, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 498-504

Availability of antibiotics without prescription in New York City

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Abstract

Misuse of antibiotics in the community has been associated with emergence of increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Although antibiotics in the United States are to be prescribed by a health care provider, the extent to which they are obtained by other means is not known. The purpose of this article is to describe a survey of the availability of nonprescription antibiotics in neighborhood independent businesses in several Manhattan, New York, neighborhoods. A survey was conducted of 101 stores in three neighborhoods—one primarily Hispanic; one primarily black, non-Hispanic; and one primarily white, non-Hispanic. Antibiotics were available in all stores in the Hispanic neighborhood (n=34), but in none of the others (P<.001). If efforts to rationalize the use of antibiotics are to be successful, the beliefs and cultural norms of subpopulations must be considered, and interventions must be culturally relevant.