The survey questionnaire consisted of a brief introduction to the

The survey questionnaire consisted of a brief introduction to the study and eleven questions. The questions consisted of close ended, multiple-choice, and fill-in short answers. The questionnaire was constructed to include two sections. The first section comprised demographic information on both age and employment status, and close ended questions about whether they received previous continuing education on herbal medicines, or accessed herbal information at practice settings, and whether they sold herbal medicines at their practice sites. The second section asked about the frequency at which herbal medications are discussed with patients, how often this information was recorded in the patients’ medical record in the pharmacy, what barriers may prevent this type of discussion, what resources are currently available at practice settings, and what perceived resources would be helpful in answering herbal inquires. Notably, gender is not included in the demographics where female pharmacists are not allowed to work in PS341 pharmacy in Saudi Arabia. The term “herbal medicine or herbal medications” was used throughout the survey to exclude vitamin and mineral use, in addition to minimizing varying assumptions of what is meant by this term. The full list of the survey questions are shown in Table 1.
The data from each of the returned questionnaires were coded and entered into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) which was used for statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics include percentages; means and frequency distribution were calculated for each of the variables. Chi square test was used to find the correlation between qualitative variables at the 5% significance level. The statistical measure of agreement (kappa) was calculated for the same categorical variable. A p-value of less than 0.05 represents a significant difference.

Results
Only one thousand four hundred one pharmacists responded to the survey (response rate is 82.4%) with a completely answered questionnaire. The demographic characteristics of the respondents were summarized in Table 2. The mean age of the respondents was 30.37years with a standard deviation of ±5.641years. The majority of the respondents (72.8%) are employed full time while 27.2% work part time. More than half of survey respondents (62.6%) received previous continuing education on herbal medicines and 37.4% were not well in this regard. Around sixty five percent (65.6%) of the participated pharmacists were accessed for herbal information at their practice site while 76.1% of the respondents sold herbal medicine at their practice site.
Pharmacists who discussed herbal medicine use with their patients rely on various resources to answer inquiries and gather information pertaining to herbal medicines. Reliable herbal resources currently available with the respondent pharmacists at their practice sites are illustrated in Fig. 1. The findings in this study indicated that community pharmacists turn most greatly to Web sites (44.8%) to find information on herbal medicines followed by manufacturer-provided information such as package inserts and pamphlets or brochures (39%) and books (32.9%). Only a minority of respondents had access to computer database (13.3%) and other resources (2.2%).
Generally, when respondents were asked about their favorite resource format that would be helpful in answering questions and advising their patients about herbal use, a majority of the pharmacists surveyed perceived Web sites (47.5%) and books (38.4%) (Fig. 2). These were followed by manufacturer-provided information (28%) and consultation services provided by the pharmacy (17.4%), while, others preferred computer database (14.3%) and other resources like journals, magazines, lectures and seminars (1.5%). The percentage exceeded 100 per cent because respondents can choose more than one answer.
Additionally, the results show a significant correlation between accessibility of pharmacists to herbal information at practice sites to some variables including continuous education on, selling of, discussion with patients about the use of, and recording the use of, herbal medicine (p-values <0.05) (Table 3). Regarding the employment status, Table 4 shows no significant difference between the views of fulltime and part time employed pharmacists in relation to all measured parameters. Table 5 shows significant correlations (p-value >0.0001) and agreement (kappa coefficient=0.28) between the answers of respondents about the use of herbal medicine and discussion of herbal medicine use with patients.