Evaluation of the Public Pharmacies Service in Gaza Strip
Abdelhadi Ata Abu Sirreya
عبد الهادي عطا العبد ابو سرية
High quality pharmaceutical service is a fundamental component of the national health care policies. The aim of this study is to provide the Palestinian community with high quality pharmaceutical service through evaluation of the public (community) pharmacies' service by determining the effect of the surrounding conditions, the compliance of public pharmacies to the legal and ethical standards, and the governmental procedures used to regulate their practice. A cross-sectional study was applied on one hundred 100 public pharmacies in both Gaza and mid-zone governorates. The study sample included seventy-sex 76 pharmacies in Gaza Governorate and twenty-four 24 pharmacies in Mid-zone Governorate; the response rate was 97%. The data was collected from the sample through a questionnaire, a chick list, and the records of the Palestinian ministry of health (MOH) and Palestinian Pharmacists Syndicate (PPS). The results showed that public pharmacies practice was conducted within inconvenient surroundings and the low income had affected the public pharmacies service, which led to financial failure, as 87.6% were indebted which will lead to undesirable economical consequences to the national pharmaceutical market. Pharmacists suffered from lack of suitable employment opportunities led 28.9% of them to establish new public pharmacies, which increased competition. VIII Pharmacy laws and ethics were ignored by many public pharmacies, 44.3% did not regard the formal price, 91.8% dispensed drugs without prescription, and 37.1% deled with informal drugs, which led to professional, ethical and economical failure and did disrepute the pharmacy as a profession and the pharmacist as medical professional, in addition to a lower quality service. Although the ministry of health is the authority involved in regulating the public pharmacies service, 21.6% of public pharmacies were inspected by other agencies as the ministry of supply, which confused the public pharmacies conduct and decreased the feeling of professional safeguard of the public pharmacists, which affected the quality of pharmacies service. Less attention was given to increase the knowledge and skills of the community pharmacists as 6.2 % of them attended scientific lectures, and lack of training courses were applied to the pharmacist inspectors as 33.3 % of them got training courses. For higher quality pharmaceutical service, law of pharmacy must be complied, committing with formal prices, effective intervention against the informal drugs, adopting OTC drugs policy, and reevaluation of the governmental regulating procedures. Continuous education and increasing skills of the community pharmacists and pharmacist inspectors will lead to higher quality pharmaceutical service provided by the public pharmacies to the community.