Community pharmacists’ perception, awareness, knowledge, and opinion towards counterfeit medicines: a cross sectional survey in Saudi Arabia

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Saudi Digital Library
Aim: The main objective of this study was to explore community pharmacists’ awareness, attitudes, knowledge, and views on falsified and substandard medicines (SF). Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with community pharmacists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using a pre-validated electronic questionnaire. Snowball sampling methods were applied to recruit participants. A regression analysis, a Cronbach’s alpha test, and a non-parametric test were conducted to analyse quantitative data. A thematic analysis was used to assess qualitative data. Results: Ninety-two community pharmacists participated in this study. Many of the respondents (68.5%) had no experience with identifying SF. We identified a concerning trend of under-reporting SF (p<0.003, one-sample binomial test). Respondents reported that SF constitutes 1-5% of medicines, with weight loss and erectile dysfunction medicines being the medicines most targeted for falsification. Most of the pharmacists believed that SF poses a significant harm to the pharmacy profession and that adequate training can substantially improve the ability of pharmacists to detect the presence of falsified medicines. Most of the respondents (52.6%) had not received any formal training about falsified medicines; respondents also showed low levels of knowledge about technologies available to detect falsified medicines (p<0.01, one-sample binomial test). Most of the respondents had a low level of awareness about the newly implemented anti-counterfeit system in Saudi Arabia called the “Drug Track and Trace System” in response to a question asking about their awareness of this system (28.3% not really, 23.1% not at all). The role of pharmacists in minimising the use of falsified medicines as well as interventions that may help reduce the availability of SF were discussed. Conclusion: Community pharmacists’ self-reported awareness and knowledge of SF in Saudi Arabia were inadequate; this deficiency may affect their ability to protect their patients from potential harm by combating SF. As a regulatory body responsible for issues related to falsified medicines, the SFDA should develop an action plan to equip community pharmacists with training in SF to enhance their ability to respond to falsified and substandard medicines
Counterfeit drugs, falsified medicines, substandard medicines, community pharmacists
Alsaeed Bashayr Ali, Ravina Barrett, Community pharmacists’ knowledge of substandard and falsified medicines in clinical practice: a cross-sectional survey in Saudi Arabia, International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, Volume 31, Issue 2, April 2023, Pages 176–182,