Reverse logistics practices in the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector

Salvador, Sherif John Agboola

July 2017

Thesis or dissertation

© 2017 Sherif John Agboola Salvador Salvador. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis presents findings from an exploratory study of reverse logistics practices in the Nigerian pharmaceutical private sector. Reverse logistics has received increased attention in recent years due to the sustainability and circular economy implications of value recapture and end-of-life product disposition. A significant amount of reverse logistics research has been done in developed countries but very little has been undertaken in the pharmaceutical industry and developing nations, particularly Africa where recent health crises such as the Ebola virus necessitate safe and proper reverse logistics solutions.

This study investigated characteristics, similarities and differences in pharmaceutical reverse logistics practices of 19 private sector pharmaceutical organisations in Nigeria including the regulatory authority to determine facilitating, enabling and inhibiting factors and develop improvement opportunities for the sector. This exploratory research used a multiple case study method involving semi-structured interviews with pharmaceutical supply chain stakeholders and practitioners to explore five research questions within a seven perspectives framework derived for this study. Empirical findings came from within-case, within case-category, and cross case-category analysis of the 19 case organisations.

This study contributes a conceptual understanding of pharmaceutical reverse logistics management through operationalising the seven perspectives framework and developing a typology of six important pharmaceutical reverse logistics process flows. This study has identified specific factors that facilitate, drive, or inhibit pharmaceutical reverse logistics practices in Nigeria and differentiated them from those in extant literature. This study impacts research by providing theoretically grounded and empirically informed insights into reverse logistics practices in both the pharmaceutical supply chain and a developing nation, Nigeria. To the researcher’s knowledge, it is the first of its kind to do so.

This study augments the reverse logistics content framework by including a seventh perspective, the “when perspective”. The extended reverse logistics framework provides a basic structure upon which researchers can utilise to explore various issues in reverse logistics, thereby providing a starting point for future pharmaceutical reverse logistics researchers, particularly in developing countries. This study contributes to practice by revealing the ‘current state’ of pharmaceutical reverse logistics practices in the Nigerian private sector, identifying improvement opportunities, and suggesting implementable measures to facilitate best practice. Finally, this study contributes to the increasing usage, and applicability of qualitative methods in logistics research.

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