A Point-of-Sale Communications Campaign to Provide Consumers Safety Information on Drug-Dietary Supplement Interactions: A Pilot Study

Adam I. Perlman, David G. Lebow, Karen Raphael, Ather Ali, Leigh Ann Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Concurrent use of dietary supplements with over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals has become increasingly common, and with this trend, so has the incidence of adverse drug-supplement interactions. In the current market, consumers have no way to distinguish between safe and potentially harmful supplements. Thus, the primary objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that messages designed to increase consumers' awareness of potential health risks of concurrent use of dietary supplements with over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals would promote further consideration and action, as evidenced by (a) seeking additional information from an authoritative source or qualified health care professional and (b) changing dietary supplement usage patterns. To test this hypothesis, an innovative consumer information delivery system, referred to as the Buyer Information Network (BuyIN), was utilized. BuyIN uses currently available, Web-enabled point-of-sale (POS) technology to provide up-to-date, evidence-based, health- and safety-related messages to consumers at the retail checkout counter. Results showed that more than one-fourth (27.1%) of consumers (n = 199) who purchased targeted items reported they were aware of the messages. Of this subgroup of aware consumers, 11.2% reported that they sought additional information from a physician or pharmacist, 11.5% reported that they visited the website listed on the coupon, and 10.5% indicated that they changed their dietary supplement usage patterns as a result of the messages. Future research should include a large-scale study of a fully implemented and capable system at multiple test sites around the country, including investigating the utility of BuyIN in different retail settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-739
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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