Determination of Factors Influencing Pharmacists While Recommending Immune-Enhancing Products via Analytic Hierarchy Process

Turk J Pharm Sci. 2022 Dec 21;19(6):701-705. doi: 10.4274/tjps.galenos.2022.02686.


Objectives: Immune enhancers are attracting attention day by day. Besides, during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increasing demand for immune enhancers. Pharmacists are seen as trustable providers of complementary and alternative medicines, dietary and herbal supplements, immune-enhancers, and so on. This study aims to prioritization criteria that affect community pharmacists' recommending behavior regarding immune enhancers.

Materials and methods: This paper adopts the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to rank different criteria substantial for affecting community pharmacists' recommending behavior regarding immune enhancers. In this direction, firstly seven criteria were identified through literature review and views of pharmacists who have community pharmacy experiences. These are; (i) ease of access, (ii) selling price, (iii) package, (iv) content (appropriateness to patient health status), (v) expectation of patient, (vi) quality, and (vii) trust in the manufacturer. Then, a questionnaire including criteria was prepared and delivered to community pharmacists. The data obtained from 93 participants were transferred to the Super Decisions software. The hierarchical structure of the AHP was established and pair-wise comparisons were made.

Results: This study showed that the most important criterion was the ease of access (28%). Secondly, pharmacists give importance to the content of the product, while advising immune-enhancers (22%). Besides, it was determined that the least important criterion was the package of the product (4%).

Conclusion: This study will contribute to the literature by facilitating the process of assessing factors that pharmacists pay attention to while recommending immune-enhancing products. Additionally, the present study results will shed light on firms producing such products, to shape their supply chain management strategies, especially for marketing and sales.

Keywords: Immune-enhancers; analytic hierarchy process; pharmacist.