Internet overtaking medication leaflets as source of information

Patients are more likely to use the internet for information than read the instruction leaflet that comes with their medication, new research has revealed.

Internet: patients turning to online

A new survey, by Kyp, found that more than 60 per cent of respondents were ‘likely' or ‘very likely' to use the internet to research medical conditions and the treatments that had been prescribed.

In comparison, 65 per cent ask their doctor, 40 per cent look at information leaflets and 27 per cent consult a pharmacist. Respondents were not limited to one answer in the research.

Kyp is a marketing solutions company with particular expertise in the pharmaceutical industry. Clients include AstraZeneca and Bayer.

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of those questioned said that they would like to hear about the medication they received via their doctor.

Young people in particular relied upon the internet more as a source of information than traditional leaflets, with 28 per cent of 19- to 25-year-olds using the internet, compared with just 11 per cent reading leaflets.

The research shows that older people are more likely to read patient information leaflets but that almost two thirds (64 per cent) will also use the internet.

The Kyp survey backed up government figures that put the cost of wastage to the NHS at £100m annually. Forty-three per cent of respondents admitted that they had failed to complete a course of medication at least once.

Kyp CEO Nicholas Miller said: 'With wastage and compliance such major issues for the NHS and pharma industry, understanding how patients prefer to learn is vital to ensuring they are actively engaged with their treatment.'

These findings are the result of a web survey commissioned by Kyp and conducted by 72Point and OnePoll in September 2009. The mixed sample consisted of 1,000 members of the British public.

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