Credibility of the sources of information for non-prescription medicines

P. Gore, S. Madhavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The overall goal of this study was to determine consumers' perceptions of the credibility of commonly used sources of information for non-prescription medicines. Data collected from 458 consumers from six contiguous states in the United States were used in this study. Two types of people sources were evaluated for credibility: expert sources (pharmacists and physicians) and lay sources (family and friends/colleagues). Source credibility was measured as a function of three dimensions: expertise, trustworthiness, and empathy. Consumers evaluated each source on each of these dimensions using five bi- polar adjectives arranged in a 7-point semantic differential format. All of the credibility dimension scales were found to be reliable with Cronbach's alpha coefficients greater than 0.89. Results indicate that consumers perceive both pharmacists and physicians to be highly credible sources. But physicians were perceived slightly more credible than pharmacists as a source of information for non-prescription medicines. While pharmacists and physicians were rated high on the expertise and trustworthiness dimensions, family members and friends/colleagues were rated high on the empathy dimension. Significant differences were noted in consumers' perceptions of source credibility when compared on the basis of consumer demographic and non-prescription medicine purchase characteristics. Frequency of source consultations and the acceptance rate of source recommendations were found to be positively associated with consumers' perceptions of source credibility. Consumers who preferred non-prescription medicine counseling by pharmacists rated pharmacists higher on the expertise and trustworthiness dimensions than consumers who did not prefer it. Consumers who were willing to pay for pharmacist counseling for non-prescription medicine purchases rated the physician lower on the expertise dimension than consumers who were not willing to pay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


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