Several factors determine how easily a patient can access medicine in Nigeria and UK and the difference with between both systems is huge. In Nigeria individuals are financially responsible for their medical bills ranging from paying a consultation fee for a check up to paying for their medications (prescribed and otherwise), it inversely equates ones health to their financial and educated capacities. The lack of a standard enforcement system monitoring what drugs can be acquired over the counter makes personal medication very easy regardless of ones proper understanding of their ailment or the appropriate method of treatment. People buy different medicines over the counter without a prescription note including antibiotics, antivirals etc.
The lack of medical insurance accessible by the average citizen further encourages the number of “personally trained pharmacists and doctors to breed”. It is not a common practice, only a few companies offer their employees such cover and in those scenarios the best services and bill coverage is not guaranteed. I haven’t heard of individuals who have set up a personal medical coverage, if they exist it’s a very small minority, properly wealthy and might have them set up abroad not in Nigeria. The entire system encourages a reckless, nonchalant behaviour from some doctors in others it makes them via off a professional course into a profit oriented system. For some other doctors knowing their patients might turn to personal medication makes them prescribe placebos or mild medications to calm the patient down. Drug abuse of regular medications is certainly unavoidable.
The system is not without its benefits, one off the top of my head is the low level of addiction to medication, this could largely be attributed to cost of financing such a lifestyle rather than accessibility.
The UK system differs completely, a lot of medications can only be obtained when prescribed or recommended by a pharmacist/ doctor. In most cases getting the doctor/pharmacist to prescribe any form of medication often requires a lot persuasion, sometimes an over exaggeration of your symptoms, and a downright demand of your right to be treated or relieved of your symptoms immediately. This attitude is often attribute to cost management and an avoidance of lawsuits from patients who might wish to exploit the system. Drug abuse in this case is probably less likely as constant reviews and updates of individuals health records are carried out often. The system also monitors the acquisition of drugs over the counter and this deterrent regulates the pursuit of personal gain over peoples health.However internet sales of some of these drugs remains a huge challenge in the UK,it poses a serious threat to the patient as counterfeit drugs can be sold with no repercussion.
Both systems still need a little tweaking here and there,however the Nigerian system has a long overhaul ahead of it to function properly.
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