A Qualitative Study Exploring the Impact Of The Pharmaceutical Price War Among Community Pharmacies In The State Of Penang, Malaysia
Dr Mohamed Azmi Hassali, PhD
Associate Professor,Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy,Universiti Sains Malaysia
BACKGROUND: Competition among community pharmacists in developing countries can be very intense due to the unregulated pricing mechanism for pharmaceuticals. Within this context, it is relatively unknown as to what extent the current pricing strategies for pharmaceuticals can improve the professional practice of community pharmacy in these countries.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the factors contributing to the occurrence of the price war and to explore its potential impact on the current pharmacy practice in community pharmacies.
DESIGN: Qualitative research by using individual interviews.
PARTICIPANTS:Ten community pharmacists throughout the state of Penang who were recruited by using the â€˜snowball samplingâ€™ technique participated in this study.
DATA ANALYSIS: All the interviews were transcribed in verbatim and were thematically analyzed.
RESULTS: Four main themes emerged when the factors associated with the price war phenomenon among community pharmacies in the State of Penang were analyzed. These were (1) The distribution of the community pharmacy premises; (2) The role of pharmaceutical companies; (3) The lack of the development of price control mechanisms by the government and (4) The role of the community pharmacists. The participants also highlighted the negative impact which was imposed by the pharmaceutical price war. These included the shrinkage of the profit margins, the lower survival rate of the pharmacy in the current market and the negligence of pharmacy professionalism. Finally, several suggestions were put forward to resolve this phenomenon, including the role of government agencies in developing policies to control the price war by limiting the number of pharmacies in an area, as well as enforcing the recommended retail price policy.
CONCULSION The pharmaceutical price war was commonly reported and due to itsâ€™ impact on the survival of the community pharmacies and also the professionalism of the pharmacists, prompt action needs to be taken to address this phenomenon.