Substandard and falsified medical products are a global public health threat. A pilot survey of awareness among physicians in Sweden

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Abstract

Background
Substandard and falsified medical products are a public health threat, primarily associated with low- and middle-income countries. Today, the phenomenon also exists in high-income countries. Increased Internet access has opened a global market. Self-diagnosis and self-prescription have boosted the market for unregulated websites with access to falsified medicines.

Aim
To describe the state of knowledge and experience on SF medical products among emergency physicians (EPs) and general practitioners (GPs) in Sweden.

Methods
An online survey with anonymous answers from 100 EPs and 100 GPs. Physicians were recruited from TNS SIFO’s medical database. The term in the survey was ‘illegal and falsified medicines’ which was common in Sweden at that time. It corresponds well with the term ‘substandard and falsified medical products’ that the WHO launched shortly after our data collection. We report our results with this term.

Results
In Sweden, 78.5% of the physicians had heard the term ‘illegal and falsified medicines’ and 36.5% had met patients they suspected had taken it. Physicians lacked awareness of the use of the reporting system and wanted more knowledge about how to deal with patients who have possibly used falsified medicines.

Conclusions
To meet the public health threat of SF medical products, physicians need more knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e95–e102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume41
Issue number1
Early online date2018 Jun 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Ethnology

Keywords

  • drug abuse
  • emergency care
  • primary care

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