Comparative assessment of price and quality of liquid antacids in Nigeria: a beacon of informed choice for Gastroenterologists and Obstetricians
Introduction: Liquid antacids prices in Nigeria differ widely. Previous study using acid neutralizing capacity reported that price differences had no relationship with therapeutic efficacy. Present study evaluated the technical quality of most popular liquid antacids in Nigeria and sought link between product price and quality. Method: Sixteen brands were randomly purchased from pharmacies in different zones of Nigeria and evaluated for organoleptic, sedimentation, ease of redispersion, pH, flow rate and rheological characteristics using standard protocols. Results: All products possessed attractive colours, tastes, smells; with smooth viscous feel on the tongue and mouth. Products prices ranged from $1–$9, amounts which are not related to products’ listed drug contents. The pH values of products were of range: 8–10. Product D pH was significantly higher (p<0.05) than any other’s. Sedimentation volumes after seven days ranged from 0.54–1.00 Sedimentation rate was highest in I and insignificant in four products. Products D and L were the easiest to redisperse, while B, A, and E were significantly the most difficult (p<0.05). Flow rates of products C and L were similar and significantly higher (p<0.05) than those of other products. G and P displayed the highest viscosity profiles and I’s was significantly lowest (p<0.05). Conclusion: Expensive antacids possess no better quality than cheap ones. There is no technical justification for the high cost of some liquid antacids since cheap ones have been shown to be as good and in some cases better both physiologically and technically.