Objective: To examine the inappropriate use of antimicrobials by investigating (1) actual utilization pattern and retail sales and (2)
antimicrobial resistant information provided by health professionals in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Methods: We investigated antimicrobial use in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by surveying 619 consenting customers who attended 250
randomly chosen pharmacies in December 2006. Pharmacy staff were also interviewed about antimicrobials purchased. In January
2007, we surveyed 117 consenting Ulaanbaatar medical doctors from seven local hospitals about their perceptions of treatment failure
due to antimicrobial resistance.
Results: Among 619 pharmacy customers, 48% of them had bought at least one type of antimicrobial medicine and, of these,
42% had a prescription to purchase antimicrobials. On average, 67% of the customers reported that a pharmacy worker had given
them information regarding the dose and timing at which the medicine should be used but only 9% reported that they had been
given information regarding possible adverse effects. The survey of medical doctors suggested that some antibiotics had become less
effective clinically between 2001 and 2006.
Conclusion: The study shows that less than half of all customers who purchased an antibiotic at a pharmacy had a prescription. This
shows that antimicrobials can be readily purchased without a prescription despite the existence of laws making such practices illegal.
There is a need to establish a vigilant drug regulatory authority to promote enforcement and regulation of medicines in Mongolia. To
create awareness regarding the dangers of antimicrobial resistance, educational campaigns for consumers are also necessary.