OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of a short inquiry the second time that the prescription was presented at the pharmacy (SP) counter on the detection of drug related-problems as perceived by patients in a community pharmacy. The implementation of the SP procedure is also described. METHOD: At SP patients were asked to give a short description of their experience with their newly prescribed drug. Patients' drug-related problems were recorded on a SP form and were categorised into three groups: side effects, inefficacy, and problems with use or instruction. Data were also matched with drug categories. The ATC classification was used. A comparison with a control pharmacy was made. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Drug experience, patients' drug-related problems, side effects, inefficacy, problems with the use or instruction. RESULTS: Data from 700 SP forms showed that in 78% of cases patients did not have problems with the use of their new drugs. In the remainder of cases (22%), drug-related problems mainly concerned side effects (49%; 76 out of 156) and complaints about the drugs not being as effective as expected (inefficacy: 49%; 77 out of 156). In the control pharmacy no drug-related problems were detected in 30 SP contacts. Patients using gastrointestinal drugs reported fewer side effects than patients using cardiovascular drugs. Patients using respiratory drugs reported more often that the drug was not effective than patients using cardiovascular drugs. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that the SP procedure encourages patients to report their drug problems at the counter in the pharmacy.