Challenges & opportunities facing the pharmaceutical industry in Iran: A qualitative approach


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Objective: This study aims to identify the most influential organisational key factors affecting the pharmaceutical drugs distribution system in Iran. The challenges and solutions will be reviewed and analysed. Study design: This study was based on qualitative study, methods. Participant selection criteria were defined and purposeful sampling method was used and continued with snow ball sampling. A total of 20 (67%) of the most senior managers from national pharmaceutical distribution companies in Iran were interviewed. Semi-structured interviews based on four in-depth interviews as well as a review of studies of the pharmaceutical distribution system of developed countries were used in the design. Framework analysis was used to analyse the qualitative results. Results: Six factors were identified as key influential factors in the pharmaceutical drugs distribution system: pharmaceutical distribution policymaking, pharmaceutical distribution planning, drugs distribution structure, drugs distribution process, drugs distribution monitoring and the evaluation of drugs distribution. There is not a systematic supervision of regulatory rules. The pharmaceutical drugs distribution system in Iran does not have any targeted planning to deal with matters such as interne commerce and the shortage of products needed to deal with accidental injuries. The pharmaceutical drugs distribution structure in Iran is based on a traditional and inefficient structure that needs to be modified. In addition, matters such as the trafficking/smuggling of pharmaceutical products have not been exactly quantified. Conclusion: In order to increase the pharmaceutical drugs distribution system's efficiency and to reduce supply chain costs in an effective manner, fundamental changes must take place. For these changes to be effective the Provincial Pharmaceutical Drugs Agency which is an additional body in the Iranian pharmaceutical drugs distribution system, must be considered/involved. Furthermore, attention must be paid to planning and integrated policymaking to set up chain pharmacies and to interne commerce in Iran.