Influence of marketing mix on medical doctors’choice of prescription drugs in nairobi
Most studies in the pharmaceutical industry have been on aspects of marketing like promotion, perception and distribution intensity. None of the above studies focused on the influence of marketing mix on doctors, choice of prescription drugs, hence there exists a gap that this study sought to fill. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which the marketing mix influences medical doctors* choice of prescription drugs. A descriptive survey was chosen because it would quantifiahly characterise the extent to which marketing mix variables affect prescription drug decisions The population of interest for this study consisted of all registered prescribing medical doctors practising in Nairobi. According to the Kenya medical directory of 2004-2005 Nairobi has a total of 520 registered prescribing medical doctors. A sample of 100 doctors was used in this study, which wits fairly representative of the doctors* population in Nairobi. Convenience sampling was used to select the sample from prescribing doctors practising in Nairobi's low, medium and high income hospitals. Primary datu was collected using structured questionnaires, which were administered by the researcher to the medical doctors using a drop-and-pick later method. The questionnaire was divided into sections A and II consisting of the doctor’s personal information and marketing mix elements which influence a doctor’s choice of prescription drugs respectively. Eighty eight doctors out of a target of one hundred responded and all questionnaires returned by respondents were usable for data analysis. This represented a response rate of 88%. Data was analysed using frequency distribution, percentages and correlation analysis methods and the results presented using tables. It was observed that marketing mix was an important aspect regarding influence on the doctor’s choice of prescription drags. The findings of the study showed that the most critical aspect in the choice decision is the product element followed by that of price. Majority of the doctors felt that the place element of the marketing mix had the least influence on their choice of prescription drags. Most doctors also felt that live supportive vii evidence of the efficacy of tl»e product and higher patient dosage compliance were very cnicinl product aspects to consider while making the prescription choice decision. They also felt that the most important aspect of the price attribute determining their choice is the patients* buying power. The marketing mix elements play a very important role in the prescription choice decision; however some elements arc more important than others. The product element is extremely important since the doctors need to be certain that the drugs they prescribe to their patients ore effective. Even if the doctor prescribed tlie most effective drug, unless the patient is willing and able to purchase the same, the whole treatment process would be an exercise in futility. For the patient to fully benefit from the treatment process, the right drug at the correct price must he available in the pharmacies which arc approved by insurers as well as in the hospital formularies. For the pharmaceutical companies to succeed in selling their prescription drugs, they need to understand the extent to which each of the marketing mix elements influence the prescription choice decision so that they can adopt strategies which allow them to position their drugs as the produeLs of choice in the market. The study was conducted in Nairobi and the influence of the marketing mix on Nairobi doctors’ choice of prescription drugs may differ from fhosc in lire rural areas. As a result of such differences, the results may not be generalized Future studies could he carried out on each element of the marketing mix to determine l!»c extent to w hich each of them influences the choice decision on its own. Research can also be carried out to determine whether there arc other factors which have an influence on the doctors’ choice of prescription drugs nnd their extent of influence in relation to the marketing mix elements.