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J Urban Health. 2004 Sep;81(3):498-504.

Availability of antibiotics without prescription in New York City.

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  • 1Center for Evidence-Based Practice, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY, USA. Ell23@columbia.edu

Abstract

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.

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