Lack of regulation over antibiotic prescription and dispensation: A prospective cohort in a community setting

J Infect Prev. 2021 Nov;22(6):289-292. doi: 10.1177/17571774211033347. Epub 2021 Aug 28.


Background: The emergence of bacterial resistance caused health authorities to attempt to implement strict regulations for rational antibiotic prescription. However, supervision is often neglected in low- and middle-income countries, leading to inappropriate administration of antibiotics. The objective of our study is to highlight the lack of monitoring in the community setting of a middle-income country.

Material and methods: We asked 68 patients presenting to an infectious diseases consultation office to report the antibiotic courses they had taken in the three months preceding their visit. We assessed for treatment indication, molecule choice, dosing and duration, as well as microbial cultures, demographics and specialty of the prescriber.

Results: Among the 68 patients included in our study, we counted a total of 95 outpatient antibiotic courses, mostly composed of quinolones (36%), followed by amoxicillin-clavulanate (21%). The prescriber was most commonly a primary care physician, but we reported several cases of auto-medication and dispensation of antibiotics by pharmacists. Only 30% of cases had true indications for antibiotics.

Conclusion: In sum, our results indicate an evident lack of regulation over the administration of antibiotics. This easy accessibility needs to be promptly addressed as we run the risk of inevitable bacterial resistance.

Keywords: Antibiotics; bacterial resistance; infectious diseases; over-the-counter; prescription.