Background The quality of medicines is commonly established through pharmacopoeia testing. Medicines with quality issues can either be substandard or counterfeit according to the World Health Organisation. Limited research has addressed the perceptions of stakeholders about medicine quality and related issues and none were identified within the selected population. Furthermore, few studies report views about generic medicines as being counterfeit or of inferior quality, which could influence the acceptance and use of such medicines.
Purpose To generate a range of views, attitudes and behaviour regarding medicine quality and related issues from the perspective of experienced pharmacists. Additionally, this study will inform the question design for future studies with different stakeholders in the selected population and find translation for technical terms such as counterfeit.
Material and methods A focus group study was video-recorded and conducted in English with five experienced pharmacists following their informed consent. The questions were developed following a literature search and were arranged in a particular order where general questions were asked first and questions regarding counterfeits were asked at the end. Data were analysed thematically using a systematic strategy for focus group analysis.
Results Eight themes emerged including the definition, perception, challenges, knowledge, experience, practices, price and recommendations for medicine quality. A good quality medicine was described in terms of its effect, similar to other studies. Participants believed that the quality of medicines in the selected country was high in contrast to some patients’ views. A single term was used to describe counterfeit medicines in their native language.
Conclusion The result of this study indicates a possible gap between the pharmacists and some patients’ views about the quality of medicines in the selected country. Emerging themes were used to inform the question design in future studies with different stakeholders. The translation of the term counterfeit was achieved.
References and/or acknowledgements The authors are thankful to the pharmacists in this study.
No conflict of interest.
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