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Men need to take more positive role with medicines and health PDF Print Email

We already know men are generally pretty rubbish at looking after their health and a new survey confirms there are sharp differences between the genders when it comes to healthcare.


Nearly 9 in 10 men say they don't like to trouble a doctor or a pharmacist unless they have a serious problem, they delay seeking advice if they have side effects from medicines, and they often get their wives to collect their prescriptions for them, which means they're less likely to have a face-to-face discussion with pharmacy staff and to benefit from lifestyle advice. Furthermore, fewer men than women take part in wellbeing schemes like the NHS stop smoking service.


The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conducted a survey of 1700 UK adults which shows:


  • More men than women admit that their understanding of medicines is poor (23.1% against 15.6 women)
  • Men are twice as likely than women to take a new prescription medicine without first reading the patient information leaflet or seeking professional advice (10.9% of men against 5.1 women)
  • A third of men (31%) get their partner to collect their prescription medicines.  Men tend to rely on their female partners to stock the household medicines cabinet
  • 60% of men would suffer with a side effect of medicines for more than a week before seeking advice.


  • Nearly nine in ten men say they don't like to trouble a doctor or pharmacist unless they have a "serious problem". 37% of people - men and women - worry about taking time off work to seek professional advice when they are ill.

During Ask Your Pharmacist Week (5-12 November), thousands of pharmacies are displaying 'Two Small Steps for Man' window posters, encouraging men to step inside the pharmacy and enquire about the free NHS support available.


Mike Holden, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), said:


"We urge men to work in partnership with health professionals to get a firmer grip on their long term well being. With the help of their local pharmacy team, men can do more to stay well, not just get treatment when they are sick. A face-to-face discussion with the pharmacist can be the key to safer and more effective medicines use. Most pharmacies now have consultation areas, where you can talk with the pharmacist without being overheard."


"Pharmacies are well placed to reach out to men, because they are generally accessible and informal - you can get expert advice without an appointment. So I am delighted that so many pharmacies are making a special effort to reach out to men during Ask Your Pharmacist Week 2012."


"The experience with the NHS New Medicine Service in England shows that men will engage in a dialogue about their medicines if they can see that it will address an immediate and clearly identifiable need.  Nearly half of people accessing the NMS - a free advice service for people taking a new medicine for a long term condition - are men.


"The challenge is for us in pharmacy is to spread the message to more men about the benefits of using medicines properly and make them aware of the free, professional advice and support available which also involves healthy lifestyle advice."


Please remember your local pharmacy is normally open long hours so can often be visited out of work hours or weekends and you don’t need an appointment.  You'll find friendly advice from a highly trained medical professional.