An Analysis of Public Knowledge and Awareness of Counterfeit Medicine and Approaches to Minimise its Supply in Ireland

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Curran, Stacey
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Introduction Consumption of counterfeit medicine poses detrimental unpredictable risks to public health and impacts public health globally. Counterfeit medicinal products have been seized in Ireland by The Health Products Regulatory Authority HPRA, therefore the Irish public is at risk of being exposed to such illicit products. Assessing the public’s level of knowledge and awareness of counterfeit medicine and approaches of minimising supply will enable an analysis of this problem to be performed. Research on the topic will highlight if the level of knowledge and awareness requires improvement and the implementation precautions which would

contribute towards reducing supply.

Objectives The main objective is to perform an analysis of public knowledge and awareness of counterfeit medicine in Ireland. This research aims to assess factors which impact on level of

awareness. Risks associated with consumption and approaches of minimising supply will also be identified.

Methodology The primary data was collected from an online questionnaire and interviews whereby pharmacists and health care workers were invited to participate. 116 participants from the public in Ireland partook in the online questionnaire and two participants partook in a face to- face interview. Overall, a total of 118 individuals participated in this cross sectional


Results This research highlights the requirement for raising the public level of knowledge and

awareness of counterfeit medicine. Factors such as level of education, social class, region of

residence, cultural practices, rates of employment and gender were all found to impact level

of knowledge and awareness. Research also found that avoiding the online purchase of

medicinal products through unverified sources would reduce supply of such counterfeit products.

Conclusion Counterfeit medicine is a threat to public health globally and more specifically Ireland. With advances in technology and increased use of the internet, this is becoming a growing threat. The public level of knowledge and awareness could be improved by raising awareness through various campaigns and initiatives. Participation and backing from key stakeholders and industry professionals in Ireland would be a vital input on raising public awareness.

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