Situational assessment for pharmaceutical sector in Nablus City

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Aseel Ismael
Saja Younis
Sali Baba
Tamara Qanadilo
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The pharmacy is not only a place to store medicines as its known, it links the health sciences with the chemical to get the optimal use of the medicines to ensure good health, since one of its objective is the care of patients.  In Nablus City there are 91 pharmacies, so this system was studied to come up with its weaknesses and strengths, to try to improve it, to avoid any health problems caused by the gaps in this system.  A specially designed questionnaire was prepared to achieve our goal, including sets of questions regarding the causes of the weaknesses of the pharmaceutical sector. The study was carried out during the period 9th of Feb 2014- 20th of November 2014.  A total of 68 participants were interviewed and collected data was analyzed using SPSS and Excel charts. The most important findings of this study showed that:          58.82% strongly agreed using medicines scientific names by doctors instead of their trade names.          46.77% of the pharmacists disagreed that the medicines lists supported by insurance companies are well identified and known.          46.03% of them supported advertising campaigns to identify and know more insurance companies.          73.85% of the pharmacists strongly agreed and 24.62% agreed that patients negotiate a lot to decrease medicines prices.          73.44% of the pharmacists agreed that the ministry of health inspector visit pharmacies periodically. Then, all the perspectives of this problem had been studied to find out the root causes of the weakness of this -sector in order to cooperate with the pharmaceutical association to develop and improve the gaps of this system. After that a development plan was suggested to overcome the many problems shown by the results of the survey. In conclusion some recommendations are presented as they may help in the improvement of this system such as:          The PA should spent more efforts to serve the pharmacists through coordination with different parties          The relationship between Pharmacists and doctors should be an integrated relationship based on mutual respect and trust          The insurance companies must explain the list of approved drugs, that the company covered it          Improve the trust between the pharmacists and patients. Problem statement The pharmaceutical sector is considered as one of the most important services in our country; since any problem in it could cause illness, suffering or death! As a result of this it is important to see what are the factors affecting the efficiency of the output of this sector from the perspective of not only pharmacists, but also customers and other stakeholders. Many problems may happen because of the pharmacist themselves. For example, some of the pharmacist dont commit the standard price, others deals with smuggled goods. We can't say that the problem is only from the pharmacists, many external factors have to be considered as well. One of these factors maybe the doctors, for example when the doctors write the prescriptions, that may be not clear which could confuse the pharmacist and make him give the patient any drug from his own mind. Not forgetting also the third party which is the pharmaceutical companies that distribute the drugs to pharmacies. Some distributed drugs are costly that patients can't afford buying, and most important, the shortages in some necessary drugs. There is some pharmaceutical companies dont deliver the orders at the right time. Customers/patients as well are part of the problem since many of them want to buy drugs without a prescription from a specialized doctor which could affect their health badly. Moreover there is a miscommunication between the pharmacist and their association and this leads to infringement of rights of pharmacists. Another important issue is the relationship between the pharmacist and the insurance company, such as when some companies dont give the pharmacist their financial dues. Of course those are not the only factors, so more researches will be done trying to include all the root causes of the problems and its effects on this service. Suggested solution:  An assessment study for the pharmaceutical sector in Nablus area was suggested to identify the main problems of this sector. In order to apply this study more than one option had been discussed to conduct the assessment, such as implementing workshops and making interviews with small number of pharmacies owners to study the present status, to find out proper solutions. But we realized that designing a questionnaire will be more applicable, accurate and it will give chances to all pharmacists regardless their seniority and the place of their pharmacies to talk about the difficulties they face in their job. After the questionnaire was selected as a tool to help us in our assessment, each topic related to the pharmacies sector has been identified. The questionnaire was designed to contain all possible related topics and its details, the resulted questionnaire had been distributed over a certain area. Next step the questionnaires were distributed then we tried to understand the current situation of pharmacies taking into consideration pharmacists suggestions to solve their problems. Then after analyzing each question, the most common problems were highlighted, their causes and effects were analyzed and a satisfactory settlement between all stakeholders was found by suggesting recommendations to develop this sector and raise the level of this service.