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Critical evaluation of the validity of drug promotion materials in Ethiopia

Authors Hailu HG, Gobezie MY, Yesuf TA, Workneh BD

Received 5 January 2019

Accepted for publication 3 June 2019

Published 24 July 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 47—54


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Siew Siang Chua

Haftom Gebregergs Hailu,1 Mengistie Yirsaw Gobezie,2 Teshager Aklilu Yesuf,2 Birhanu Demeke Workneh2

1School of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia; 2Department of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia

Purpose: This study was conducted to evaluate the validity of drug promotion materials (DPMs) in Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross sectional document review was done. DPMs were evaluated for fulfilment of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) criteria for ethical promotion of drugs. They were also evaluated for font size, type of formulation, claims made, pictures depicted, retrievability and source of references used.
Results: A total of 235 DPMs were collected from the community and hospital pharmacies. Documents promoting devices and equipment, orthopedic appliances, reminder cards and drug lists were excluded, leaving 173 promotional materials. Antimicrobials were the most promoted drugs (27.2%) followed by respiratory drugs (11.0%) and gastrointestinal drugs (9.8%). Brand name was written in all of the DPMs while approved generic names, indication and active ingredient per dosage form were written in 94.8%, 92.5% and 62.4% respectively. Side effects and contraindications were written in 27.2% and 18.5% of the DPMs. A total of 223 claims were made. Efficacy was the dominant claim (62.3%) followed by safety (8.5%). Pictorial demonstrations were used in 84.4% of the DPMs. Almost half of the pictures depicted, 47.3%, were the cover of the drug products. Only 48.6% of the DPMs has supported their claims with references. Review articles account for 23.3% of the references. Only 5.8% of the journal articles were published after the year 2013.
Conclusion: We conclude that the design and content of studied drug promotional materials are most effective as sales materials rather than thorough informational vehicles. The WHO and Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia recommendations are rarely met.

Keywords: WHO, drug promotion, ethical drug promotion, promotional information

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