Near to half of the participants in this study

Near to half of the participants in this study indicated that they consider the pharmacist as a mere vendor/dispenser. Similarly in the study done in Saudi Arabia by Bawazir, about 56% of participants considered that the pharmacists are more concerned with business (Bawazir, 2010). However, most of the participants considered pharmacists as an integral part of health care system which is an encouraging finding. Similar results were found in the study by Al-Arifi in Saudi Arabia and Perepelkin J in Canada (Al Arifi, 2012; Perepelkin, 2011). This demonstrates that pharmacists in Oman like in many other countries enjoy recognition as a vital member of the health care team.
Majority of participants opined that pharmacists should provide extended services such as health screening; BP monitoring, and blood glucose monitoring. Peterson G in his study of public perceptions on the role of Australian pharmacists in cardiovascular diseases reported a similar finding (Peterson et al., 2010). Our study results demonstrate that the time has arrived for the pharmacists in Oman to consider positively to include these allied health care services with the changing potentials of practice and expectations of consumers.
A high number of participants (93.9%) agreed that a pharmacist should check the prescription for accuracy in terms of drug name, dose, any problem in taking the medication together, etc before dispensing the medication. In the UK or Sweden, pharmacists are perceived as having the ability to check doctors’ prescriptions (Tang and Sporrong, 2008). It is quite evident that EMD638683 are very clear about the primary responsibilities of pharmacists and they expect pharmacists to deliver the same in the optimal way. Almost all of them expected that the pharmacist should let them know how to use medication and warn of any side effects and how to prevent it, quite similar to the response of participants in the Saudi study (Al Arifi, 2012). Promotion of drug safety by appropriate information sharing is considered as a prime responsibility of pharmacists and consumers acknowledge the same.
In this age of information explosion and sharing, it is not surprising to note that vast majority of the participants opined that it would be ideal that pharmacists provide advice on general health issues in addition to drugs. In the study by Sharma et al. and Eades et al. as well customers found the pharmacy a convenient setting to provide public health services (Sharma et al., 2009; Eades et al., 2011). This demonstrates the changing health information seeking behavior of patients as they might find physicians or nurses ‘too occupied’ to discuss about general health issues. Similar concerns regarding privacy as reported in present study were reported in other studies and they considered having a private consultation area in the pharmacy as an integral component (Hajj et al., 2011; Eades et al., 2011; Wirth et al., 2011).
Majority of participants (72.1%) indicated satisfaction with the kind of response pharmacists provide on questions related to drugs. Nevertheless, only marginally above half of the participants indicated that they were satisfied with the level of knowledge that pharmacist demonstrated related to drugs, while a good number (32.1%) were not sure about it. Ambiguity in the participant’s outlook on pharmacist’s knowledge level could be probably because many did not have an opportunity to have a professional interaction at a higher level to draw conclusions on the same. Indeed, the situation is better than EMD638683 what is reported in Qatar where only 37% of the public agreed that Qatar’s pharmacists were knowledgeable enough and were always ready to answer questions (Hajj et al., 2011). There were participants who were not satisfied with the language used by the pharmacist in discussing drug related matters. This could be influenced by the fact that a good number of pharmacists working in Oman health sector, especially in the community pharmacy setting are expatriates and majority from non-Arabic speaking countries. This could definitely influence their fluency while interacting with patients and affect the patient’s level of satisfaction. In the study conducted in Qatar, communication in the native language was an important quality expected by 72% of participants (Hajj et al., 2011). It is reported that lack of time, high pharmacist workloads and restricted funding result in limited patient interaction impeding the formation of interpersonal trust (Gidman et al., 2012). The amount of time spent by pharmacists during interactions was of concern for a good number of participants in our study similar to other (Wirth et al., 2011).