Purchase of medications without prescription in Peru: a cross-sectional population-based study.
ABSTRACT: Background: Low availability of medicines in health services, self-medication, inadequate use of medicines, and inadequate dispensing practices in pharmacies are frequent problems in Peru. We aimed to evaluate how frequent the purchase of medications without medical prescription is in Peru, and which factors are associated with this practice. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of the 2016 ENSUSALUD national survey data. Purchase of one or more medicines that require a prescription was measured as a dichotomous variable. Crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using Poisson regressions model with robust variance to assess the association of purchasing of medicines that require prescriptions with sociodemographic factors. Results: There were 3858 participants in the dataset. The prevalence of purchasing medications without prescriptions was 47.2%. History of having previously consumed the same medication (31.6%), and the delay in receiving an appointment at health facilities (26.9%) were the main reasons to buy medications without a prescription. Regarding the recommendation of the medication purchased, the advice of the pharmacy, and remembering a previous old prescription, were the most frequent reasons (38.3%, and 25.9%, respectively). On the multivariable analysis, users that buy medications without prescription were more likely to be of aged 25-44; reside in the Jungle and Highlands regions; and self-consumption of the purchase. Individuals with Seguro Integral de Salud (Comprehensive Health Insurance) were less likely to buy medications without prescription. Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of prescription requiring medication being bought without one from pharmacies in Peru. It is necessary to include the evaluation of consumer patterns to develop strategies with the aim to regulate the consumption of prescription drugs in the Peruvian population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:During the past two decades, the internet has become an accepted way to purchase products and services. Buying medications online are no exception. Besides its benefits, several patient safety risks are linked to the purchase of medicines outside the traditional supply chain. Although thousands of internet pharmacies are accessible on the web, the actual size of the market is unknown. Currently, there is limited data available on the use of internet pharmacies, the number, and attitude of people obtaining medications and other health products from the internet. OBJECTIVE:This study aims to gather information on the frequency and attitudes of patients purchasing medications online in a nationally representative sample of outpatients. Attitudes towards main supply chain channels, perceived benefits, and disadvantages of influencing online medication purchase are evaluated. METHODS:A cross-sectional explorative study using a personally administered survey was conducted in a representative sample of Hungarian outpatients in 2018. RESULTS:A total of 1055 outpatients completed the survey (response rate 77.23%). The mean age was 45 years, and 456 (43.22%) reported having chronic health conditions. The majority (872/1055, 82.65%) of the respondents were aware that medications could be obtained online, but only 44 (4.17%) used the internet for previous medication purchases. Attitudes towards the different pharmaceutical supply chain retail channels showed significant differences (P<.001), respondents accepted retail pharmacy units as the most appropriate source of medications while rejected internet pharmacies. Respondents were asked to evaluate 9 statements regarding the potential benefits and disadvantages about the online medicine purchase, and based on the computed relative attitude rate there is a weak still significant tendency toward rejection (P<.001). Correspondence of demographic factors, internet usage behavior, and prospective online drug purchase attitude was evaluated. Respondents who use the internet more and purchase goods online will be more likely to buy medications online. Furthermore, youth and education will determine the medication purchase behavior. CONCLUSIONS:Many patients will purchase medications on the internet in the future. Currently, there is an increased risk of patients buying products from illegal sites because these dominate the global online pharmacy market. Consequently, improved patient-provider communication and promotion campaigns are needed to inform the public about the safe use of internet pharmacies, as these initiatives can directly prevent patient safety threats.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Lower availability of medicines in Nigerian public health facilities-the most affordable option for the masses-undermines global health reforms to improve access to health for all, especially the chronically ill and poor. Thus, a sizeable proportion of healthcare users, irrespective of purchasing power, buy medicines at higher costs from for-profit pharmacies. We examined user evaluation of medicine availability in public facilities and how this influences their choice of where to buy medicines in selected states-Cross River, Enugu and Oyo-in Nigeria.<h4>Methods</h4>We approached and interviewed 1711 healthcare users using a semi-structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire as they exited for-profit pharmacies after purchasing medicines. This ensured that both clients who had presented at health facilities (private/public) and those who did not were included. Information was collected on why respondents could not buy medicines at the hospitals they attended, their views of medicine availability and whether their choice of where to buy medicines is influenced by non-availability.<h4>Principal findings</h4>Respondents' mean age was 37.7±14.4 years; 52% were males, 59% were married, 82% earned ?NGN18, 000 (US$57.19) per month, and 72% were not insured. Majority (66%) had prescriptions; of this, 70% were from public facilities. Eighteen percent of all respondents indicated that all their medicines were usually available at the public facilities, most (29%), some (44%) and not always available (10%). Reasons for using for-profit pharmacies included: health workers attitudes (43%), referral by providers (43%); inadequate money to purchase all prescribed drugs (42%) and cumbersome processes for obtaining medicines.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Lower availability of medicines has serious implications for healthcare behavior, especially because of poverty. It is crucial for government to fulfill its mandate of equitable access to care for all by making medicines available and cheap through reviving and sustaining the drug revolving fund scheme and encouraging the prescription of generic drugs in all public health facilities.
Project description:Access to medicines without prescription is a major contributing factor for self-medication practices. This study was designed to examine the ratio of non-prescribed medicines sales and self-medication practices in Punjab, Pakistan. This study also evaluates the reasons for self-medication within its communities.An observational study was conducted in 272 systemically selected pharmacies to analyze medicines-related sales, with or without prescription. A cross-sectional survey was performed between June 2015 and November 2016. Consumers were interviewed about their self-medication practices.Of the pharmacies surveyed, 65.3% participated in the study. A total of 4348 medicines were purchased for self-medication by 3037 consumers (15.2% of all study participants), of which 873 (28.7%) participated in an interview. Majority (81.2%) medicine purchaser, (90.9%) interview participants, and (59.4%) drug users were male. On average, each community pharmacy sold 7.9 medicines without prescription each day, to an average of 5.5 customers. Many participants (28.9%) had matriculation in their formal education. The medicines most often sold for self-medication were analgesics and antipyretics(39.4%). More than 25% of participants reported fever symptoms and 47.8% assumed their illness was too trivial to consult a doctor. Media advertisements were the most common source of information for participants (46.7%).Many types of medicines were often sold without prescription from community pharmacies. Self-medication was common practice for a wide range of illnesses. Pakistan also needs effective implementation of policies to monitor medication sales. Public education about rational medication and limits to advertising medicine are very necessary.
Project description:Importance:Little is known about the current use of imported drugs and the factors associated with individual purchase of medications outside the US. Objective:To evaluate the proportion of the US adult population that purchases medications in other countries and the patient factors associated with the behavior. Design, Setting, and Participants:This retrospective cross-sectional study used data from the 2015-2017 National Health Interview Survey. The study sample included 61?238 individuals 18 years or older who reported use of prescribed medication by a physician or other practitioner. Data analysis was performed in November 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures:Self-reported experience of purchasing prescription drugs from countries outside the US in the past 12 months. Internet use behaviors for health care included searches for health information and filling of a prescription online. Medication-taking behaviors included skipping or delaying filling a prescription and using alternative therapies to save money. Survey design-adjusted analysis was used to estimate and compare characteristics between those who purchased medications outside the US and those did not. Multivariable logistic regression was fitted to examine the association of medication purchases with internet use and medication-taking behavior factors. Results:Among 61?238 US adults taking prescription medications (mean [SD] age, 50.5 [18.5] years; 56.5% female; 70.8% white), the estimated prevalence of purchasing of medication outside the US was 1.5% (95% CI, 1.4%-1.7%; 2.3 million US individuals). Those who purchased medications outside the US were more likely to be older (age >64 years; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.68; 95% CI, 1.24-2.29), to be from Hispanic (aOR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.23-2.35) or immigrant populations (aOR, 3.20; 95% CI, 2.44-4.20), and to have higher educational attainment (bachelor's degree; aOR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.27-2.54), lower family income (low income; aOR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.06-1.87), and lack of insurance (aOR, 3.14; 95% CI, 2.33-4.21). Data analyses indicated that online health information-seeking behavior (aOR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.33-1.98) or use of an online pharmacy (aOR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.83-2.90) was associated with a greater likelihood of medication purchases outside the US. Individuals who skipped medications (aOR, 3.86; 95% CI, 3.05-4.88) or delayed filling a prescription (aOR, 4.04, 95% CI, 3.23-5.06) also had higher odds of purchasing medication outside the US. Conclusions and Relevance:The findings suggest that patients are not using prescription purchases outside the US to meet their medication needs. However, monitoring to promote safe administration of medications imported into the US should be continued.
Project description:Introduction:Resistant strains of bacteria are rapidly emerging with increasing inappropriate use of antibiotics rendering them less efficacious. Self-purchasing of antibiotics particularly for viral infections is a key driver of inappropriate use, especially in lower- and middle-income countries. There is a particular issue in countries such as Pakistan. Consequently, there is a need to assess current rates of self-purchasing especially for reserve antibiotics to guide future policies. Aims:Assess the extent of current antibiotic sales without a prescription in urban areas of Pakistan. Methodology:A multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted in different areas of Punjab, Pakistan using Simulated Client technique. The investigators demanded different predefined antibiotics from WHO AWaRe groups without prescription. Three levels of demand were used to convince the pharmacy staff in order to dispense the antibiotic without a prescription. A data collection form was completed by simulated clients within 15?min of each visit. Results:Overall 353 pharmacies and medical stores were visited out of which 96.9% pharmacies and medical stores dispensed antibiotics without demanding a prescription (82.7% at demand level 1 and 14.2% at demand level 2), with only 3.1% of pharmacies refusing to dispense antibiotics. The most frequently dispensed antibiotic was ciprofloxacin (22.1%). Surprisingly, even the reserve group antibiotics were also dispensed without a prescription. In only 25.2% visits, pharmacy staff guided patients about the use of antibiotics, and in only 11.0% pharmacists enquired about other medication history. Conclusion:Currently, antibiotics are easily acquired without a legitimate prescription in Pakistan. There is a need for strict adherence to regulations combined with a multi-dimensional approach to enhance appropriate dispensing of antibiotics and limit any dispensing of WHO restricted antibiotics without a prescription.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Health expenditures are a major financial burden for many persons in low and middle-income countries, where individuals often lack health insurance. We estimate the effect of purchasing cardiovascular medicines on poverty in low and middle-income populations using rural and urban India as an example.<h4>Methods</h4>We created step-up treatment regimens for prevention of ischemic heart disease for the most common cardiovascular medications in India based on their cost and relative risk reduction. Cost was measured by Government of India mandated ceiling prices in rupees (Rs. 1 = $0·016) for essential medicines plus taxes. We calculated step-wise projected incidence and intensity of impoverishment due to medicine purchase. To do this we measured the resources available to individuals as daily per-capita expenditures from the latest National Sample Survey, subtracted daily medication costs, and compared this to 2014 poverty thresholds recommended by an expert group.<h4>Findings</h4>Analysis of cost-effectiveness resulted in five primary prevention drug regimens, created by progressive addition of Aspirin 75 mg, Hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg, Losartan 25 mg, and Atorvastatin 10 mg or 40mg. Daily cost from steps 1 to 5 increased from Rs. 0·13, Rs. 1.16, Rs. 3.81, Rs. 10.07, to Rs. 28.85. At baseline, 31% of rural and 27% percent of urban Indian population are poor at the designated poverty thresholds. The Rs. 28.85 regimen would be unaffordable to 81% and 58% of rural and urban people. A secondary prevention regimen with aspirin, hydrochlorothiazide, atenolol and atorvastatin could be unaffordable to 81% and 57% rural and urban people respectively. According to our estimates, 17% of the rural 32% of the urban adult population could benefit with these medications, and their out of pocket purchase could impoverish 17 million rural and 10 million urban people in India and increase respective poverty gaps by 2.9%.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Medication costs for cardiovascular disease have the potential to cause financial burden to a significant proportion of people in India. These costs increase the likelihood that patients will forego needed treatment and emphasize the need for programs to reduce the costs of medications for cardiovascular patients in India, including by expansion of prescription drug coverage.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Overuse of asthma relievers, particularly without anti-inflammatory preventers, increases asthma risks. This study aimed to identify how many reliever-only users have urgent healthcare, explore their attitudes and beliefs about asthma and its treatment, and investigate whether purchasing over-the-counter relievers was associated with worse asthma outcomes than by prescription. DESIGN AND SETTING:Cross-sectional population-based Internet survey in Australia. PARTICIPANTS:Of 2686 participants ?16 years with current asthma randomly drawn from a web-based panel, 1038 (50.7% male) used only reliever medication. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Urgent asthma-related healthcare; Asthma Control Test (ACT); patient attitudes about asthma and medications; reliever purchase (with/without prescription). RESULTS:Of 1038 reliever-only participants, 23.3% had required urgent healthcare for asthma in the previous year, and only 36.0% had a non-urgent asthma review. Those needing urgent healthcare were more likely than those without such events to be male (56.5% vs 49.0%, p=0.003) and current smokers (29.4% vs 23.3%, p=0.009). Only 30.6% had well-controlled asthma (ACT ?20) compared with 71.0% of those with no urgent healthcare (p<0.0001), and 20.8% used relievers regularly to prevent asthma symptoms (vs 5.5% of those without urgent healthcare). Those with urgent healthcare were more frustrated by their asthma and less happy with how they managed it, and they were less confident about their ability to manage worsening asthma, but just as likely as those without urgent healthcare to manage worsening asthma themselves rather than visit a doctor. Reliever-only users purchasing over-the-counter relievers were no more likely than those purchasing relievers by prescription to have uncontrolled asthma (35.9% vs 40.6%, p=0.23) but were less likely to have had a non-urgent asthma review. CONCLUSIONS:One-quarter of the reliever-only population had needed urgent asthma healthcare in the previous year, demonstrating the importance of identifying such patients. Their attitudes and beliefs suggest opportunities for targeting this population in the community.
Project description:BACKGROUND:India is the world's second largest consumer of tobacco, but tobacco cessation remains uncommon due, at least in part, to underutilization of cessation pharmacotherapy. We evaluated the availability, sales, and affordability of nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, and varenicline in the South Indian state of Kerala to understand potential reasons for underutilization. METHODS AND RESULTS:From November 2016 to April 2017, we collected data on availability, inventory, and pricing of cessation medication through a cross-sectional survey of 199 public, semiprivate (Karunya), and private pharmacies across 5 districts in Kerala using World Health Organization/Health Action International methodology. Revenue and sales data were obtained from the latest Pharmatrac medication database. We assessed affordability using individual- and household-level income and expenditure data collected from November 2014 to November 2016 through the Acute Coronary Syndrome Quality Improvement in Kerala randomized trial. Cessation medications were not available in public hospitals (0%, n=58) nor in public specialty centers (0%, n=10) including those designated to provide cessation services. At least 1 cessation medicine was available at 63% of private pharmacies (n=109) and 27% of Karunya (semiprivate) pharmacies (n=22). Among the 75 pharmacies that stocked cessation medications, 96% had nicotine replacement therapy, 28% had bupropion, and 1% had varenicline. No outlets had sufficient inventory for a patient to purchase a 12-week treatment regimen. There were an estimated 253 270 treatment regimens sold throughout India and 14 092 in Kerala in 2013 to 2014. Treatment regimens cost 1.9 to 13.0× the median amount spent on smoked tobacco and between 8% and 52% of nonsubsistence income. CONCLUSIONS:Tobacco cessation medications are unavailable in the Kerala public sector and have limited availability in the private and semiprivate sectors. When available, medications are unaffordable for most patients. Addition of tobacco cessation medication onto national and state essential medicines lists may help increase access. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02256657.
Project description:Restrictions on retail purchases of pseudoephedrine are one regulatory approach to reduce the social costs of methamphetamine production and use, but may impose costs on legitimate users of nasal decongestants. This is the first study to evaluate the costs of restricting access to medications on consumer welfare. Our objective was to measure the inconvenience cost consumers place on restrictions for cold medication purchases including identification requirements, purchase limits, over-the-counter availability, prescription requirements, and the active ingredient.We conducted a contingent choice experiment with Amazon Mechanical Turk workers that presented participants with randomized, hypothetical product prices and combinations of restrictions that reflect the range of public policies. We used a conditional logit model to calculate willingness-to-accept each restriction.Respondents' willingness-to-accept prescription requirements was $14.17 ($9.76-$18.58) and behind-the-counter restrictions was $9.68 ($7.03-$12.33) per box of pseudoephedrine product. Participants were willing to pay $4.09 ($1.66-$6.52) per box to purchase pseudoephedrine-based products over phenylephrine-based products.Restricting access to medicines as a means of reducing the social costs of non-medical use can imply large inconvenience costs for legitimate consumers. These results are relevant to discussions of retail access restrictions on other medications.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To explore the reported practice of Australian community pharmacists when dealing with medication supply requests in absence of a valid prescription. METHODS:Self-administered questionnaire was posted to 1490 randomly selected community pharmacies across all Australian states and territories. This sample was estimated to be a 20% of all Australian community pharmacies. RESULTS:Three hundred eighty five pharmacists participated in the study (response rate achieved was 27.9% (there were 111 undelivered questionnaires). Respondents indicated that they were more likely to provide medications to regular customers without a valid prescription compared to non-regular customers (p<0.0001). However, supply was also influenced by the type of prescription and the medication requested. In the case of type of prescription (Standard, Authority or Private) this relates to the complexity/probability of obtaining a valid prescription from the prescriber at a later date (i.e. supply with an anticipated prescription). Decisions to supply and/or not supply related to medication type were more complex. For some cases, including medication with potential for abuse, the practice and/or the method of supply varied significantly according to age and gender of the pharmacist, and pharmacy location (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS:Although being a regular customer does not guarantee a supply, results of this study reinforce the importance for patients having a regular pharmacy, where pharmacists were more likely to continue medication supply in cases of patients presenting without a valid prescription. We would suggest, more flexible legislation should be implemented to allow pharmacists to continue supplying of medication when obtaining a prescription is not practical.