Availability of antibiotics without prescription in New York City

J Urban Health. 2004 Sep;81(3):498-504. doi: 10.1093/jurban/jth133.


Misuse of antibiotics in the community has been associated with emergence of increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Although antibiotics in the United States are to be prescribed by a health care provider, the extent to which they are obtained by other means is not known. The purpose of this article is to describe a survey of the availability of nonprescription antibiotics in neighborhood independent businesses in several Manhattan, New York, neighborhoods. A survey was conducted of 101 stores in three neighborhoods--one primarily Hispanic; one primarily black, non-Hispanic; and one primarily white, non-Hispanic. Antibiotics were available in all stores in the Hispanic neighborhood (n = 34), but in none of the others (P < .001). If efforts to rationalize the use of antibiotics are to be successful, the beliefs and cultural norms of subpopulations must be considered, and interventions must be culturally relevant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Commerce
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug and Narcotic Control*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Pharmacies
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Urban Population


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents