BACKGROUND: This study interviewed community pharmacists in Shanghai and Guangzhou for their perception of the popular categories of over-the-counter (OTC) Chinese medicines and the factors affecting customer preferences for OTC Chinese medicines.<br /><br />METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in six main administrative districts in Guangzhou and eight main administrative districts in Shanghai, China. Descriptive statistical analysis was conducted in this study.<br /><br />RESULTS: OTC Chinese medicines contributed 21-50% among all the pharmaceutical sales by the community pharmacies. The prevalent categories of OTC Chinese medicines were common cold medicines, respiratory system medicines, digestive system agents, gynecological medicines, health tonic medicines, and qing re (heat-clearing) and qu du (detoxifying) medicines. Customers were more concerned about medical factors of OTC Chinese medicines than business factors. Among the medical factors, the most important was drug safety, followed by efficacy, contraindications, indications, and side effects. Among the business factors, the most important were brand and price.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: This study identified the top sales categories of OTC Chinese medicines in Shanghai and Guangzhou and the important factors such as drug safety, efficacy, period of validity, contraindications, and indications that are affecting the customer preferences for OTC Chinese medicines.
Ge, S., He, T. T., & Hu, H. (2014). Popularity and customer preferences for over-the-counter Chinese medicines perceived by community pharmacists in Shanghai and Guangzhou: A questionnaire survey study. Chinese Medicine (United Kingdom), 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8546-9-22