The availability of substandard and falsified medicines in the market grants a serious public health problem and a significant impact on the national economy. Current estimate suggests 10% of prescription drugs sold worldwide are substandard, fake or contaminated, and in parts of Africa and Asia, the figures exceed 50%. Professionals' awareness towards falsified medicines is a major problem that could lead to public-health crisis. This study aimed to assess the community pharmacy professionals’ knowledge, attitude and practice towards SFMs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. An institutional based cross-sectional study design with a systematic random sampling technique was employed on community pharmacy professionals. Data was collected using structured questionnaire and the collected data was analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 25. Simple descriptive statistics was used to describe the variables. Among the total 323 community pharmacists, 264 (81.7%) were aware about SFM and only 98(37.1%) of them correctly define SFMs. Among those having awareness, 196 (74.2%) respondents claimed that the main country of origin for SFM was India followed by China 103(39%) and Ethiopia 43(16.3%). Antibiotics 128(48.5%), chronic disease medicines94(35.6%) and expensive and unavailable medicines 79(29.9%) were the most frequently mentioned class of medicines with highest risk of falsification. Whereas, Mebendazole suspension 46(45%), Metronidazole 32(31.4%) and Muscle builders 31(30.4%) were among the most frequently mentioned SFMs they encountered. The participants mean level of agreement for attitude questions was between 2.02 and 4.19 whereas SFMs use and practice was very low. This study indicated community pharmacy professionals’ knowledge and practice were found to be moderate and a large proportion of them had a positive attitude, although there appeared to be differences across attitude questions. Designing and implementing continuing educational programs on SFMs and enforcement of vigilant laws were identified as a means for tackling SFM.
Keywords: Substandard and Falsified Medicines, Knowledge, Attitude, Practice, Community Pharmacy Professionals.