In 2016, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare established the Health Support Pharmacy Certification System. The certification requirements include a track record of counseling regarding the use of over-the-counter drugs (OTC). Therefore, pharmacists must increase their self-efficacy for counseling.


To determine pharmacists’ self-efficacy for OTC counseling and related factors.


A web-based survey was conducted. Multivariate analysis was conducted to test the relationship among the mean scores of self-efficacy for OTC counselling for 25 symptoms, pharmacist attributes, years of work, psychosocial factor, job satisfaction, and level of trust from the community and patients.


We received responses from 250 people. The overall self-efficacy was 5.8 (SD= 2.4) but varied depending on the symptoms. Self-efficacy was relatively high for allergic symptoms (6.9), cold/influenza (6.9), and constipation (7.1), but relatively low for contraceptive drugs (3.8), palpitation/shortness of breath (4.6), and abnormal taste/smell (4.2). In bivariate analysis, items related to self-efficacy included “age” (Spearman correlation= 0.276, P<0.001), “Academic background” (-0.208, P=0.001), “number of years of work” (0.267, P<0.001), “level of trust from the community” (0.155, P=0.014), “level of trust from patients” (0.271, P<0.001), “job satisfaction” (0.236, P<0.001), “role clarity” (0.181, P=0.004), and “positive challenge at work” (0.271, P<0.001). Multivariate analysis indicated that the number of years of work (Standardizing Coefficient: 0.22), trust from patients (0.13), and positive challenge at work (0.25) had a positive effect on self-efficacy.


Years of work, recognition that they are trusted by patients, and positive challenge at work were important for the counseling self-efficacy of pharmacists. These results provide implications for pharmacy management and lifelong education strategies to promote self-efficacy in pharmacist counseling.

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Self-efficacy of community pharmacists and associated factors in counselling to support self-medication in Japan: A cross-sectional study

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