Latinos' sources of medication and medication information in the United States and their home countries

Betsy Sleath, Susan J. Blalock, Deborah Bender, Michael Murray, Ana Cerna, Mauricio G. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The objectives of this study were: (1) to investigate what predisposing, enabling, and need factors are related to the purchase of medicines from "tiendas" and other countries and (2) to describe who Latinos typically receive medication information from in the United States and their home countries. In the United States, Latino grocery stores are referred to as "tiendas". Methods: Individuals were eligible to participate if they: were age 18 and over, self-identified as being Latino, and they or their children were currently taking prescription medications. Ninety-three individuals were interviewed in Spanish. Results: Forty-two percent of participants reported purchasing medicine in "tiendas" but only 5.4% reported that "tiendas" were their usual source of medicine. Ninety-one percent of individuals used U.S. pharmacies as their usual source of medicines. Individuals with health insurance were significantly less likely to have purchased medicine at a "tienda" (odds ratio = 0.16, 95% confidence interval = 0.03, 0.86). Thirty percent of individuals reported buying medicines in another country to bring back to the U.S. for their use. The most commonly purchased medicines included: antibiotics, vitamins, pain medicine, and herbal medicine. The Latinos in this sample preferred to receive verbal information about medications from their physicians (75.3%) followed by pharmacists (16.1%). Conclusion: Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Latino patients reported using pharmacies as their usual source of medication, many participants reported having purchased medications from "tiendas" and other countries. Practice implications: Providers need to make sure to ask patients from all ethnic backgrounds about all medicines they are taking, especially those purchased in "tiendas" or other countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign medications
  • Latinos
  • Medication information
  • Tiendas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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