General Public and Community Pharmacists Perception on Counterfeit Medicines: A Preliminary Cross-sectional Study in Qatar IC01-IC06
Dr. Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim,
Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice, College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.
Introduction: One major contributing factor to the prevalence of counterfeit medicines in a country is the lack of knowledge and awareness of the society. Information on general public and healthcare professionals awareness and vulnerability towards counterfeit medicines in developing countries is limited.
Aim: To assess how the general public and pharmacists perceive counterfeit and substandard medicines and to evaluate their vulnerability level toward counterfeit medicines.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Qatar where a prevalidated questionnaire was used to collect information about: a) demographic characteristics, b) attitude, c) subjective norm, d) motivation, and e) behavioural intentions of pharmacists and public regarding counterfeit medicines on a Likert-scale. A total of 190 questionnaires were distributed conveniently to the public and community pharmacists. Chi-square and independent t-tests were used at p-value of 0.05.
Results: One hundred ninety questionnaires were distributed to both community pharmacists and public, however, only 167 (87.8%) were collected which resulted in response rate. Most of the results of the survey (41 items) were not significant (p-value>0.05). Only questions about awareness towards counterfeit medicines, its societal consequences, the effect of price affordability and the effect of pressure exerted by relatives and friends on purchase intent of counterfeit medicines gave significant difference between public and pharmacists (p-value = 0.05).
Conclusion: Overall findings suggested that there is no significant difference between pharmacists and public in the way they perceive counterfeit and substandard medicines. Both of them have the same susceptibility level toward counterfeit medicines. Both pharmacists and public have low-level of knowledge and moderate level of vulnerability to counterfeit and low-quality medicines.