Dutch consumers handle self-care medicines safely

31 January 2020

by Anne-Marie Huikeshoven

Consumers know how to act before purchasing and when using self-care medicines. Before purchase they read the package, and before use they read the package leaflet and follow the instructions therein. This appears from the Kantar consumer survey among 516 respondents.

Self-reliant consumers
Consumers are capable of independently informing themselves about the use of self-care medicines. When they first buy a self-care product, 83% reads the information on the package. When consumers use a self-care medicine for the first time, 90% reads the most important information in the package leaflet. For self-care medicines that they have used before, this is lower because they already know the medicine, but nevertheless on average 69% of all consumers read the package leaflet often or always. Consumers are self-reliant and use the available information on self-care medicines responsibly.

Safe use
Self-care products are always safe when used according to the instructions in the package leaflet. Consumers actually read the package leaflet and follow the instructions therein. 74% of consumers rarely or never deviate from the dosage stated in the package leaflet. And for the people who do, it is not a risky excess in the vast majority of cases. On the contrary. Those people then consciously use less than what is in the package leaflet or deviate on the advice of a medical doctor or nurse. A small minority does that in a way that could entail a risk. For example, only 3% of consumers have the misconception that exceeding the dosage can do no harm and actually do that sometimes or often. The majority of consumers show that they use self-care medicines safely.

Confidence leaflet high
More than 80% of consumers have (very) great trust in the package leaflet, both of prescription and of freely available self-care medicines. 83% have (very) great confidence in the package leaflet of a self-care medicine and therefore come close to the trust in the advice of healthcare professionals doctors and pharmacists (> 90%).
Importance of product information
The package and the package leaflet provide the user with the information necessary for safe and effective use. Even if a medicine has been used more often, reading the package leaflet remains important. After all, the user’s situation may have changed in the meantime. For example, if a self-care medicine is used in combination with other (prescription) medicines, it is important to read the accompanying leaflets to prevent unwanted and unintended interactions. When in doubt about the simultaneous use of medicines, it is advisable to consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Package leaflet always at hand
At Zelfzorg.nl and with the Zelfzorg app, consumers can consult the original package leaflets of the self-care medicines before they are purchased. With the app, the consumer scans the EAN-code of the self-care medicine and immediately sees the original package leaflet as it is in the package.

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