Importance of labelling and patient knowledge to ensure proper care during drug dispensing: A case study from a tertiary hospital in Ethiopia


Correct drug labelling is central for ensuring proper drug dispensing and thus for patient safety. Labelling errors may result in adverse health outcomes. The objective of this study was, therefore, to assess the effect of labelling on the quality of drug dispensing and patient knowledge about dispensed drugs in Jimma University model and specialized hospital outpatient Pharmacies. Individual packages with prescribed drugs were examined using pretested questionnaire and observational check lists during the dispensing process. Patients’ knowledge about drugs dispensed to them was assessed at the exit interview using a pretested questionnaire. Out of 743 prescribed drugs, 682 (91.8%) were dispensed to 426 patients. The average labelling score (range from 0 to 6) of dispensed drugs in Model and Outpatient pharmacy was 2.00 (95% CI 1.97 to 2.04) and 1.73 (95% CI 1.6 to 1.8) respectively, with overall average labelling score of 1.90 (95% CI 1.84 to 1.91). The average patient knowledge score (range from 0 t0 5) was 3.45 (95% CI 3.31 to 3.59) and 3.5 (95% CI 3.35 to 3.64) for model and outpatient pharmacy, respectively, while the overall average knowledge score was 3.46 (95% CI 3.37 to 3.57). Major labelling problems were absence of patient’s name and dose followed by frequency of administration, duration of treatment, and the reason for prescription. Literacy status of patients had a significant effect on their knowledge (p < 0.005) but age had not (p > 0.05). We recommend that corrective measures targeting both, labelling and patients’ knowledge should be implemented to improve the patients’ safety and drug therapy adherence.

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Mekonen, S. , Samuel, W. and Ambelu, A. (2014) Importance of labelling and patient knowledge to ensure proper care during drug dispensing: A case study from a tertiary hospital in Ethiopia. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 1-7. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.41001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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