Objectives: To evaluate patterns of dispensing of medicines from private
community pharmacies in Tamilnadu and to identify and
analyze problems in medicine supply or dispensing toward its rational use.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in two towns of Tamilnadu,
India between July 10 and October 25, 2009. Medicines
dispensed from 24 randomly selected pharmacies, each from a different area of
two towns were investigated. Two 2 hour study visits
were made. Data were collected by observations and interviews with pharmacists
or drug retailers.
Results: A total of 1160 medicines were dispensed; 44.2% on a doctors
prescription and the remaining over the counter (26.9%
on request by clients themselves and 28.9% on recommendations from pharmacists).
Anti-infective agents were the most commonly
dispensed (20.6% of all items), followed by medicines acting on the
gastrointestinal system (18.2%), vitamins and nutritional
supplements (10.9%), analgesics and antipyretics (10.5%). More than
three-quarters of the anti-infective agents (n=188; 78.7%) were
provided over the counter. The study indicates that 61.2% of prescription-only
medicines were dispensed over the counter.
Conclusions: Extensive supply of medicines (both prescription-only and over the
counter) from private pharmacies, including those
used for serious illnesses, has been observed. The study shows trends toward
inappropriate dispensing. Educational and managerial
interventions to improve dispensers’ knowledge, professional behavior and
attitudes are required to improve the situation - Southern Med Review Vol 3
Issue 2 Oct 2010