Veganism: are future pharmacists ready to provide advice?

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In addition to advising about diets, nutritional deficiencies, and supplements, pharmacists should be confident discussing medicine-related issues that may arise from people adopting veganism, including checking about animal-derived pharmaceutical product excipients, formulation processes, and determining whether vegan-friendly alternatives exist. Thus, this study aimed to investigate pharmacy students' knowledge and views about veganism.

Given veganism's increasing popularity and relevance to pharmacy practice, students enrolled in their last year of the undergraduate master of pharmacy degree program at Queen's University Belfast participated in this voluntary study. The questionnaire was given out at an obligatory workshop (only non-identifiable data were requested). Students were scored on veganism knowledge (22 true/false statements) with other analysis about views being largely descriptive in nature.

Ninety-two out of 101 (91.1%) completed the questionnaire. Only one reporting being vegan. Mean knowledge score (possible range of 0–22) was 16.59 (±2.43). Only 37% (34/92) reported feeling confident discussing veganism with patients or other healthcare professionals and 40.2% (37/92) deemed they could establish whether a medical product is vegan-friendly. A minority (4.3%) considered they had received adequate training on veganism. A greater proportion of males than females considered that vegans are too forceful with their beliefs (74.2% vs. 51.7%).

This study presents the first description of pharmacy students' knowledge and opinions on veganism (from a single institution only). The reported gap in educational provision and lack of confidence needs to be investigated and addressed to enhance patient-centered care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-519
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2021


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