Pattern of Drug Sales at Community Pharmacies in Edo State as Evidence of Self-medication during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Policy Implementation

Iriagbonse Iyabo Osaigbovo, Esohe Olivia Ogboghodo, Darlington Ewaen Obaseki, Obehi Akoria, Ewere Scholastica Ehinze, Otaniyenuwa Eloghosa Obarisiagbon, Obiageli Henrietta Nneka Okwara

Abstract


Background: Inappropriate self-medication, recognized as one of the indirect health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is especially worrisome because of reported toxicity and unproven efficacy of various drug combinations touted as cures for the disease. Little scientific documentation exists on the range of drugs being self-medicated during the pandemic in Nigeria. This study assessed the pattern of drug sales at community pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic to ascertain the drugs commonly used for self-medication.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted across community pharmacies in Benin City, Edo state in June 2020 to assess the pattern of sales of drugs. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire and a record review of medication sales carried out to compare sales in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020. Data were analyzed using IBM-SPSS version 25.0.

Results: Sixty-two community pharmacies were assessed. Of these, record review showed an increase in sales in the 2nd Quarter, compared to the 1st  quarter, of Hydroxychloroquine 62 (100.0%), Chloroquine 51 (82.3%),  vitamin C 62 (100.0%) and immune boosters 61 (98.4%). Forty-one (66.1%) community pharmacies reported an increase in sales of Azithromycin and Zinc respectively and 27 (43.5%) reported an increase in the sales of Artemisinin-based combination therapy. Prescription sheets were not mandatory for the sales of these medications in any of the pharmacies.

Conclusion: There was an increase in sales of antimalaria, antibiotics, and multivitamins reported to be useful in the management of COVID-19 without prescription. Implementation of drug policies is necessary to guarantee public safety.


Keywords


Self-medication, COVID-19, community pharmacists, Benin City

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