Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Med Anthropol Q. 2010 Mar;24(1):85-107.

Nonprescription antibiotic therapy: cultural models on both sides of the counter and both sides of the border.

Author information

  • 1School of Human Evolution and Social Change Arizona State University, USA.


Antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat exacerbated by medically unwarranted or improper antibiotic use. Pharmacy counters at the U.S.-Mexico border provide an example of where lay decisions to use antibiotics in ways considered "risky" may be initiated and negotiated. We test how cultural and public health knowledge of antibiotics is distributed among pharmacy staff, local Mexican clients, and U.S. medical tourists in the bordertown of Nogales using a cultural consensus tool. We find that shared cultural models across these groups include public health statements; however, other shared statements are likely to reinforce antibiotic sales at pharmacy counters by those on both sides of the purchase as economic, rather than therapeutic, encounters. From a public health perspective, border pharmacy counters are not a location where increased "safe" knowledge about antibiotic use is being transmitted. However, we do find a positive relationship between "safe" knowledge and reductions in risky behavior.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center