Counselling Patterns of Community Pharmacies when Dispensing Antibiotics in Galle DS Division, Sri Lanka
Antibiotic resistance has been identified as a significant health issue across the world. Inappropriate antibiotics prescribing by physicians, dispensing antibiotics without prescription and counseling by pharmacists, and the misuse of antibiotics by patients make them chief parties responsible for this global problem. Community pharmacists have a major responsibility to counsel the patients before dispensing antibiotics. The objectives of this study were to investigate the counselling patterns of community pharmacies when dispensing antibiotics and to examine whether the community pharmacists demand a prescription when dispensing antibiotics in Galle, Sri Lanka. This was a simulated patient study involving community pharmacists/ pharmacy assistants who work in community pharmacies in the Galle DS division (Divisional Secretary Division), Sri Lanka. Case scenarios of specific product requests (Erythromycin tablets, Ciprofloxacin tablets, Amoxicillin syrup) were presented by a simulated patient, and data were recorded after purchasing each product. Most of the pharmacists/ pharmacy assistants (72%) didn’t demand a prescription for antibiotic dispensing. About 82% of the visited pharmacies had dispensed antibiotics without a prescription. Only 14% of community pharmacies in the area had taken medical and lifestyle history of simulated patients (investigators) before dispensing. Advice or counselling regarding antibiotics were given only by 24% of the community pharmacies. Counselling patterns of community pharmacies in the area were unsatisfactory. Major issues of dispensing antibiotics and, not demanding a prescription were common. These issues need to be addressed by health authorities and policymakers to safeguard patients.