Stakeholders’ views on granting prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria: a qualitative study

Auta, Asa orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6515-5802, Strickland-Hodge, Barry and Maz, Julia (2016) Stakeholders’ views on granting prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria: a qualitative study. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 38 (4). pp. 960-967. ISSN 2210-7703

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Background: In Nigeria, only medical doctors, dentists and some nurses in primary care facilities have the legal right to prescribe medicines to patients. Patients’ access to prescription medicines can be seriously affected by the shortage of prescribers leading to longer waiting times in hospitals.
Objective: This research was carried out to investigate stakeholders’ views on granting prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria.
Setting: The study was conducted in Nigeria
Methods: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 43 Nigerian stakeholders including policymakers, pharmacists, doctors and patient group representatives. Transcribed interviews were entered into the QSR NVivo 10 software and analysed using a thematic approach.
Main outcome measure: Stakeholders’ perception on the granting of prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria.
Results: Three major themes emerged from the interviews: 1) prescribing as a logical role for pharmacists, 2) pharmacist prescribing- an opportunity or a threat and 3) the potential barriers to pharmacist prescribing. Many non-medical stakeholders including pharmacists and patient group representatives supported an extended role for pharmacists in prescribing while the majority of medical doctors including those in policy making were reluctant to do so. Generally, all stakeholders perceived that pharmacist prescribing represents an opportunity to increase patients’ access to medicines, reduce doctors’ workload and promote the utilisation of pharmacists’ skills. However, many stakeholders including pharmacists and doctors commonly identified pharmacists’ inadequate skills in diagnosis, medical resistance and shortage of pharmacists as potential barriers to the introduction of pharmacist prescribing in Nigeria.
Conclusion: The present study showed a split of opinion between participants who were medical doctors and those who were non-doctors in their support for pharmacist prescribing. However, all stakeholders acknowledged the potential of pharmacist prescribing to increase patients’ access to medicines in Nigeria.

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