An explorative study of pharmacy-based bone mineral density testing

Sabrina Anne Jacob, Azmi Sarriff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to assess the future of pharmacy-based osteoporosis screening services in Malaysia through a survey involving retail pharmacists as well as the general public. An ethnographic-style research strategy method was used involving community pharmacists, and men and women above 50 years old. Pharmacists were interviewed as to whether they would offer such a service and how much they would charge for it. Information regarding knowledge on screening and osteoporosis was also obtained. Patients were queried as to whether they would go to the pharmacy for testing and how much they were willing to pay for such a service. The study found that around half of the pharmacists (n = 30) were willing to offer such a service (56.7%). Reasons cited for not willing to offer such a service were lack of public response and high capital. Those agreeable (88.2%) to offer such a service said they would charge between RM0 to RM50 per patient. The majority (64.7%) of those who answered in the affirmative claimed to have poor knowledge on screening, while 58.8% claimed to have good knowledge on osteoporosis. Among the public (n = 50; 31 female, 19 male), 66% claimed they would not go to the pharmacy for testing. Majority (46%) preferred to go to the government hospital. Of the 17 willing to go to the pharmacy, the majority (64.7%) were willing to pay between RM0 to RM50 for the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test. BMD testing can be professionally and financially rewarding for pharmacists. As such, pharmacists need to take appropriate steps to implement BMD testing services in the pharmacy. Incorporating an education component into such a service is vital. Although the future of pharmacy-based BMD testing looks bleak in Malaysia, necessary steps can be taken to overcome this problem by increasing public awareness on the severity of osteoporosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMalaysian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • bone mineral density testing
  • osteoporosis
  • pharmacy
  • osteoporosis screening services
  • Malaysia


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