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Background: One-third of the world’s population lacks access to essential medicines and price of medicine is considered one of the most important obstacles to access. Improving access to quality medicines and treatment is currently the most important strategy to reduce disability and death from many diseases.
Aim: The objective of this study was to compare the patient prices of medicines in a public teaching hospital and a private retail community pharmacy in a rural Nigerian community.
Methods: A cross-sectional prospective survey was conducted in a public tertiary hospital pharmacy and private retail community pharmacy in Nigeria. The price was recorded for the list of medicines commonly available in those pharmacies. A total of 30 pharmaceuticals products were selected for data collection. The price was recorded based on the hospital price list and price reported by surrogate customers that visited community pharmacy respectively. Median prices of the two groups were compared with Mann-Whitney test at 95% Confidence interval.
Results: Out of 30 pharmaceutical products selected for survey, only 19 (63.30%) matched pair were recorded. Highest price variation of 80.00% was recorded for metformin 500mg tab, whereas lowest price variation negative of 2.60% was recorded for amoxicillin+clavulanic acid 625mg tab in public pharmacy. The median price of the basket of medicines surveyed did not vary significantly between public pharmacy and private retail community pharmacy (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: The patients’ medicine prices found in the public hospital and community pharmacy were almost identical. Therefore, the Nigerian government through its ministry of health should play proactive roles to keep the patient prices of medicines much lower in the public hospitals than what is obtained in the private retail community pharmacies.