Blackmores Institute to ramp-up research into consumer understanding of supplements in Singapore

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Lesley Braun will be speaking at the Singapore symposium on March 23.
Dr Lesley Braun will be speaking at the Singapore symposium on March 23.

Related tags Pharmacy

Gaining a greater understanding of Singaporeans' understanding of supplements – and the types of services and advice they want pharmacists to provide – has become a key focus for Blackmores Institute as it prepares to host its first symposium in the city state later this month.

The institute, the academic arm of Australia’s supplement brand Blackmores, is in discussions to provide a pharmacy practice research grant to facilitate such research.

This will be the organisation’s first study in Singapore, and follows similar research undertaken in Australia.

Professor Dr Lesley Braun, Director of Blackmores Institute, and author of the Australia study, said it was critical to understand what consumers want from pharmacists.

“Complementary medicine use in Singapore is growing and while anecdotally we know many people are choosing to take these products to support their health, less is really understood about consumer’s complemetary literacy, their perception of safety and efficacy and what type of advice they would like from their pharmacist,” ​she said.

“We want to be able to help pharmacists provide the best possible advice to consumers. Therefore, we need to know what consumers want. When we carried out this work in Australia we found a strong demand among consumers for pharmacists to be able to make product recommendations, share safety advice and explain how complementary medicines relate to prescription medication.”

The specific aims of the consumer survey are to:

  • Identify consumer behaviour, usage, attitude and perception of supplements in the management of health
  • Investigate consumer understanding of safety and efficacy of supplements intake.
  • Recognise the sources of information consumers seek when considering supplements, and how they determine appropriate usage.
  • Understand consumer expectations about the role of health professionals, particularly pharmacists in addressing their queries supplements.

The proposed survey will be conducted as a face-to face interview via random sampling of different consumers at pharmacy outlets throughout Singapore.

Symposium date

Blackmores Institute has provided an unencumbered grant for the programme and will not be directly involved in trial design, patient recruitment, data entry, analysis or report writing.

Dr Braun added: “The more research that is conducted into Complementary Medicine, the better we will be able to understand how it can be utilised to promote better health outcomes for the public.”

The Singapore symposium, of which NutraIngredients-Asia is the exclusive media partner, takes place at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront on March 23.

Dr Braun stressed that the symposium was open to all pharmacists and those with an interest in this field.

The day-long event, which is free to attend, will hear from a range of speakers, including Peter Fell, pharmacist manager at UFS Dispensaries in Australia, who has considerable experience in integrating complementary medicines into the company’s pharmacies.

Dr Braun will also be speaking, discussing the latest research in omega-3.

People interested in attending the event can find out how to register here.

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