Identifying priority medicines policy issues for Qatar: exploring perspectives and experiences of healthcare professionals through a qualitative study

Nadeem Zia, Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim, Fathea Adheir, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives To identify priority medicines policy issues, including the ‘use’ and ‘access to medicines’ in Qatar.

Design In this qualitative study, general inductive method was used and semi-structured exploratory interviews conducted.

Setting Stakeholders from a broad range of academic and healthcare practitioners in Qatar.

Participants Exploratory, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 stakeholders throughout Qatar. The inclusion criteria include (a) participants working or involved in the Qatar’s healthcare system, (b) participants having experience or working knowledge of medicine policy documents, different facets of it, use of medicines and access to medicines, (c) as well as participants well versed in the English language. It was intended to cover stakeholders from a broad range of healthcare and policy institutions in Qatar.

Primary and secondary outcome measures All participants were involved in semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews, which were then transcribed verbatim, coded into NVivo V.12 and followed by thematic analysis to identify the common themes. Perceptions, experiences and opinions regarding Qatar’s medicines policy issues were recorded.

Results This study found challenges related to the availability of pharmaceuticals in Qatar, including medicines registration process. There is no comprehensive national medicines policy in Qatar, however, there are a number of rules, regulations, policies and procedures in place. The community pharmacy services provided are mostly ‘traditional’ with less emphasis on pharmacists’ extended roles and/or cognitive services. The study identifies several areas for improvement including extending the role of the pharmacist, improve the prescribing of antibiotics, medicines compliance and counselling for consumers, pharmacovigilance, implementation of generic medicines policies, as well as the need for a national health record database.

Conclusions The findings suggest that in the last 20 years, Qatar has moved towards advancing healthcare; however, there are gaps and opportunities. The strategies need to be developed to resolve access to medicines issues, the priority being medicines registration, import and so on. With the rise of chronic diseases and a growing population, there is also a need to work to improve medicines adherence among patients.

A national medicines policy should be developed through a consultative broad-based process in which prescribers, physicians, pharmacists and healthcare professionals be given a chance to contribute.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere054150
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number11
Early online date24 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2021

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