CONSUMER PROTECTION AND DRUG MARKETING IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Consumer protection is more and more becoming a topical issue in this country. Consumers in Nigeria is constantly abused but had permanently remained unresponsive to various forms of trade malpractices distributed by sellers/producers.
The efficiency of marketing as a cannel of commitment to the consumer, as time goes on, it will depend largely on the extent it succeeds in enhancing the quality of consumers judgments, and in maintaining fair competitive conditions that allows customers to make free and informed choices between various alternative.
This will involve making available to consumers much more relevant product and serves information, for example, performance and safety in use, unit pricing and conditions of contract. It also means that business men, on their own part must accept that the maintenance of fair competitive market condition and safeguarding of consumers rights cannot be left entirely tot heir own self regulatory codes, however, legislation should be kept at a level and only enacted as a last resort providing successful, real consumers judgement in the market place, has to do with a determined effort to ensure that consumer understand their rights under existing law. This will involve extensive consumer education on the enacted legislation self-regulating codes of practice and adverse publicity for those who transgress such codes. This however, will not be enhanced by removing from consumer the necessity to make their own decision, or by imposing on the market condition which limits the freedom of a consumer choice or the means of developing their powers of judgments.
Based on this preview, we will be investigating the level of protection offered to use of drugs by government and manufacturers considering such law and ethics controlling and regulating the organization involved in drug marketing (drug dispensing and distribution). This is because of the importance of drugs to the life of the people. A drug can help or destroy a person’s life. It defined as “a chemical agent that affects the function of living things”. Drugs are used in preventing treating and diagnosing diseases.
The investigation also extend to how, in case of low level of protection, stronger protective measure could be endured in order have honest marketing practice in the drug industry and ensure healthy usage or consumption of drugs in the country.
In order, to accomplish this study, Juhel Pharmaceutical Company has been selected as a case organization.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COMPANY
Juhel Company Limited has been in the manufacturing and distribution/sales of drugs in the country for the past eighteen years (18).
This company (Juhel Pharmaceutical) is located or has it’s head office at 35 Nkwubor Road Emene. The Director name is Chief Ifeanyi Okoye. This company also engage in other business activities example (Juhel Filling Station) Juhel Company activities cover the thirty six states of the federation.
Juhel specialized mainly on Septrin for children, Juhel paracetamol, Ampicllox, Vitamin C white and orange colour, Babimol paracetamol for children, Pastin extra for headache, pain relief and folic acid. The company uses the services of distributors, wholesalers and direct distribution by company’s sales force.
In guarding against adulteration of their drugs, the company quality control dept adopt measures such as manipulation of packaging material ranging from labeling to utilization of buster packs
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Over the years, the Nigeria consumers has been subjected to various forms of trade malpractices by the producers/sellers. There have been instances where law quality, adulterated, inferior or even fake product are sold to consumers as genuine of real ones. Let us consider the following cases. “The case of trader selling chalk as Asprin, IPA as methylated spirit.
Drugs all over the country are categorized. Some are called over the counter (O.T.C) drugs, others are poisons which must not be obtained without prescription by an expert. The patent medicine dealers are licensed to sell only the (O.T.C) category. But many of them sell those in the poison category because according to them, that is where the profit is.
In view of these, the researcher is concerned with determining the safety of a citizen of the country in consumption or usage of drug.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are to:
1) Ascertain how safe the drug market is for the users in the country.
2) How much the government is involved in ensuring safety in the drug market.
3) To probe into the activities of companies in the light of marketing concept.
4) How the activities of patient medicine dealers affect the safety of consumer of drug
1.4 TESTING OF HYPOTHESIS
Within the framework of the above objectives the following hypotheses have been put forward:
Ho: The drug market is safe for consumer of drug in the country.
Hi: The drug market is safe for consumer of drug in the country.
Ho: Activities of the patent medicine dealers affect the safety of consumer of drugs.
Hi: Activities of patent medicine dealers do not affect the safety of consumers of drug.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study is of immense benefit to the manufacturers or producers of drug, seller, consumer of drugs, government and to the researcher as well.
Firstly, producers will benefit from this study so as to improve upon and control their marketing strategies.
Secondly, the sellers of drug will adopt better marketing methods to the needs and wants of their prospective consumers which will eventually enhance opportunity for realizing greater profit.
Thirdly, the study will educate the consumers on their rights in the markets as stipulated in the laws.
Again, it will help the government to know why the drug market is still infested with unscrupulous drug producers and dealers despite all their efforts to ensure safety.
Finally, it will help the researcher to know the reason for un-safety in the drug market.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This study will consist of the analysis of various decree enacted by the government with regards to the manufacture, sale, and dispensing of drugs. Some of these decrees include the food and drug decree 1974, price control decree 1977. Pharmacists act 1965 and counterfeit and fake drug decree 1988. The analysis also extend to such law that relate to setting up of patent medicine shops, establishment of nursing profession and other laws deemed relevant to the study.
Assessment is made on the works of writers on consumer protection, like Development of Consumers Law and Policy Bold Spirit and Timerous Souls” by Bonie and Gordon. The different kind of consumer laws relevant tour study written by these authors are examined in the light of what is obtained in Nigeria. Also the assessment consists of the roles played by the health bodies in the country. In ensuring healthy production and consumption of drug like the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). Nigeria Medical Association (NMA). National Agency for food and drug administration and control (NAFDAC) Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDIEA) and Federal and State Ministries of Health (Represented by Abia State Ministry of Health Umuahia).
The scope also extends to an enquiry into the disposition of distributors in ensuring the safety of the consumers in the market and methods adopted by manufacturers in order to ensure the availability of the right kind of drugs in the market and safe consumption. This however, was limited to Juhel Pharmaceutical Company. (Nigeria Limited which is used as case study. This is because the company covers a larger area (nationwide) in the drug market. In enquiring into the activities of the drug dealers in the market, the scope of the study also extend to the activities of consumers in ensuring safety in the use of these drugs.
Some difficulties that limited the progress of the study start from the uncooperative attitude of some consumers who are unlettered and suspicious of the researcher as police CID personnel pretending to be student. Other factors that stood out as the limitation of the study include finance and time.
The researcher on this topic entails traveling every now and then and they were all financially demanding. As a student the researcher found it difficult to provide enough finance for the research.
The time interval, within which the research work was expected coupled with the academic work facing the researcher as a final year student, restricted the consideration of some relevant issues.CONSUMER PROTECTION AND DRUG MARKETING IN NIGERIA