The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the WHO/EuroPharm Forum "Questions to Ask About Your Medicines" campaign on patient counseling in Finnish community pharmacies.
The impact of the campaign was assessed by comparing the baseline findings with those at 3 months and 12 months after the implementation. The research methods involved observation of pharmacist-customer interactions, followed by personal interview of the customer.
The main positive outcome was the manner in which information was provided, as the counseling became more customized, more empathy was shown toward the customer, and haste was less obvious. The campaign did not increase the number of customers asking questions, with 6% asking at least one pharmacotherapeutic question throughout the campaign. Information was given mostly on the pharmacists' initiative, with approximately 40% receiving at least some oral counseling, mostly regarding how to use the medicine. Approximately 10% of the customers were provided with written information. No change was observed in the pharmacists' spontaneous provision of oral or written information.
The campaign was an attempt to set national and local standards for patient counseling in Finnish pharmacies. Further efforts are needed to change the content and availability of counseling.