Special Issue "Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar
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Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK
Interests: access to medicines; pharmaceutical policy; pharmacy practice; global health; medicine pricing; medicines safety; pharmaceutical system strengtheing in low and middle income countries
Dr. Rabia Hussain
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Guest Editor
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Gelugor, Malaysia
Interests: pharmacy practice; medicines safety; pharmaceutical policy; pharmaceutical health services research
Dr. Jason C. Hsu
E-Mail
Guest Editor
International Ph.D. Program in Biotech and Healthcare Management, College of Management, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Medicines expenditure constitutes 60-80%, of healthcare budget in low and middle-income countries, while they are 10-25% in the high income developed countries. This makes it one of the most attractive fields to study and to provide evidence-based solutions with regards to "access" and "use" of medicines.

Medicines' role is also vital to alleviate suffering and to improve patient health outcomes, however, one-third of the world's population still lacks access to essential medicines. This series would focus on pertinent issues on pharmaceutical policy and practice including "access and affordability of medicines". "medicines funding and reimbursement", "generic medicines", "medicines safety", "Medicines pricing" "access to high-cost medicines" and "biosimilar".

This series would also shed light on the role of pharmacists in the "broader health sphere" and would analyse the "impact of pharmacy services" on "patient health outcomes".

Prof. Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar
Dr. Rabia Hussain
Dr. Jason C. Hsu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • access and affordability of medicines
  • medicines funding and reimbursement
  • generic medicines
  • medicines safety
  • Medicines pricing
  • access to high-cost medicines
  • biosimilar
  • Impact of pharmacy services

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
The Need for an Evidence-Based Encyclopaedia in Health Services Research in Pharmacy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2549; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072549 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1590
Abstract
Pharmacy practice research (PPR) is a specialty field within the wider area of health services research and it focuses on studies of how and why people access pharmacy services. This stream of research is also referred to as more universally recognized term such [...] Read more.
Pharmacy practice research (PPR) is a specialty field within the wider area of health services research and it focuses on studies of how and why people access pharmacy services. This stream of research is also referred to as more universally recognized term such as health services research in pharmacy. The health services research in pharmacy has increased manifold; however, the impact of this research is not visible at the global level. The editorial explains several issues on quality and quantity of evidence produced including how evidence produced could contribute to improve quality of care and patients’ health outcomes. It also narrates examples from the UK and Australia showing how health services research in pharmacy has made an impact on healthcare service delivery. The editorial argues that building an encyclopaedia in health services research in pharmacy is vital to enhance the visibility and impact of this research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Essential Medicines in Universal Health Coverage: A Scoping Review of Public Health Law Interventions and How They Are Measured in Five Middle-Income Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249524 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1266
Abstract
Very few studies exist of legal interventions (national laws) for essential medicines as part of universal health coverage in middle-income countries, or how the effect of these laws is measured. This study aims to critically assess whether laws related to universal health coverage [...] Read more.
Very few studies exist of legal interventions (national laws) for essential medicines as part of universal health coverage in middle-income countries, or how the effect of these laws is measured. This study aims to critically assess whether laws related to universal health coverage use five objectives of public health law to promote medicines affordability and financing, and to understand how access to medicines achieved through these laws is measured. This comparative case study of five middle-income countries (Ecuador, Ghana, Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine) uses a public health law framework to guide the content analysis of national laws and the scoping review of empirical evidence for measuring access to medicines. Sixty laws were included. All countries write into national law: (a) health equity objectives, (b) remedies for users/patients and sanctions for some stakeholders, (c) economic policies and regulatory objectives for financing (except South Africa), pricing, and benefits selection (except South Africa), (d) information dissemination objectives (ex. for medicines prices (except Ghana)), and (e) public health infrastructure. The 17 studies included in the scoping review evaluate laws with economic policy and regulatory objectives (n = 14 articles), health equity (n = 10), information dissemination (n = 3), infrastructure (n = 2), and sanctions (n = 1) (not mutually exclusive). Cross-sectional descriptive designs (n = 8 articles) and time series analyses (n = 5) were the most frequent designs. Change in patients’ spending on medicines was the most frequent outcome measure (n = 5). Although legal interventions for pharmaceuticals in middle-income countries commonly use all objectives of public health law, the intended and unintended effects of economic policies and regulation are most frequently investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of Healthcare Professionals on COVID-19 and Risk Assessment to Prevent the Epidemic Spread: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study from Punjab, Pakistan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176395 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2495
Abstract
In the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), healthcare professionals (HCPs) have a primary role in combating the epidemic threat. HCPs are at high risk of not only contracting the infection but also spreading it unknowingly. It is of utmost importance to evaluate [...] Read more.
In the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), healthcare professionals (HCPs) have a primary role in combating the epidemic threat. HCPs are at high risk of not only contracting the infection but also spreading it unknowingly. It is of utmost importance to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) and the ability to assess the risks associated with the outbreak. A cross-sectional online survey involving physicians, pharmacists, and nurses was conducted. A 39-itemed questionnaire based on the World Health Organization (WHO)COVID-19 risk assessment tool was shared with healthcare professionals in three purposively selected key divisions of Punjab province. Out of 500 healthcare professionals, 385 responded to the survey. The majority (70%) were aged 22–29 years; 144 (37.4%) physicians, 113 (29.4%) nurses, and 128 (33.2%) pharmacists completed the survey. Overall, 94.8% of healthcare professionals scored adequately (>14) for COVID-19-related knowledge; 97.9% displayed an optimistic attitude (>42) and 94.5% had an adequate practice score (>28). Kruskal–Wallis and Jonckheere–Terpstra tests showed significant differences (p < 0.05) in KAP and risk assessment scores among groups; physicians and nurses scored higher as compared to pharmacists. Further research and follow-up investigations on disaster management and risk assessment can help policy-makers better tackle future epidemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Prices, Availability and Affordability of Medicines with Value-Added Tax Exemption: A Cross-Sectional Survey in the Philippines
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145242 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
Background: Developing countries, such as the Philippines, started implementing policies to improve access to medicines, which is a vital step toward universal healthcare coverage. This study aimed to evaluate the prices, availability and affordability of prescribed medicines for diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension with [...] Read more.
Background: Developing countries, such as the Philippines, started implementing policies to improve access to medicines, which is a vital step toward universal healthcare coverage. This study aimed to evaluate the prices, availability and affordability of prescribed medicines for diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension with the exemption of 12% value-added tax in the Philippines. Methods: The prices and availability of 50 medicines were collected in August 2019 from 36 public and 42 private medicine outlets in six regions of the Philippines, following a modified methodology developed by the World Health Organization and Health Action International. Availability is reported as the percentage of outlets in which the surveyed medicine was found at the time of visit. Medicine prices are expressed as median unit prices (MUPs) in Philippine Peso. Affordability is calculated based on the number of days’ wages required for the lowest-paid unskilled government worker to purchase a monthly treatment. Results: The mean availability of surveyed medicines was low in both public and private sectors, with 1.3% for originator brands (OBs) and 25.0% for lowest-priced generics (LPGs) in public outlets, and 34.7% and 35.4% in private outlets, respectively. The MUP of medicines were higher in private outlets, and OBs have higher unit price compared to the generic equivalents. Treatments with OBs were unaffordable, except for gliclazide, but the affordability of most LPGs is generally good. Conclusion: Access to medicines in both sectors was affected by low availability. High prices of OBs influenced the affordability of medicines even with tax exemption. A review of policies and regulations should be initiated for a better access to medicines in the Philippines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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Open AccessArticle
A Qualitative Evaluation of Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting System in Pakistan: Findings from the Nurses’ Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3039; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093039 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1923
Abstract
The contribution of all key healthcare professionals is vital to promote an efficient adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting system. In this context, nurses are important as they are in a better position to observe a patient’s response regarding the drug therapy and to [...] Read more.
The contribution of all key healthcare professionals is vital to promote an efficient adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting system. In this context, nurses are important as they are in a better position to observe a patient’s response regarding the drug therapy and to report an ADR. The aim of the study was to explore the perspectives of nurses about ADR reporting system in Lahore, Pakistan. A total of 21 nurses were interviewed. The thematic content analysis of the qualitative interviews yielded six major themes and eight subthemes. Major themes included: (1) Knowledge about the concept of the medication safety & the ADR; (2) Knowledge regarding pharmacovigilance activities; (3) Willingness to report; (4) Practices related to the ADR reporting; (5) Barriers to the ADR reporting; (6) Facilitators to the ADR reporting. The majority of the nurses were aware of medicine safety and ADRs, but in many cases, they were unable to report these ADRs. The study pointed out considerable concerns regarding the knowledge and practices of nurses about pharmacovigilance activities in their workplace, mainly due to increased workload, due to the absence of a reporting system and legal liability. The main challenges turned out to be the lack of knowledge and training, as well as the implementation of guidelines. Based on the findings, it is suggested that outcome of this study can serve as a guide to design policies that support ADR reporting by nurses in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacy Services beyond the Basics: A Qualitative Study to Explore Perspectives of Pharmacists towards Basic and Enhanced Pharmacy Services in Pakistan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072379 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Enhanced pharmacy services have been identified as a mechanism to address medicines and drug-related problems. The aim of the study was to explore the perspectives of practicing pharmacists on the scope of pharmacy service provision in Pakistan. This qualitative study was conducted at [...] Read more.
Enhanced pharmacy services have been identified as a mechanism to address medicines and drug-related problems. The aim of the study was to explore the perspectives of practicing pharmacists on the scope of pharmacy service provision in Pakistan. This qualitative study was conducted at the Department of Pharmacy, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB). Face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted with practicing pharmacists at the university who were undertaking postgraduate studies. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis. A total of 13 pharmacists were interviewed. The analysis of data yielded four themes and 12 subthemes. The themes included the current scenario of pharmacy services, the benefits of pharmacy services, barriers to implementation of pharmacy services, and strategies to improve their delivery. Pharmacist participants reported that patient-oriented pharmacy services have not been properly implemented in Pakistan. Pharmacists appear to be undertaking only conventional roles at various levels within the healthcare system. The participants indicated multiple benefits of patient-oriented pharmacy services, including safe and effective use of medicines, minimization of drug-related problems, and financial benefits to the healthcare system. Based on the findings, policy-makers are required to take the necessary steps to overcome pharmacist-related and policy-related barriers associated with the implementation of patient-oriented pharmacy services in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
Open AccessArticle
Physicians’ Understanding and Practices of Pharmacovigilance: Qualitative Experience from a Lower Middle-Income Country
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072209 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
Developed countries have established pharmacovigilance systems to monitor the safety of medicines. However, in the developing world, drug monitoring and reporting are facing enormous challenges. The current study was designed to explore the challenges related to the understanding and practices of physicians in [...] Read more.
Developed countries have established pharmacovigilance systems to monitor the safety of medicines. However, in the developing world, drug monitoring and reporting are facing enormous challenges. The current study was designed to explore the challenges related to the understanding and practices of physicians in reporting adverse drug reactions in Lahore, Pakistan. Through the purposive sampling technique, 13 physicians were interviewed. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for a thematic content analysis. The thematic content analysis yielded six major themes: (1) Familiarity with medication safety and adverse drug reaction (ADR) concept, (2) Knowledge about pharmacovigilance activities, (3) Practices related to ADR reporting, (4) Barriers impeding ADR reporting, (5) Acknowledgement of the pharmacist’s role, and (6) System change needs. The majority of the physicians were unaware of the ADR reporting system; however, they were ready to accept practice changes if provided with the required skills and training. A lack of knowledge, time, and interest, a fear of legal liability, poor training, inadequate physicians’ and other healthcare professionals’ communication, and most importantly lack of a proper reporting system were reported as barriers. The findings based on emerging themes can be used to establish an effective pharmacovigilance system in Pakistan. Overall, physicians reported a positive attitude towards practice changes, provided the concerned authorities support and take interest in this poorly acknowledged but most needed component of the healthcare system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Affordability Assessment from a Static to Dynamic Concept: A Scenario-Based Assessment of Cardiovascular Medicines
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051710 - 05 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
The out-of-pocket payments for prescription medications can impose a financial burden on patients from low- and middle- incomes and who suffer from chronic diseases. The present study aims at evaluating the affordability of cardiovascular disease (CVD) medication in Iran. This includes measuring affordability [...] Read more.
The out-of-pocket payments for prescription medications can impose a financial burden on patients from low- and middle- incomes and who suffer from chronic diseases. The present study aims at evaluating the affordability of cardiovascular disease (CVD) medication in Iran. This includes measuring affordability through World Health Organization/Health Action International (WHO/HAI) methodology. In this method, affordability is characterized as the number of days’ wages of the lowest-paid unskilled government worker. The different medication therapy scenarios are defined in mono-and combination therapy approaches. This method adds on to WHO/HAI methodology to discover new approaches to affordability assessments. The results show the differences in the medicines affordability when different approaches are used in mono-and combination therapy between 6 main sub-therapeutic groups of CVD. It indicates the medicine affordability is not a static concept and it changes dynamically between CVD therapeutic subgroups when it used alone or in combination with other medicines regarding patients’ characteristics and medical conditions. Hypertension and anti-arrhythmia therapeutic groups had the most non-affordability and hyperlipidemia had the most affordable medicines. Therefore, affordability can be considered as a dynamic concept, which not only affected by the medicine price but significantly affected by a patient’s characteristics, the number of medical conditions, and insurance coverage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
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