The Patient Package Insert (PPI) in a Developing Country: The Way Forward
Both Prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) medications in South Africa are issued with a medication insert in the package. Due to a very diverse socio-economic profile, many people rely on self-medication. Through quantitative and qualitative research it was established that there are communication barriers in the PPIs, resulting in inaccessibility of the medication information. Identified barriers include, amongst others, PPI aspects, information and language aspects. The research therefore included both text and reader variables in determining the type and nature of the barriers. Suggested changes to these essential documents include a rethink of the design, information and language usage in order to create a cultural competent new document that communicates clearly and informatively. This is the only way that this health communication tool will fulfil its role as useful informational channel, accessible to all patients/medication users in a developing country.
Keywords: Health Communication, Patient Package Inserts, Reader and Text Variables, Communication Barriers, Cultural Competence
Dr. Daleen Krige
Lecturer, Department of Communication and Information studies, University of the Free State