Background and Objectives: There is an escalating interest among patients and consumers in the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), specifically natural health products, for a variety of illnesses. The public interest in CAM makes it important to explore the attitudes and beliefs of pharmacists involved in selling and dispensing these products. Our objectives were to explore the attitudes of community pharmacists towards CAM and to gauge their opinions about the challenges faced when dispensing CAM during their daily practice. Methods: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted in Doha, Qatar. The Study utilized focus group meetings and a purposive sample of community pharmacists whose pharmacies sell CAM. Recruiting for focus group meetings continued until a point of saturation was reached. The discussions and responses to questions were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. All recordings were analyzed for recurring themes and subsequently coded and categorized. Results: Most pharmacists felt they were not equipped with sufficient information to competently recommend CAM to their clients and all have no access to information resources to update their knowledge. Pharmacists who graduated from the Indian subcontinent shared strong belief in traditional Indian remedies which shaped their practice in respect to CAM. Pharmacists have doubts about the safety of CAM and felt their undergraduate pharmacy courses did not prepare them to adequately assist their patients. Conclusion: Pharmacists were not confident in dispensing or recommending CAM to their patients. In view of the escalating interest in CAM, and in order for pharmacists to support patient autonomy in selecting health care interventions, colleges of pharmacy should make radical changes in those undergraduate courses that teach subjects related to CAM.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error