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Ageing and Health in Africa: Assessing how low- and Middle-class Older Adults with Chronic Illnesses Navigate the Problem of Counterfeit Drugs in Nigeria

Abstract

Many older adults in Nigeria live with chronic illnesses and regularly need drugs to manage them, however, procuring genuine drugs is a challenge given the proliferation of counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. Older adults in rural Nigeria who are largely poor with lower educational status may be disproportionately affected by this high proliferation of counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. With qualitative interviews from purposefully sampled 24 rural older adults in Southeast Nigeria, we explored the problem of widespread counterfeit drugs and how rural older adults with chronic illnesses navigate this problem in Nigeria. The collected data were inductively coded with NVivo 12 and analysed thematically. Findings revealed that most of the sampled participants reported having had experiences procuring counterfeit drugs from chemists (drug stores) and doggermans (street vendors) with women more predisposed to the risk of using counterfeit drugs. This has greatly impacted their health, economic status, and has led them to the use of alternative medicines. The study thus recommended stricter regulations for drug distribution and provision of health insurance to give rural older adults access to drugs at hospital pharmacies where genuine drugs are guaranteed.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the clinic gatekeepers, and the older adults who participated in this study for their time and efforts. We also wish to thank all the reviewers for their dedication in making the research paper better.

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Correspondence to Prince Chiagozie Ekoh.

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Ekoh, P.C., Chukwemeka, E., Ezulike, C.D. et al. Ageing and Health in Africa: Assessing how low- and Middle-class Older Adults with Chronic Illnesses Navigate the Problem of Counterfeit Drugs in Nigeria. Population Ageing 15, 981–997 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-022-09363-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-022-09363-9

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