A survey on drug prescription behaviour by general practitioners in Nairobi, Kenya
Maina, Mwai Joseph
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The prime objective of marketing is to make profits through satisfying customers' needs, and wants. Therefore, marketers have to understand the real needs, wants, beliefs and attitudes of customers towards their products and services. Understanding of drug prescription behavior of the General Practitioners (GPs) is therefore important to pharmaceutical marketers because their drug prescription behavior determine the market size for the prescription only medicines (POM). POM is a category of pharmaceutical products which are ethically supposed to be sold on prescription only. GP is a category of medical practitioners who prescribe first line drugs to the patients before further referral is done if need be. GP's drug prescription behavior is influenced by several factors and to different extents. Therefore, the suitability of the factors determines the frequency of drug prescription of a particular product and consequently its market size. The objective of the study was to determine the factors that influence drug prescription behavior of GPs, investigate the relative extent of influence they exert on drug prescription behavior and evaluate the perception of GPs on the tools used to promote drug prescription. A descriptive research design was applied in the study in order to provide an elaborate concept of the factors that influence drug prescription behavior. The study population consisted of 78 general practitioners based in Nairobi, from which census was applied and 66 GPs responded. The data collection tool used was a questionnaire with both open ended and closed ended questions. The questionnaires covered on the characteristics of GPs in Nairobi, factors influencing drug prescription behavior and perception on promotional tools utilized by pharmaceutical marketers. The study indicated that some drug attributes like; quality, safety and product information were of uncontested importance and they exerted great influence on the drug prescription behavior. Personal selling and formal education were indicated as the most reliable sources of product information, while quality and pricing were largely indicated for improvement. The research concluded that drug quality, and personal selling were the most important strategy mix in POM promotion, drug sampling and gifts have are necessary in drug promotion and the use of internet technology is poorly embraced in drug marketing in Kenya. The Pharmaceutical marketers should; segment their market, articulate the right influential factors in each segment and adopt a feedback mechanism that involves drug prescribers (and probably the patients) in their marketing strategies, in order to achieve their objectives effectively. job descriptions of HODs should be laid out. In conclusion it is important for top level managers to recognize the roles played by the middle-level managers (in this case academic HODs). This is because most organization are today placing greater emphasis on team work and co-ordinated efforts of its workforce. This is the case which is likely to be emphasized more in the future by successful institutions. This is the first research in Kenya that specifically targets academic HODs. A variety of questions for interested scholars abound for farther research it) this area, such as a comparison between academic HODs in private secondary schools and academic HODS in public secondary schools.