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      Medicine Prices, Availability, and Affordability in Private Health Facilities in Low-Income Settlements in Nairobi County, Kenya


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          Medicine prices are a major determinant of access to healthcare. Owing to low availability of medicines in the public health facilities and poor accessibility to these facilities, most low-income residents pay out-of-pocket for health services and transport to the private health facilities. In low-income settlements, high retail prices are likely to push the population further into poverty and ill health. This study assessed the retail pricing, availability, and affordability of medicines in private health facilities in low-income settlements within Nairobi County. Medicine prices and availability data were collected between September and December 2016 at 45 private healthcare facilities in 14 of Nairobi’s low-income settlements using electronic questionnaires. The International Medical Products Price Guide provided international medicine reference prices for comparison. Affordability and availability proxies were calculated according to existing methods. Innovator brands were 13.8 times more expensive than generic brands. The lowest priced generics and innovator brands were, on average, sold at 2.9 and 32.6 times the median international reference prices of corresponding medicines. Assuming a 100% disposable income, it would take 0.03 to 1.33 days’ wages for the lowest paid government employee to pay for treatment courses of selected single generic medicines. Medicine availability in the facilities ranged between 2% and 76% (mean 43%) for indicator medicines. Prices of selected medicines varied within the 14 study regions. Retail medicine prices in the low-income settlements studied were generally higher than corresponding international reference prices. Price variations were observed across different regions although the regions comprise similar socioeconomic populations. These factors are likely to impact negatively on healthcare access.

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          Urban as a Determinant of Health

          Cities are the predominant mode of living, and the growth in cities is related to the expansion of areas that have concentrated disadvantage. The foreseeable trend is for rising inequities across a wide range of social and health dimensions. Although qualitatively different, this trend exists in both the developed and developing worlds. Improving the health of people in slums will require new analytic frameworks. The social-determinants approach emphasizes the role of factors that operate at multiple levels, including global, national, municipal, and neighborhood levels, in shaping health. This approach suggests that improving living conditions in such arenas as housing, employment, education, equality, quality of living environment, social support, and health services is central to improving the health of urban populations. While social determinant and multilevel perspectives are not uniquely urban, they are transformed when viewed through the characteristics of cities such as size, density, diversity, and complexity. Ameliorating the immediate living conditions in the cities in which people live offers the greatest promise for reducing morbidity, mortality, and disparities in health and for improving quality of life and well being.
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            Is Open Access

            Performance of retail pharmacies in low- and middle-income Asian settings: a systematic review

            In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in Asia, pharmacies are often patients’ first point of contact with the health care system and their preferred channel for purchasing medicines. Unfortunately, pharmacy practice in these settings has been characterized by deficient knowledge and inappropriate treatment. This paper systematically reviews both the performance of all types of pharmacies and drug stores across Asia’s LMIC, and the determinants of poor practice, in order to reflect on how this could best be addressed. Poor pharmacy practice in Asia appears to have persisted over the past 30 years. We identify a set of inadequacies that occur at key moments throughout the pharmacy encounter, including: insufficient history taking; lack of referral of patients who require medical attention; illegal sale of a wide range of prescription only medicines without a prescription; sale of medicines that are either clinically inappropriate and/or in doses that are outside of the therapeutic range; sale of incomplete courses of antibiotics; and limited provision of information and counselling. In terms of determinants of poor practice, first knowledge was found to be necessary but not sufficient to ensure correct management of patients presenting at the pharmacy. This is evidenced by large discrepancies between stated and actual practice; little difference in the treatment behaviour of less and more qualified personnel and the failure of training programmes to improve practice to a satisfactory level. Second, we identified a number of profit maximizing strategies employed by pharmacy staff that can be linked to poor practices. Finally, whilst the research is relatively sparse, the regulatory environment appears to play an important role in shaping behaviour. Future efforts to improve the situation may yield more success than historical attempts, which have tended to concentrate on education, if they address the profit incentives faced by pharmacy personnel and the regulatory system.
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              Differences in the availability of medicines for chronic and acute conditions in the public and private sectors of developing countries

              OBJECTIVE: To investigate potential differences in the availability of medicines for chronic and acute conditions in low- and middle-income countries. METHODS: Data on the availability of 30 commonly-surveyed medicines - 15 for acute and 15 for chronic conditions - were obtained from facility-based surveys conducted in 40 developing countries. Results were aggregated by World Bank country income group and World Health Organization region. FINDINGS: The availability of medicines for both acute and chronic conditions was suboptimal across countries, particularly in the public sector. Generic medicines for chronic conditions were significantly less available than generic medicines for acute conditions in both the public sector (36.0% availability versus 53.5%; P=0.001) and the private sector (54.7% versus 66.2%; P=0.007). Antiasthmatics, antiepileptics and antidepressants, followed by antihypertensives, were the drivers of the observed differences. An inverse association was found between country income level and the availability gap between groups of medicines, particularly in the public sector. In low- and lower-middle income countries, drugs for acute conditions were 33.9% and 12.9% more available, respectively, in the public sector than medicines for chronic conditions. Differences in availability were smaller in the private sector than in the public sector in all country income groups. CONCLUSION: Current disease patterns do not explain the significant gaps observed in the availability of medicines for chronic and acute conditions. Measures are needed to better respond to the epidemiological transition towards chronic conditions in developing countries alongside current efforts to scale up treatment for communicable diseases.

                Author and article information

                Pharmacy (Basel)
                Pharmacy (Basel)
                Pharmacy: Journal of Pharmacy Education and Practice
                24 April 2019
                June 2019
                : 7
                : 2
                : 40
                [1 ]Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Nairobi, Nairobi 19676-00202, Kenya; koabuga@ 123456gmail.com (K.A.); ikibwage@ 123456gmail.com (I.K.)
                [2 ]Ministry of Health, Nairobi 30016-00100, Kenya; karumbij@ 123456gmail.com
                [3 ]Stichting PharmAccess International, 22700 1100 DE Amsterdam, the Netherlands; w.minnaard@ 123456pharmaccess.org
                [4 ]PharmAccess Foundation, Nairobi 6711-00100, Kenya; okungu008@ 123456gmail.com
                [5 ]Administration, Planning and Development, Egerton University, Njoro 20115, Kenya; ikibwage@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                Author information
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 19 March 2019
                : 18 April 2019

                retail medicine prices,availability,affordability,low-income settlements,international reference price


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