Treatment of pediatric diarrhea: a simulated client study at private pharmacies of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India
Introduction: In low- and middle-income countries such as India, private pharmacies play an important role in medical treatments, offering advice for common illnesses such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infections. There is a need to explore the details of the dispensing practices at the private pharmacies in low- and middle-income countries.
Methodology: The present study used simulated client methodology to assess the actual dispensing practices for patients with pediatric diarrhea at private pharmacies in an urban setting of an Indian province.
Results: This study identified 164 private pharmacies (84.10%) in the study setting that engaged in the practice of dispensing prescription drugs without prescriptions. Only about 40% asked clients if they had a prescription from a doctor. The average duration of consultations at the pharmacies was 1.3 minutes (range, 0.5–6 minutes). The dispensing of drugs was not in compliance with the recommended guidelines and regulations. The most commonly dispensed drugs were antibiotics (40.24%); of these, quinolones either alone or in combination with imidazoles were the most frequently dispensed. The other commonly dispensed drugs were antimotility drugs (31.10%) and Lactobacillus acidophilus (probiotics; 23.17%). The drugs were dispensed in inappropriate doses due to the absence of indications.
Conclusions: Overuse and misuse of all these prescription drugs dispensed by pharmacies pose significant issues, such as resistance, dangerous side effects, and high costs. At the same time, the pharmacies did not dispense recommended drugs such as oral rehydration solution and zinc, which they are authorized to dispense without a prescription.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).