GAMIT na GAMOT: Role of Individual Perceptions and Social Environment in Shaping Decisions as to whether to Rely on Branded, Generic or Herbal Medicines
Healthcare, such as medicine use, is essential to individuals but many do not have the capacity to obtain proper healthcare, especially in the country. In view of these concerns, the study aimed to determine and explore the concept of health of urban and rural residents and the factors that influence it as well as how social environment shape decisions to rely on branded, generic or herbal medicines.
Five communication theories were integrated, namely, Health Belief Model, Standpoint Theory, Theory of Reasoned Action, Expectancy-Value Theory, and Information-Processing Theory. Utilizing these theories, the researchers examined the interconnection of personal factors (concept of health and knowledge on existing laws related to medicines), intervening factors (social environment and perceived differences and barriers on medicine types) and healthcare behaviour (processing of health information,healthcare and reliance on particular medicine types).
This study consisted of 200 randomly-selected households which were equally divided between urban (cities within Metro Manila) and rural areas (province of Catanduanes). As a method to probe and complement survey responses, six (6) case studies were conducted. These case studies which were composed of six families were divided into three categories: branded medicine-reliant family, generic medicine-reliant family and herbal medicine-reliant family. For each category, there were two case studies (1 urban; 1 rural).
In addition, an illness remedy report was conducted in the middle of the FGD (case studies) wherein the families were given a sheet of paper with different enumerated illnesses. They were then asked to talk among themselves as a family on the forms of healthcare they do in curing all given illness. Follow up questions were asked at the end.
Results revealed that personal factors are shaped by social environment especially family and doctors. However, urban and rural residents were found active communicators as shown by how they seek, screen, compare, store, and analyze own opinions with others. As they processed health information, perceived barriers such as cost and effectiveness were found influential in affecting healthcare decisions. In effect, healthcare decisions are then finally formed which leads to an individual reliance to branded medicines, generic medicines or herbal medicines.
Subject Index: Medicines, Urban dwellers, Rural landowners, Herbals, Brand name products, Generic products, Diseases