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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-22

Changes in availability, utilization, and prices of medicines and protection equipment for COVID-19 in an Urban population of Northern Nigeria


1 Unit of Pharmacology, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (National Defence University of Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
3 Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology, Lagos State University College of Medicine; Department of Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
4 Unit of Pharmacology, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Nigeria
5 Department of Pharmacy, Ghana Health Service, Keta Municipal Hospital, Keta-Dzelukope; Department Pharmacy Practice, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Volta Region, Ghana
6 Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK; Department of Pharmacology, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
7 Department of Microbiology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
8 Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK; Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Solna, Stockholm, Sweden; School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria, South Africa; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Brian Godman
Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Solna, Stockholm; School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jrpp.JRPP_20_92

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Objective: Measures are ongoing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat it with medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE). However, there has been considerable controversy surrounding treatments such as hydroxychloroquine with misinformation fuelling prices hikes and suicides. Shortages have also appreciably increased costs of PPE, potentially catastrophic among lower- and middle-income countries such as Nigeria with high copayment levels. Consequently, a need to investigate changes in availability, utilization, and prices of relevant medicines and PPE during the pandemic in Nigeria. Methods: Exploratory study among community pharmacists with a survey tool comprising four sections including questions on changes in consumption, prices, and shortages of medicines and PPE from the beginning of March 2020 to the end of June 2020. In addition, suggestions from community pharmacists and co-authors on ways to reduce misinformation. Findings: 30 out of 34 pharmacists participated giving a response rate of 88.2%. Significant increases were seen (3-fold or more increase) in the consumption of hydroxychloroquine (100%), vitamins/immune boosters (96.7%) and antibiotics (46.7%) as well as PPE (100%). Considerable price increases (50% increase or greater) also seen for antimalarials (96.7%), antibiotics (93.3%), vitamins/immune boosters (66.7%), and PPE (100%). Shortages are also seen for hydroxychloroquine and vitamins/immune boosters but most severe for PPE (80% of pharmacies). Conclusion: Encouraging to see increases in the utilization of vitamins/immune boosters and PPE. However, a considerable increase in the utilization and prices of antimicrobials is a concern that needs addressing including misinformation. Community pharmacists have a key role in providing evidence-based advice and helping moderate prices.


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