objective: Product Information Leaflets (PILs) are an important source of information for patients on their
medication, but may cause confusion and questions. Patients then may seek clarification, for instance from pharmacy technicians. The aim of this study was to explore which questions pharmacy technicians get about PIL-related issues, why and when, and how they handle such questions.
Methods: an online survey in a panel of 785 Dutch pharmacy technicians.
Key results: Net response rate was 37%. PIL-related questions frequently concerned drug actions, problems with use, side effects, intolerances and pregnancy and lactation. Patients who received generic alternatives instead of the branded product they had received previously, also came more often to pharmacy staff with PIL-related questions. The requested information could not always be found in the PIL itself, not even by the pharmacy technicians themselves. They mentioned that the PIL is not easy to read, understand or recall.
Conclusions: Pharmacy staff is often approached by patients having difficulties in understanding PILs. Even pharmacy technicians find PILs difficult to read and often use other sources of information. PIL layout and contents should become more standardized and easier to read and understand.