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PUBLIC ATTITUDE TOWARD DRUG TECHNICAL PACKAGE INSERTS IN SAUDI ARABIA
Saleh A Bawazir, Hisham S Abou-Auda, Othman A Gubara,
Khalil I Al-Khamis, and Mohammed JMS Al-Yamani

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OBJECTIVE: To examine public opinion in Saudi Arabia regarding the technical drug package insert (PI) as a source of information and to assess the need for potential changes to the existing format in favor of a more patient-oriented package insert (PPI).

DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey was conducted from March through May 1998 by means of a self-administered questionnaire.

SETTING: Eighty-four community pharmacies in Riyadh.

PARTICIPANTS: Two thousand twenty-nine customers entering community pharmacies in Riyadh were enrolled in this survey.

RESULTS: Results of the survey showed that 88% of the respondents read the PI. The motives for reading the PI included the desire to know more about the medication (48.7%), to adhere to the prescription (21.7%), and to decide whether to take the medication (13.1%). From the list of information contained therein, respondents listed indications (47.1%) and adverse drug effects (46.6%) as the principal sections of interest. Respondents overwhelmingly endorsed the PI as a complementary source of drug information to the verbal instructions of the physician and the pharmacist. However, readers did criticize its detail, legibility, and poor graphic illustration. Respondents indicated their desire to see a concise PPI introduced, one that highlights only the most common adverse effects of a drug. It should be written in simple Arabic and include, whenever possible, illustrations to enhance comprehension.

CONCLUSIONS: The PI does not have the power to overrule the physician's or pharmacist's instructions. Since some patients may cease taking their medicines if they feel threatened by the adverse effects mentioned in the PI, precautionary statements should be prominently placed in the PI to explain the purpose of mentioning such information and what proper action should be taken by the patient.

J Pharm Technol 2003;19:209-18.

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