International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 960–967 | Cite as

Stakeholders’ views on granting prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria: a qualitative study

  • Asa AutaEmail author
  • Barry Strickland-Hodge
  • Julia Maz
Research Article


Background In Nigeria, only medical doctors, dentists and some nurses in primary care facilities have the legal right to prescribe medicines to patients. Patients’ access to prescription medicines can be seriously affected by the shortage of prescribers leading to longer waiting times in hospitals. Objective This research was carried out to investigate stakeholders’ views on granting prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria. Setting The study was conducted in Nigeria. Methods Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 43 Nigerian stakeholders including policymakers, pharmacists, doctors and patient group representatives. Transcribed interviews were entered into the QSR NVivo 10 software and analysed using a thematic approach. Main outcome measure Stakeholders’ perception on the granting of prescribing authority to pharmacists in Nigeria. Results Three major themes emerged from the interviews: (1) prescribing as a logical role for pharmacists, (2) pharmacist prescribing- an opportunity or a threat and (3) the potential barriers to pharmacist prescribing. Many non-medical stakeholders including pharmacists and patient group representatives supported an extended role for pharmacists in prescribing while the majority of medical doctors including those in policy making were reluctant to do so. Generally, all stakeholders perceived that pharmacist prescribing represents an opportunity to increase patients’ access to medicines, reduce doctors’ workload and promote the utilisation of pharmacists’ skills. However, many stakeholders including pharmacists and doctors commonly identified pharmacists’ inadequate skills in diagnosis, medical resistance and shortage of pharmacists as potential barriers to the introduction of pharmacist prescribing in Nigeria. Conclusion The present study showed a split of opinion between participants who were medical doctors and those who were non-doctors in their support for pharmacist prescribing. However, all stakeholders acknowledged the potential of pharmacist prescribing to increase patients’ access to medicines in Nigeria.


Access to medicines Nigeria Patient representatives Pharmacists Pharmacist prescribing Physicians Policymakers 



The authors would like to thank all participants for their valuable time and contributions to this research.


No financial support was obtained for this study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors do not have any conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK
  2. 2.School of Healthcare, Faculty of Medicine and HealthUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research, Faculty of Health and Life SciencesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK

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