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Quality of pharmaceutical items available from drugstores in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand.


Drugstores and drug outlets are the main sources of care for the majority of Cambodian citizens because of the availability of drugs, short waiting time, and ability to control the cost of treatment. Unfortunately, no enforcement of pharmacy regulations and little consumer and drugstore personnel education contribute to a potential harmful unregulated drug market resulting in high costs and prolonged illness. No study has looked at the quality of over-the-counter drugs, which would have the highest impact on the people. In this study, we were interested in exploring the quality of commonly used pharmaceutical items available from drugstores in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, using uncoated aspirin tablets as a case study. Factors relating to quality of the drug were also examined. This study was conducted by means of drug fishing method to obtain uncoated aspirin tablet samples from 96 drugstores in Phnom Penh. The quality of the samples was examined in six aspects: percent label amount, weight variation, hardness, percent friability, disintegration time, and dissolution rate. We found that only seven (7.3%) of the total 96 samples passed all six quality criteria. Dissolution test appeared to be the most critical step in determining aspirin quality. Factors that were statistically related to the quality of the sample were type of packaging. All the drugs that passed the six criteria were in bottles. Source of the medications was also significantly related to their quality. Among seven samples that passed the test, six were from Vietnam. Our study revealed that the quality of uncoated aspirin tablets was a serious problem. The vast majority of the samples did not meet the standard requirements. Type of packaging and source of medications were related to the quality of samples. This study has important implications for the Cambodian government regarding the control of the quality of pharmaceutical items available in drugstores.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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