Luto facilitates future development of over-the-counter medicines information

Theo Raynor and Vivien TongDuring the summer of 2013, Luto had the pleasure of welcoming Vivien Tong, a PhD candidate from the Faculty of Pharmacy at The University of Sydney into our company. In a collaboration brought about by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), Vivien is jointly supervised by Associate Professor Parisa Aslani (The University of Sydney) and Professor Theo Raynor (University of Leeds), academic advisor to Luto and one of the co-founders of the company.

Vivien is conducting research in both Australia and the UK in order to improve medicine information supplied with
over–the–counter (OTC) medicines – in particular the product labels and package leaflets. Vivien decided to come to the University of Leeds and Luto to conduct the UK arm of her Phase 1 research – this involved gauging the performance of existing OTC labels and leaflets through direct user testing with 40 participants. In addition, the research explores how consumers use OTC medicine information and their own OTC medicine information needs.

By conducting her UK interviews at Luto, our facilities enabled Vivien to recruit users of OTC medicines. Vivien was given further training in user testing techniques and insights into the application of user testing in written medicines information development in the UK. By conducting interviews in the UK, Vivien will compare the results to those found in the Australian phase of testing. From this, she will gain an awareness of how best to improve OTC medicine information within each context, as well as generalising her results globally.

“Rewarding and inspiring”

When asked about her experience at the University of Leeds and Luto, Vivien commented “I am incredibly thankful to Associate Professor Parisa Aslani, Professor Theo Raynor, Luto and the School of Healthcare at the University of Leeds for the opportunity to conduct interviews with UK consumers at Luto. This short research stay was a critical learning experience that allowed me to develop and refine invaluable skills within the area of written medicine information development. The ability to experience first-hand the processes involved in improving the quality of written medicine information in real time at Luto has been both rewarding and inspiring.”

So, what’s next for Vivien?

Vivien is currently finalising the Australian Phase 1 interviews and preparing for Phase 2 of her research – this will involve optimising OTC medicines information based on the results of the Phase 1 testing, and further iterative user testing of the information with consumers.

Vivien will be presenting a progress update at the upcoming International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Annual World Congress 2014 in Bangkok in September this year. The presentation entitled ‘Quality of written medicine information for over the counter medicines’ forms part of the session ‘Improving the quality of the information pharmacists provide to patients’.

Synergy between Luto and academia

At Luto, supporting work in academia is very important to us. Research findings can inform national and European policy updates. It also means we can suggest improvements to our clients based on the findings of research, helping them provide better medicines information to patients.

Professor Theo Raynor said “Synergy is an over-used word, but it truly applies to the common-ground between the academic under-pinning of all of Luto’s work and its commercial activity. The University benefits from having Luto as a test-bed for academic research activity, and Luto benefits from being able to pass on the findings to our clients.”

We wish Vivien all the best for the remainder of her PhD and for her future career.