This paper assesses awareness of the benefits and harms associated with OTC use of paracetamol and NSAIDs (predominantly ibuprofen) among Australian consumers to better understand how consumers check details are using these products. The data were collected at two time points, allowing interpretation of the impact of changes in scheduling status of oral ibuprofen
from within the pharmacy to general sales. Through a greater understanding of consumer beliefs we aim to gain insight into how to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of OTC analgesic use. Two cross-sectional self-report surveys were conducted (survey 1 in 2001 and survey 2 in 2009) by a commercial market research provider (The Leading Edge, Sydney, Australia). In both surveys, eligible subjects were drawn from a nationally representative and randomly selected sample of men and women aged 18 years or over who reported ever having used an OTC pain reliever. For each study, a minimum sample size of 1000 participants was sought to ensure a representative sample. Weighting for age, gender and location
was applied to adjust each sample to accurately reflect the natural population distribution. In 2001 the initial sample was drawn from Oz on Disk (United Directory Systems) whereas GDC-0980 clinical trial in 2009 participant selection was undertaken via random-digit dialling. In the 2009 survey, bad numbers (numbers that were either disconnected or incomplete), dead numbers (no dial tone), unanswered numbers (numbers dialled more than four times without a contact) and inactive numbers (inappropriate time to call such as on a public holiday) were removed from the total initial random sample
of numbers. In both surveys, among the answered numbers, potential participants who either declined to participate at any stage or who did not meet the inclusion criteria (i.e. who were not aged 18 years or over) were excluded. Eligible participants completed a computer-aided telephone interview, which was administered in English only. Both questionnaires were divided into many five main sections: (1) screening questions (to determine study eligibility), (2) information regarding current/past medical conditions and medications taken to manage them, (3) use of pain relievers and pain-reliever-purchasing behaviour, (4) awareness of risks associated with different analgesic compounds and (5) demographics. All respondents were asked to answer sections 1, 2 and 5; sections 3 and 4 were asked only if the respondent had indicated regular analgesic use (analgesics used at least once a month). The questionnaires can be supplied upon request to the corresponding author. The data were collected in accordance with Australian National Privacy Guidelines; no identifying data were collected and prior ethics committee review was not undertaken per guidance in the National Statements on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.