Objectives: The National Formulary of India (NFI), a ready reckoner for medicines among healthcare-professionals aims for promoting rational drug use. This needs periodic update based on evidence-based medicines and suggestions from end-users. This study assessed the level of awareness among health-care professionals and sought suggestions for enhancement of utility/content of NFI.
Materials and methods: This pan-India cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was conducted between November-2020 and March-2021. A Google-doc-based validated questionnaire (20 questions) was circulated through E-mail/social media groups and to 311 medical institutes/hospitals/clinics across India through the adverse drug reaction monitoring centers under the Pharmacovigilance Program of India.
Results: A total of 461 participants (39-interns, 167-resident doctors, and the rest practicing physicians/doctors) affiliated to 224 institutes/hospitals/clinics had responded. About 46% respondents consulted NFI for drug-related information and 82.3% stated that NFI provides balanced unbiased information. About 95% respondents were aware of NFI's content and 76% mentioned usefulness of NFI in their clinical practice; however, 34.4% had misconceptions about NFI, 28.7% had a false belief that NFI is a legal document to safeguard health-care providers and 22.2% had never used it. Suggestions to enhance NFI's utility included digital accessibility, incorporation of information like drugs for basic medical emergencies (71.3%), disposal of expired-pharmaceutical products (38.7%), pharmaceutical price control policy (36.3%), and drug-procurement practices in hospitals (35.6%).
Conclusion: As per the survey findings, NFI is an effective tool for instant access to precise and unbiased drug-related information, and fostering rational use of drugs. Boosting its practical usefulness needs incorporation of suggested information, digital accessibility, and periodic update.
Keywords: Healthcare professionals; national formulary of India; pan-India survey; practical usefulness; rational use of drugs.