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The pharmacist's active role in combating COVID-19 medication misinformation.

  • Marwitz, Kathryn K
Published Article
Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA
Publication Date
Nov 04, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.japh.2020.10.022
PMID: 33199166


Pharmacists listen to and dispel medication misinformation daily. Because of their accessibility, pharmacists have the opportunity during pharmacist-patient interactions to begin a dialogue with their patients and provide critical education to improve patient safety and public health. Current examples of pharmacists intervening with medication misinformation include addressing the antivaccination community, educating on the safety of generic drugs, and using evidence-based medicine for antimicrobial stewardship. However, combating medication misinformation in pharmacy practice with patients takes on many forms and can pose a number of challenges. Most recently during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a concurrent infodemic has led to claims of pharmacotherapeutic superiority and efficacy unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Misinformation and partisan politics have also created a distrust in COVID-19 vaccine development. In addition, rogue Internet pharmacies and companies have marketed new and unverified COVID-19 treatments and tests. Pharmacists must actively combat these instances of medication misinformation and educate their patients on how not to fall victim to convincing marketing and misinformation schemes. Pharmacists can help patients recognize misinformation by vetting sources of information and communicating how negative emotional information circulates. In addition, pharmacists combat misinformation with patients by providing accurate alternative explanations in patient-friendly language. Although it is easier to stay silent and let misinformation circulate, pharmacists must work with their health care team members to actively reject misinformation pertaining to medications, COVID-19 pharmacotherapy and vaccinations, and in any future public health crisis. Copyright © 2020 American Pharmacists Association®. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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