UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Widespread illegal sales of antibiotics in Chinese pharmacies – a nationwide cross-sectional study

Chen, J; Wang, Y; Chen, X; Hesketh, T; (2020) Widespread illegal sales of antibiotics in Chinese pharmacies – a nationwide cross-sectional study. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control , 9 , Article 12. 10.1186/s13756-019-0655-7. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Widespread illegal sales of antibiotics in Chinese pharmacies - a nationwide cross-sectional study.pdf - Published version

Download (853kB) | Preview

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Access to antibiotics without a prescription from retail pharmacies has been described as a major contributor to anti-microbial resistance (AMR) globally. In the context of high rates of AMR, the Chinese government has recently introduced strict policies regarding hospital antibiotic use, but the existing ban on antibiotic sales without prescription in retail pharmacies has not been strongly enforced. In 2016, a goal of prescription-only antibiotics by 2020 was announced. The objective of the study was to determine progress towards the 2020 goal, through estimating the proportion of retail pharmacies selling antibiotics without prescription across the three regions of mainland China. METHODS: Using the Simulated Patient method, we conducted a cross-sectional survey across purposively-sampled retail pharmacies in urban and rural areas of 13 provinces in eastern, central and western China. Medical students presented a scenario of a mild upper respiratory tract infection, following a strict three-step protocol. They recorded the pharmacy characteristics, and details of their experience, including at which step antibiotics were offered. RESULTS: Complete data were obtained from 1106 pharmacies. Antibiotics were obtained in 925 (83.6, 95% CI: 81.5, 85.8%) pharmacies without a prescription, 279 (25.2%) at Stage 1 (symptoms only described), 576 (52.1%) at stage 2 (asked for antibiotics), and 70 (6.3%) at Stage 3 (asked for penicillin or cephalosporins). There were significant differences between provinces, with antibiotic access (at any stage) ranging from 57.0% (57/100) in Zhejiang (81/82) to 98.8% in Guizhou. However, there were no significant differences in access to antibiotics by level of city, county, township or village (P = 0.25), whether the pharmacy was part of a chain or independent (P = 0.23), whether a licensed pharmacist was attending (P = 0.82) or whether there was a sign saying that prescriptions were required for antibiotics (P = 0.19). CONCLUSIONS: It is easy to obtain antibiotics without a prescription in retail pharmacies in China, despite the fact it is against the law. This must be addressed as part of the wider anti-microbial stewardship effort which could include intense enforcement of the existing law, supported by a public education campaign.

Type: Article
Title: Widespread illegal sales of antibiotics in Chinese pharmacies – a nationwide cross-sectional study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13756-019-0655-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-019-0655-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Anti-microbial resistance, Antibiotic, Anti-microbial stewardship, Pharmacy, Chin
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091349
Downloads since deposit
9Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item