Dispensing of antibiotics in community pharmacy in Iraq: a qualitative study
Objective: This study aimed to understand the dispensing practice of antibiotics in community pharmacy in Iraq, in addition to explore the community pharmacists' perception about dispensing antibiotics without prescription.
Methods: A qualitative design was conducted on community pharmacists in Baghdad, Iraq. Pharmacists were selected conveniently from different gender, age group, pharmacy type and years of experience. Face-to-face semi-structure interview was used with all the pharmacists to get in-depth understanding about their dispensing practice of antibiotics without prescription in community pharmacy. The data was coded and classified for thematic analysis.
Results: This study found that dispensing of antibiotics without prescription was a common practice in community pharmacy. Pharmacists' perception towards dispensing antibiotics without prescription was associated with the medical condition, safety and efficacy of antibiotics, patients request antibiotics by name, emergency cases, regular customer, promotions from pharmaceutical companies, saving time and cost, brand medications, and poor healthcare services. In addition, there were inadequate knowledge about antibiotic resistance and lack of awareness about antibiotic stewardship leading to inappropriate dispensing practice.
Conclusions: Community pharmacists have poor perception towards dispensing antibiotics without prescription. Educational interventions about antibiotics use focusing on community pharmacists are needed. This will help to optimize the practice of dispensing of antibiotics in the community. In addition, training programs about antibiotic resistance are important to enhance pharmacists' understanding about antibiotic stewardship.
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