Community pharmacists' perspectives about reasons behind antibiotics dispensing without prescription: a qualitative study

Mansour Adam Mahmoud (Lead Author), Mohammed Aldhaeefi, Aziz Sheikh, Hisham Aljadhey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dispensing of antibiotics without prescription is a widespread practice particularly in
developing countries. This may lead to bacterial resistance, extra cost and possible adverse drug events.
Objective: To explore views, experiences and perceptions of community pharmacists about the reasons
behind antibiotics dispensing without prescription.
Methods: This was a qualitative enquiry conducted among community pharmacists working in Riyadh
city, Saudi Arabia. Interviews were conducted with the pharmacists using a semi structured interview
guide. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and then coded and analysed
independently by two researchers.
Results: A total of 16 community pharmacists were interviewed. The majority of the pharmacists have
dispensed antibiotics without prescription during their practice (14 out of 16). Indications for dispensing
antibiotics included fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, urinary tract infections, common cold and cough.
Factors contributing to the dispensing of antibiotics without prescriptions included, increasing demand
by the public, financial considerations, promotion by pharmaceutical companies, the pharmacy
management and time pressures. However, pharmacists mentioned that they did not dispense antibiotics
without prescriptions for severe cases and patients with unknown or incomplete medical history.
Conclusion: Pharmacists reported several encouraging factors to dispense antibiotics without
prescription. A combination of public education, professional training and enforcing regulations are
likely to be important in ensuring patient safety and appropriate dispensing and use of antibiotics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3792-3796
Number of pages4
JournalBiomedical Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018


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