DOES THE PROMOTION OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS IN SUDAN COMPLY WITH THE ETHICAL CRITERIA? PERCEPTION AND CURRENT PRACTICES OF PHARMACEUTICAL REPRESENTATIVES IN KHARTOUM STATE
Ahmed Tagelsir* and Awatif Esam
Background: The objectives of this research were to assess the promotion of the pharmaceutical product in Sudanese market and its compliance with ethical parameters and recommendations. Also the research addressed the perceptions of the pharmaceutical representatives on the influence of their promotion on the prescription patterns of doctors and assessed the awareness of medical representatives about ethical aspects of pharmaceutical promotion. Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study. About 127 medical representatives of pharmaceutical companies were included using a pre-tested questionnaire in the period from January to April 2016. Results: About 94.5% of pharmaceutical representatives reported they used free medical samples, gifts and brochure and thought that these have an impact on prescribing behaviors of the doctors. Almost 42.5% of them considered giving free drug samples to prescribers was the most effective tool in promotion. From the participants pharmaceutical representatives, about 74% claimed that they had the sufficient knowledge about the drugs they promoted; and 67.7% were familiar with interactions and contraindications. Moreover, about 81.9 % of medical representatives thought that generally the promotional practice of pharmaceutical companies wasn’t complied with ethical standards. The majority (73.2%) of respondents believed that the companies’ financial benefits would be affected negatively if they follow the ethical requirements for promotion. Conclusion: the study revealed that there was poor compliance to the pharmaceutical promotion. An important issue to be appropriately addressed is the common perception of pharmaceutical representatives that complying with ethical criteria of promotion would negatively influence the companies’ profits.
Keywords: Ethical criteria, Medicines promotion, pharmaceutical representatives.
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