Journal of Urban Health

, 81:498

First online:

Availability of antibiotics without prescription in New York City

  • Elaine LarsonAffiliated withCenter for Evidence-Based Practice, Columbia University School of Nursing Email author 
  • , Lorena Grullon-FigueroaAffiliated withCenter for Evidence-Based Practice, Columbia University School of Nursing

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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.


Antibiotics Antimicrobial resistance Infection prevention