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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 215-222

Drug promotion in a resource-constrained Nigerian environment: A cross-sectional study of the influence of pharmaceutical sales representatives on the prescribing behaviors of medical practitioners in Abia State


Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Gabriel Uche Pascal Iloh
Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_73_17

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Background: Pharmaceutical drug promotion is an important component of pharmaceutical care and is one of the factors that may lead to unethical drug prescriptions. As the impetus for rational drug use grows, emphasis should also be focused on prescribing behaviors of physicians, particularly in resource-poor settings. Aim: The study was aimed at describing the influence of drug promotion by pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) on the prescribing behaviors of medical practitioners in Abia State, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A descriptive study was carried out on a cross-section of 185 medical practitioners in Abia State, Nigeria. Data collection was done using a pretested, self-administered questionnaire that elicits information on practice and attitude to drug promotion, types of incentives, frequency of visits, drug promotion methods and information, sources of drug information, and awareness of code of regulation on drug promotion. Results: The age of the participants ranged from 28 to 71 years. There were 166 males and 19 females. The prescribing practices of 47.6% of the medical practitioners were influenced by drug promotion and 66.5% of them had positive attitude to drug promotion. One hundred and sixty-four (88.6%) were visited >12 times in the previous year. The most common incentive received was branded stationeries (100.0%); predominant drug promotional method and information were in-person clinic encounter (100.0%) and brand names of the drugs (100.0%), respectively. The most common source of drug information was calling a colleague/pharmacist (93.5%) while 84.9% of the respondents were aware of code of regulation on drug promotion. The prescribing practice (P = 0.041) and attitude (P = 0.032) to drug promotion were significantly associated with working in public hospitals. Conclusion: Drug promotion by PSRs influenced prescribing practices of medical practitioners with 66.5% of them having positive attitude to drug promotion. The most common incentive, drug promotion method, and information were branded stationeries, in-person clinic encounter, and brand names of products/drug indications, respectively. The most common source of drug information was calling a colleague/pharmacist, and awareness of code of regulation of drug promotion was inadequate.


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