International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Factors Influencing the Influx of Counterfeit Medicines in Kenya: A Survey of Pharmaceutical Importing Small and Medium Enterprises within Nairobi
Muli Muthiani, Dr. Kenneth Wanjau

Purpose: The proliferation of counterfeit medicines is one of the most pressing issues facing pharmaceutical SMEs in Kenya. As a result of counterfeiting, the SMEs lose revenues and profits, jobs are lost and customers are forced to pay higher prices for genuine products due to financial losses. Counterfeiting has received little attention in research in spite of its development, scope and consequences on firms, on governments and on brands. While most studies have focused on how to control the supply side of counterfeits, few studies have investigated the influencing factors of increased influx in counterfeited medicines. Design/methodology/approach: The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The annual list from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of registered pharmaceutical importing companies was used as sampling frame. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire and interview schedule. The study used both qualitative and quantitative techniques in analyzing data. Factor analysis, correlation analysis and regression analysis were used to determine the relationship between the independent variables. Findings: The study found out from a response rate of 80.3%, legislation, popularity of a brand, pricing strategy and various perceived risks had influence on the influx of counterfeit medicines. The components identified as important in regard to legislation were weak enforcement of the anti-counterfeit law and ambiguity of the definition of counterfeit. Further, the degree of popularity of a brand was found to influence the willingness to purchase counterfeit products.Consumers were found to buy counterfeit medicine over genuine ones if there existed a price advantage.It was also found out that cconsumers take into consideration the influence of various perceived risks in the decision making process to purchase counterfeits. Practical implications: The study concludes that pharmaceutical companies should protect all their products with Kenya Intellectual Property Institute to avoid IPR infringement by the counterfeiters. Further, SMEs importing genuine branded products should develop better marketing strategies to entice the consumers to purchase genuine products and not the counterfeit version. The importers should employ pricing strategies that discourage counterfeiters from importing their products. Originality/value: The study is among the few that have been carried out to investigate the motivating factors of medicine counterfeiting and is likely to be of great benefit to the players in the health sector including the pharmaceutical SMEs, the government agencies as well as the consumers.

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