Qualitative formative implementation research to inform introduction of a new essential medicine

Victoria L. Oliver, Moti Tolera, Alula M. Teklu, Abebaw Minaye, Pete Lambert, Michelle P. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The launch of novel pharmaceuticals in the developing world faces significant barriers that can delay or ultimately inhibit uptake. Implementation research can provide an understanding of factors influencing the introduction and scale up of a new product and thus can inform implementation strategy development. Objective: This study explored the factors likely to influence introduction of a novel oxytocin formulation for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage in Ethiopia. Methods: Qualitative research methods were used to assess barriers and enablers associated with pre-determined domains: regulatory approval, pricing, supply and demand side advocacy, policy inclusion, end-user training and drug supply. Data were collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with community members, healthcare providers and key informants. Verbatim transcripts were translated to English and analyzed using a thematic content framework. Results: Approval from stringent regulatory bodies was an enabler for gaining national regulatory approval. Purchasers (government and patients) expressed price sensitivity but would be willing to pay a price comparable to or higher than current alternatives if improved quality is delivered. Endorsement from the World Health Organization was described as critical for national policy inclusion. Supply side advocacy should be directed towards the Ministry of Health, which is receptive to advice from reputable agencies with whom they have an existing relationship. Demand side advocacy should be delivered through existing health system channels such as Ministry of Health authorities (for healthcare workers) and community health workers (for community members). The requirement to purchase the product directly from a single manufacturer was highlighted as a potential barrier for entry into the local supply chain. Conclusion: This study highlighted several barriers and enablers associated with the introduction of a new drug product into the health system of Ethiopia. An advanced understanding of these influences can inform the design of locally-appropriate implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Developing world
  • Ethiopia
  • Low-resource settings
  • Maternal health innovation
  • Oxytocin
  • Postpartum hemorrhage

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