Over-the-counter sales of antibiotics from community pharmacies in Abu Dhabi
- 382 Downloads
Objectives The aim of this study is to investigate over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from community pharmacies in Abu Dhabi city, focusing on the extent, demographic and socioeconomic determinants of this practice. Setting The study was conducted in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, and involved 17 randomly selected private pharmacies. Method A cross-sectional design using structured observations of 30 clients purchasing antibiotics from a pharmacy staff (either a pharmacist or pharmacy assistant) at each selected pharmacy. A total of 510 interactions were observed. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS. Main outcome measure The extent and types of antibiotics sold over-the-counter in Abu Dhabi city as observed in the selected sample of community pharmacies, and the demographic and socioeconomic factors that contributed to this practice. Results Sixty eight percent (68.4%) of the observed antibiotic sales were sold over-the-counter without prescriptions. Injection antibiotics constituted 2.2% of the antibiotics sold, 45.5% of which were sold over-the-counter. Combination of penicillins including β-lactamase inhibitors (34.0%), penicillins with extended spectrum (22.3%) and second generation cephalosporins (11.2%) were the mostly commonly sold antibiotic groups. Respiratory conditions (63.1%) were the most frequent reason for purchasing antibiotics. Over-the-counter sales of antibiotics were related to client ethnicity and age, gender of pharmacy staff and health complaint. Conclusion Our study revealed high sales of over-the-counter antibiotics, despite this being illegal. The ineffectiveness of antibiotics in treating respiratory conditions of viral origin and effects of such practice on the emergence of bacterial resistance necessitates prompt action.
KeywordsAntibiotic resistance Antibiotic sale Community pharmacy Non-prescription Observations Over-the-counter Pharmacy practice United Arab Emirates
Special thanks to the UAE Ministry of Health’s Department of Drug Control for their kind assistance in providing the list of pharmacies in Abu Dhabi and relevant information regarding pharmacies’ floor size etc.
No grants from any funding body were received to conduct this study.
Conflict of interest
No conflict of interest to declare.
- 3.WHO. WHO global strategy for containment of antimicrobial resistance. Report No. WHO/CDS/CSR/DRS/2001.2. Geneva: WHO; 2001.Google Scholar
- 5.HA-AD. Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Health Statistics; 2007. Available from: http://www.haad.ae/HAAD/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=mqZ%2f%2fS9She8%3d&tabid=349. Accessed December 2008.
- 6.WHO. United Arab Emirates National Health Accounts; May 2008. Available from: http://www.who.int/nha/country/are/en/. Accessed January 2009.
- 16.Benjamin H, Smith F, Motawi MA. Drugs dispensed with and without a prescription from community pharmacies in a conurbation in Egypt. East Mediterr Health J. 1996;2(3):506–14.Google Scholar
- 18.Anonymous. Multicenter study on self-medication and self-prescription in six Latin American countries. Drug Utilization Research Group, Latin America. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1997;61(4):488–93.Google Scholar
- 22.WHO. How to investigate drug use in health facilities: selected drug use indicators. Geneva: WHO; 1993.Google Scholar
- 23.WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology. Guidelines for ATC classification and DDD assignment 2007. 10th ed. Oslo, Norway: WHO; 2007.Google Scholar
- 25.Tumwikirize WA, Ekwaru PJ, Mohammed K, Ogwal-Okeng JW, Aupont O. Management of acute respiratory infections in drug shops and private pharmacies in Uganda: a study of counter attendants’ knowledge and reported behaviour. East Afr Med J. 2004;Suppl:S33–40.Google Scholar
- 38.Cederlof C, Tomson G. Private pharmacies and the health sector reform in developing countries: Professional and commercial highlights. J Soc Adm Pharm. 1995;12:101–11.Google Scholar