Self-medication among doctors and pharmacists at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

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The purpose of this study was to investigate self prescription practices among pharmacists and physicians of the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital. In a cross sectional survey that used questionnaire as the instrument for data collection, a random sample of 205 pharmacists and physicians was adopted for the study, which achieved a response rate of 79% representing 162 retrieved questionnaires (128 physicians and 34 pharmacists). The results showed a high rate of self medication or self prescription among pharmacists and physicians. Whilst professional exposure to drugs and knowledge of their treatment of disease remains the fundamental contributor to self medication among pharmacists and physicians, the peculiar demands of their work environment including, excessive work schedules, issues of confidentiality as well as inadequate health care provision for these professionals and their families are factors that further worsen the situation. The study found that, the higher the practice experience of these professionals, the higher the tendency to self medicate. The three most common abused categories of drugs include analgesics, antimalarials and antibiotics. The problem of self medication among pharmacists and physicians has implications including legal, health and negative effects on the patient and on the quality of health delivery as a whole. It is recommended that pharmacists and physicians must accept to enter the patient role and to present themselves as patients, that students of either professions must be given orientation on the consequences of self medication before they go in to practice. It is further recommended that pharmacists and physicians must understand, accept, uphold and defend the tenets of their own professions by avoiding self medication and that hospital authorities endeavour to provide a well motivated, congenial and improved health care services for health personnel. They must also ensure adequate privacy of pharmacists and physicianns, continous education on self prescription and its consequences and to enshrine the issues of self medication practices and their consequences in the code of ethics of both professions in Ghana.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Clinical and Social Pharmacy, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, 2009