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Pharmacists critical for helping more European consumers to practice self-care with confidence, according to a new survey

Results suggests pharmacists are bringing balance to pressured health systems by providing an alternative source of trusted and convenient healthcare advice

BRUSSELS, Feb. 2, 2024 — A new survey1 of 5,000 European consumers commissioned by Kenvue, the makers of Nicorette®, LISTERINE® and Imodium® suggests that consumers are opting to visit pharmacists for self-care and are conscious of the positive impact it can have on alleviating healthcare system pressures.

The data, presented for the first time at a roundtable event in Brussels, show it is still common for consumers to seek advice or reassurance from a GP, particularly when symptoms last longer than usual or are worse than normal. However, almost every second consumer (49%) has chosen to visit a pharmacist rather than a doctor for advice in the last year, even though a consultation was necessary from their point of view. Around a fifth (19%) have done so multiple times.

See the infographic related to this data, here.

Trusted healthcare partners

Findings show that pharmacists are a highly valued source of healthcare advice for European consumers. More than a quarter (28%) of those who had chosen to visit a pharmacist rather than a doctor in the last year said this was because they trust their local pharmacist to provide healthcare advice. Additionally, around two in five (42%) say this is where they typically turn to for healthcare advice.

Health system pressures

The high level of trust in pharmacists is positive news for healthcare systems more broadly. Previous research shows that if self-medication were not available, around 120,000 more physicians would be required in Europe or, alternatively, each physician would have to work 2.4 hours longer per day2. This was echoed in the new survey, which found that if self-care treatments were less accessible, most consumers would visit a doctor for a prescription instead.

Survey responses indicate that European consumers recognize the positive role that pharmacists and self-care play in building sustainable healthcare systems. More than a third (36%) of consumers who prefer to get treatments for minor ailments from a pharmacy said they do so to save doctors’ time.

Self-care confidence

Results also suggest that consumers would benefit from a greater understanding of the services and advice pharmacists offer, particularly when they feel unsure about what to do. More than a quarter currently choose to visit a doctor for minor ailments simply for reassurance (30%) and 22% would see a doctor for guidance on product choice or dosage– both areas where pharmacists could provide advice and help consumers feel more confident about their self-care choices.

Speaking at the roundtable event, Ilaria Passarani, Secretary General, Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) said: “It is good to see that consumers value the key role pharmacists play in depressurizing healthcare systems. Every day pharmacists provide important self care advice to thousands of people – from how to treat common ailments to smoking cessation and more.”

Carlton Lawson, Group President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America at Kenvue said: “Empowering people to take their health into their own hands is something we strive to do every day through our brands such as Nicorette®, LISTERINE® and Aveeno®. It’s extremely positive to see that consumers across Europe recognise the importance of self-care. It is vitally important to ensure access to over-the-counter medicines and maintain self-care as one of the central pillars of a modern and sustainable healthcare system. Pharmacists have a crucial role to play as a source of expert healthcare advice and services, helping more consumers to practice self-care with confidence.”

Notes to editor – about the new survey

In total, 5,007 people were surveyed online by Censuswide from five countries with 1,002 adults from the UK, 1,003 adults from France, 1,002 adults from Italy, 1,000 adults from Spain and 1,000 adults from Germany aged between 18-74. Survey responses were collected between 02 and 04 October 2023.

For more information about Kenvue, please visit:

1. Kenvue and Censuswide - Consumer Research. October 2023. Survey of 5,007 adults aged 18-74 in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.