Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
SILVA, Luci Rodrigues da and VIEIRA, Elisabeth Meloni. Pharmacists' knowledge of sanitary legislation and professional regulations. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.3, pp.429-437. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102004000300014.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the profile of pharmacists employed as technical supervisors in drugstores and evaluate their knowledge regarding certain aspects of the legislation controlling drugstores and the profession in general. METHODS: Based on 175 drugstores in the city of Ribeirão Preto, southeastern Brazil, 100 pharmacists/technical supervisors were randomly selected. Data collection was done by means of in-person interviews, and was guided by a questionnaire evaluating knowledge and attitudes. Data were processed and analyzed using Epi Info and Stata software. Associations were sought between dependent and independent variables using Pearson's chi-squared and Fisher's exact tests. RESULTS: Most pharmacists were women (64%), aged 22-29 years (47%), graduated approximately three years prior to data collection, trained to work in the pharmaceutical industry (36%) or in clinical analysis (29%). Pharmacist's knowledge of sanitary legislation was considered as insufficient for 28% of subjects, regular for 50%, and good for 22%. Low levels of knowledge were observed regarding the legal requirement for the presence of a pharmacist during the entire drugstore opening hours, pharmacists' attributions, sale of antibiotics, and penicillin administration. It was found that most professionals have difficulties handling the concepts of 'generic' and 'similar' drugs. Low level of knowledge was not associated with any of the independent variables, indicating that this is a generalized phenomenon, i.e., one present among pharmacists of all age groups and both sexes, irrespective of the time since graduation, institution attended, and modality of graduation, among others. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that training in the field of drug pharmaceutical care, during undergraduate studies and, especially, during traineeship in pharmacies and drugstores is deficient. It is necessary to divulge information concerning sanitary legislation so that pharmacists may fully exert their profession, without risk of legal threats or hazard to the population.
Keywords : Pharmacists; Legislation, pharmacy; Pharmaceutical services; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Legislation, health; Education, pharmacy.