Adherence to WHO Criteria on Drug Promotion Literature: An Exploratory Study From a Tertiary Healthcare Facility in South-West Nigeria

Joseph O. Fadare*, Iyanu Bankole, Adefunke Babatola, Oladele Simeon Olatunya, Felix Aina, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In many low and middle-income countries (LMIC), drug promotional literature (DPL) remains one of the main sources of drug information for physicians. Studies conducted in many LMICs showed poor compliance to the WHO guidelines for ethical drug promotion especially in the area of information about excipients, adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions and contra-indications. These inadequacies in the information provided may mislead the prescriber with potential adverse consequences among patients using the medicines. Nigeria has a big pharmaceutical sector which is poorly regulated and we hypothesize that such unethical drug promotional practices may exist. This study therefore set out to assess compliance to the WHO ethical drug promotion (using DPL) at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti, South-West Nigeria. Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted in several specialist clinics of EKSUTH, Ado-Ekiti. Printed DPLs (brochures and leaflets) were collected from these clinics, collated using a pre-designed data collection form and analyzed using the WHO ethical criteria for medicinal drug promotion. Results:Two hundred seventy-five DPLs were screened A total of out of which 234 DPLs were selected after screening to after removal of duplications. Only 5 (2.1%) DPLs met all the WHO criteria. DPLs promoting antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, and vitamins/nutritional supplements were in the majority (22.2%, 17.1%, and 11.5% respectively. Most of the DPLs had the generic (223; 95.3%) and brand (234; 100%) names, active ingredients (209; 89.3%), excipients (149; 63.7%), and indications (232; 99.1%). Information about adverse drug reactions (76; 32.5%), contra-indications (73; 31.2%), and drug interactions (46; 19.7%) was less represented. Only 59 (25.2%) DPLs had references. Fixed-dose combination drugs made up 34.6% of drugs being promoted. Conclusion:The DPLs assessed in this study had low adherence to WHO ethical drug promotion criteria especially those related to adverse drug reaction, drug interactions, and contra-indications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalHospital Pharmacy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Nigeria
  • compliance
  • criteria
  • drug advertisement
  • drug brochure
  • prescribers
  • rational use of medicine


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