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Pharmacists’ attitudes towards domestic generics in Afghanistan Posted 29/01/2016

The aim of the study by Hassali et al. was to survey community pharmacists regarding their attitudes about the quality and price of locally manufactured medicines [1].

A cross-sectional descriptive study, involving a sample of 198 community pharmacists, was carried out in Kabul, Afghanistan over a four-month period, from March to June 2013.

A completed questionnaire was returned by 198 community pharmacists. The results show that dispensing and supply of community pharmacies was dominated by imported generics from Pakistan, Iran, India and the United Arab Emirates. In contrast, less than 16% of locally manufactured generics were dispensed in the market. Just half of the sample size felt that locally produced generics are safe and efficacious compared to their imported counterparts. Although most pharmacists were sure that local generics makers had reliable logistics and supply systems. Significantly, the majority of pharmacists expressed concerns about their own credibility when stocking local medicines. Therefore, they only stocked well-advertised domestic generics. Of particular significance, more than 80% of pharmacists felt that locally manufactured generics were cheaper than imported generics. They also emphasized the need for the establishment of a brand-name substitution policy in the country. In addition, almost all of the pharmacists believed that Afghan regulatory authorities should be held accountable to educate pharmacists on the quality of locally produced generics.

These findings suggest that, due to lack of resources, most medicines in Afghanistan are imported. Therefore, adequate training and resources may be key in improving the production of local generics. Results further suggest that more research is needed to identify the factors behind unregulated medicines prices in order to control healthcare costs. The Afghanistan Government needs to realize the importance of generics and promote generics substitution in the country.

Conflict of Interest
The authors of the research paper [1] did not provide any conflict of interest statement.

Abstracted by Professor Dr Mohamed Azmi Ahmad Hassali, Deputy Dean (Student Affairs & Networking) of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.

Editor’s comment
Readers interested to learn more about physicians’ perceptions towards generics are invited to visit www.gabi-journal.net to view the following manuscript published in GaBI Journal: 

Perceptions of physicians from private medical centres in Malaysia about generic medicine usage: a qualitative study

Readers interested in contributing a research or perspective paper to GaBI Journal– an independent, peer reviewed academic journal – please send us your submission here.

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Reference
1.  Bashaar M, Hassali MA, Saleem F. Community pharmacists' attitudes toward the quality and price of locally manufactured generic medicines in Kabul, Afghanistan. J Pharm Policy Pract. 2015;8(1):16. 

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