“Availability, Affordability, and Prices of Smoking Cessation Drugs in Armenia: a Pharmaceutical Market Research”

Arusyak Harutyunyan, MD, MPH, of the American University of Armenia School of Public Health, recently gave a presentation on the availability of tobacco dependence treatment based on market research in her country, Armenia. Her presentation was part of the July Global Bridges grantee call that focused on pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence treatment.

“Availability, Affordability, and Prices of Smoking Cessation Drugs in Armenia: a Pharmaceutical Market Research” – of which Dr. Harutyunyan was the principal investigator – is part of a Pfizer IGLC/Global Bridges grant-funded project that seeks to implement Article 14 of the FCTC in Armenia through building national capacity in smoking cessation training among practicing primary healthcare physicians.

The research involved desk review, surveying pharmacies, and conducting in-depth interviews with representatives of pharmaceutical companies.

The findings suggest that availability of pharmacotherapy in Armenia is determined by the expected commercial market, rather than health policy. Specifically:

  • Due to low levels of local promotion for pharmacotherapy, awareness of and demand for treatments is low among health professionals and consumers
  • Low expected demand provides little incentive for pharmacies to stock and promote the drugs.  Therefore, even if drugs are licensed for sale in Armenia, they are not always made available for purchase.  For instance, varenicline was not available in any of the 42 pharmacies surveyed.
  • This cycle leads to perceptions that few smokers wish to quit or want pharmacotherapy.

Dr. Harutyunyan developed a survey instrument so that grantees and other network members may conduct similar research in their own countries, which will be incorporated in a multi-country analysis by Global Bridges. See and hear the presentation and learn how your country can participate in and use this research.