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Malaria healthcare policy change in Kenya: Implications on sales and marketing of antimalarials

Author(s): Peter K. Ngure , Lorraine Nyaoke & David Minja

Journal: Journal of Vector Borne Diseases
ISSN 0972-9062

Volume: 49;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Artemether-lumefantrine | healthcare policy | malaria

Background & objectives: Malaria healthcare policy change in Kenya aimed at improving the control of malariabut faced a number of challenges in implementation related to marketing of the drugs. This research investigatedthe effect of the change of the national malaria policy on drug sales and strategic marketing responses ofantimalarial pharmaceutical companies in Kenya.Study design: A descriptive cross-sectional design was employed to describe the existing state of antimalarialsmarket in Kenya after the change of the malaria healthcare policy.Results & conclusion: Policy change did result in an increase in the sales of Coartem®. Novartis Pharma recordeda 97% growth in sales of Coartem® between 2003 and 2004. However, this increase was not experienced by allthe companies. Further, SPs (which had been replaced as first-line therapy for malaria) registered good sales. Inmost cases, these sales were higher than the sales of Coartem®. Generally, the sales contribution of SPs andgeneric antimalarial medicines exceeded that of Coartem® for most distributors. The most common changemade to marketing strategies by distributors (62.5%) was to increase imports of antimalarials. A total of 40% ofthe manufacturers preferred to increase their budgetary allocation for marketing activities. In view of the factthat continued sale of SP drugs and limited availability of AL poses the risk of increasing the incidence ofmalaria in Kenya, it is therefore, recommended that pharmacy surveillance systems be strengthened to ensuredrugs that have been rendered non-viable or that prescription-only medicines are not sold contrary to the nationalguidelines.

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