The questionnaire comprised 9 opinion questions. The demographic information of respondents is located in the last part of the questionnaire. Key findings are summarized below and cross-references can be made with the frequency tables in Appendix II.
Respondents were first asked whether they and/or their family member(s) had purchased any drugs from pharmacy (excluding the pharmacy of hospital and private clinic) before. Results showed that 90% of the respondents said 「yes」 and only 10% of them answered 「no」 (Table 3).
No matter whether the respondents or their family members had the experience of purchasing drugs from pharmacy, the questionnaire continued by asking how important do they think are the factors of 「authenticity of the drugs」, 「qualification and quality of the on-site pharmacists」 and 「confidence towards the pharmacy」 (order randomized by computer) in affecting their decision to purchase drugs from pharmacy. Results showed that over 80% of the respondents thought the above 3 factors were equally important. Among these respondents, 94% regarded the factor 「authenticity of the drugs」 as important, only 3% and 1% of respondents regarded this factor as half-half and unimportant respectively; 88% thought 「qualification and quality of the on-site pharmacists」 important, 6% said half-half and only 4% said unimportant. Besides, 83% regarded the factor of 「confidence towards the pharmacy」 as important, 12% said half-half, and only 3% regarded this factor as unimportant (Table 4).
Whether or not people were concerned with the problem of drug counterfeiting, results indicated that 91% answered 「yes」 and only 7% said 「no」 (Table 5).
When asking the respondents have they ever purchased or suspected to have purchased counterfeit drugs, 79% said never and only 18% said yes (Table 6). Among those 187 respondents with this experience, 30% of them expressed that they had bought counterfeit of 「cough & cold remedies」. A respective of 21% and 20% said they had bought fake 「herbal oils」 and 「other proprietary Chinese medicines」. Other common types of counterfeits include 「skincare」 (17%), 「indigestion」 (11%) and 「analgesic」 (9%) medicines. Lastly, 7% of the respondents answered 「don't know/hard to say/forgotten」 (Table 7 and 8).
The reasons of causing the problem of drug counterfeiting in Hong Kong were then asked, interviewers first read out 3 options (order randomized by computer), then respondents would select suitable answers among them, or they could provide their own opinions. Multiple answers were allowed in this question. Findings showed that 30% of the respondents believed 「lacking in government regulations」 as the major reason, 17% thought it was because of 「ineffective prosecution」 and 13% chose 「light sentence」. In addition, as many as 50% of the respondents regarded all of the above options contributed to the problem of drug counterfeiting. Besides, 7% respondents thought 「the ethical problem of pharmacies' owners」 was the reason, while 3% didn't give a valid answer (Table 9).
As for the importance of three ways on combating the problems of drug counterfeiting - 「increase of penalty」, 「reinforcement of prosecution」 and 「more promotion and education of anti-drug counterfeiting」 (order randomized by computer), over 80% of the respondents within the sample considered all three ways were equally important. Among them, 96% thought 「reinforcement of prosecution」 important, only 2% and 1% said half-half and unimportant respectively. 91% thought 「increase of penalty」 important, 5% said half-half and 3% unimportant. Besides, 83% regarded 「more promotion and education of anti-drug counterfeiting」 as important, 9% said half-half and 8% considered it an unimportant approach (Table 10).
At the same time, 95% of the respondents agreed that the prosecution and sentence of drug counterfeiting executed by the government should be 「raised to the level of threatening public health」, only 4% thought we should keep it as it is, that is, same as handling other pirate goods such as pirate handbags, CDs, etc. (Table 11).
Finally, as many as 96% of the respondents supported that the government should legislate for regulating the safety of drugs independently, especially for combating the problem of drug counterfeiting or inconsistent ingredients. 4% opposed this suggestion or did not have clear stance on this issue (Table 12).
The survey findings show that Hong Kong citizens concern very much on the quality of drugs from pharmacy. In terms of the order of importance, three factors affecting the decision of purchasing drugs from pharmacy are 「authenticity of the drugs」 (94%), 「qualification and quality of the on-site pharmacists」 (88%) and 「confidence towards the pharmacy」 (83%).
Besides, the findings show that around 20% of the respondents have purchased or suspected to have purchased drug counterfeits before. The situation of drug counterfeiting is not that serious. The major types of drug counterfeits purchased include 「cold or cough remedies」, 「herbal oils」 and 「other proprietary Chinese medicines」. At the same time, quite a lot of respondents acknowledge that 「lacking in government regulations」, 「ineffective prosecution」 and 「light sentence」 are reasons of the occurrence of drug counterfeits in the market.
As for the effective ways of combating the problem of drug counterfeiting in Hong Kong, most respondents consider 「increase of penalty」, 「reinforcement of prosecution」 and 「more promotion and education of anti-drug counterfeiting」 as equally important. Moreover, nearly all respondents agree the government should raise the prosecution and penalty on drug counterfeiting to the level of threatening public health. Over 90% also think the government should legislate for regulating the safety of drugs independently. These results reflect that Hong Kong citizens have high expectations in this regard.