Knowledge and behavior of consumers towards the non-prescription purchase of antibiotics: An insight from a qualitative study from New Delhi, India

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Knowledge and behavior of consumers towards the non-prescription purchase of antibiotics: An insight from a qualitative study from New Delhi, India

Looking at the growing antibiotic resistance (ABR) trend it has been estimated that the infections from resistant bacteria will be the leading cause of death by 2050, and may cost the global economy USD100 trillion. The ABR burden in low and medium-income countries (LMICs) is found to be three times higher than that of developed countries. According to the WHO, over 50% of the antibiotic prescriptions worldwide are inappropriate with two thirds of antibiotics accessible at the pharmacies being used for self-medication and the easy over-the-counter (OTC) access to antibiotics which is common in LMIC’s. India is one of the largest consumers of antibiotics, and sales of antibiotics continue to increase rapidly. Consumer’s views towards ABR are important to understand to develop evidence-based intervention for general population.

A study by Kotwani 2021 was conducted to explore knowledge, practice and, behavior of consumers towards antibiotics, antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance along with the driving factors associated with antibiotic use and purchasing behavior of consumers for antibiotics. Qualitative in-depth interviews with semi-structured interview guide were conducted in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Total 72 consumers at pharmacy shop aged 18 to 70 years across all 11 districts of Delhi were interviewed to include in the study. Thematic analysis was done to analyze the qualitative data. Total five themes; Consumers’ health-seeking behavior for common ailments, Consumers’ knowledge and practices towards antibiotics, Consumers’ awareness of current regulations regarding antibiotic purchase from retail pharmacies, Factors contributing to over-the-counter (OTC) purchase of antibiotics, Consumer’s knowledge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) were derived through systematic thematic analysis of the interviews. The findings shows that retail pharmacies were the first point of consultation for common ailments for patients/consumers once home remedies failed; they were largely unaware of the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Consumers’ knowledge of antibiotic use and about antimicrobial resistance was low, they used old prescriptions, and bought antibiotics OTC to save time and money. Consumers perceive that antibiotics provide quick relief and accelerate the curing process and retail pharmacy shops try to protect their retail business interests by honoring old prescriptions and self-medication for antibiotics.

The poor awareness and insufficient knowledge about antibiotics and ABR resulted in misuse of antibiotics by consumers. Mitigation efforts should focus upon increase awareness by education continuously and sustainably for the better understanding of antibiotic and ABR.

To read the entire article kindly visit the website of Pharmacy practice (Link).