Attitude and Challenges of Consumers and Pharmacists Towards Reporting Counterfeit Medicines in Lagos State, Nigeria

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Sinclair Chibuzor, Hillary
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Counterfeit medicines are drugs deliberately misbranded, mislabeled, or adulterated with the intention of deceiving people into thinking they are genuine. Consumers and pharmacists play vital roles in reducing their circulation by reporting suspicious products to the authorities. Such information provides the regulatory authorities with valuable insights, enabling them to take necessary actions to stop the distribution and sale of these drugs. This study aimed to evaluate the knowledge of consumers and pharmacists in Lagos regarding the presence of counterfeit drugs in the Nigerian market, their associated risks, and their attitudes toward reporting such drugs. Additionally, the study investigated the challenges these groups faced when reporting such drugs and provided recommendations for overcoming these obstacles.

The study collected primary data through an online questionnaire survey and phone interviews. The survey received responses from 182 consumers and 126 pharmacists, while the phone interviews were conducted with 8 highly experienced pharmacists to obtain their personal perspectives on the subject matter. Analysis of the collected data revealed that consumers and pharmacists in Lagos exhibited a high level of awareness about the presence of counterfeit medicines in Nigeria and the health risks associated with them. However, both groups demonstrated reluctance to report such medicines. The study revealed that the two groups faced similar challenges when reporting counterfeit medicines, with the most common problems, as noted by the majority of respondents in each group being a lack of knowledge on how to report (70.9% consumers, 51.6% pharmacists), difficulty in identifying counterfeit medicines (69.8% consumers, 64.3% pharmacists), and lack of confidence in the regulatory authority’s effort in combating the issue (69.8% consumers, 54.8% pharmacists).

To address these challenges, the study proposed providing education and awareness programs to teach people how to identify and report counterfeit medicines, as well as providing feedback to individuals regarding the status of their reports and investigations. The researcher recommended that NAFDAC prioritize addressing the challenges which were identified by the largest number of participants in both groups to improve the reporting of counterfeit medicines in Lagos.

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