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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Jun;57(3):221-7.

The quality of public and private pharmacy practices. A cross sectional study in the Savannakhet province, Lao PDR.

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  • 1Food and Drug Department, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Lao PDR.



The aim was to study the practices of public and private pharmacies in the Savannakhet province, Lao PDR, in relation to defined aspects of good pharmacy practice (GPP) and rational use of drugs (RUD).


The study design was cross-sectional using structured interviews and observations. A total of 105 drug sellers (31% and 4% had pharmacy education at public and private pharmacies, respectively) were interviewed, and the pharmacies were inspected. In addition, 576 customers were interviewed immediately after the drug transaction and all their drug purchases were recorded. Facility, patient-care and prescribing indicators covering aspects of GPP and RUD were used to measure and compare the quality of services of the pharmacies.


The results showed that public pharmacies differed significantly from private pharmacies, with lower mean scores for availability of essential drugs (5.1 vs 6.4), 95% confidence interval (CI -2.23, -0.34) and essential materials (5.6 vs 6.9, 95% CI -2.40, -0.20), and with a higher percentage of antibiotics dispensed (34% vs 24%, P<0.02), as well as more injections (31% vs 7%, P < 0.001) and drugs per customer (2.4 vs 1.4, 95% CI 0.84, 1.16). More drug purchases were decided by health workers at public pharmacies than at private pharmacies (92% vs 16%). At public pharmacies, significantly more drugs were prescribed from the National Essential Drug List (76% vs 56%, P=0.004), and more drugs had an international non-proprietary name (67% vs 35%, P<0.001). There was no significant difference regarding order in the pharmacy, oral information and drugs adequately labelled at the public pharmacies compared with the private pharmacies.


In spite of the differences shown, both public and private pharmacies performed suboptimally in relation to several aspects of GPP and RUD. The lack of essential drugs, essential materials, information on drug use and adequate drug labelling all contribute to irrational use of drugs. Interventions are needed to improve practice and drug use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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