Pharmacy Malpractice: The rate and prevalence of dispensing high-risk prescription-only medications at community pharmacies in Saudi Arabia

Thamir M. Alshammari, Salman A. Alhindi, Ahmed M. Alrashdi, Imaan Benmerzouga, Mohamad Aljofan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To assess the compliance of community pharmacies with the regulations that prohibit the dispensing of prescription-only medications in the absence of a physician prescription in Saudi Arabia. Method A cross-sectional study was conducted in the period between October 2014 and January 2015. A list of 10 prescription-only medications were selected to be studied. 150 community pharmacies were visited across 6 major regions in Saudi Arabia to assess the prevalence of non-compliance among community pharmacies. Pharmacies were selected in random and researchers (disguised as patients) requested to purchase prescription-only medications in the absence of a prescription. Not all medications were purchased at once. Data were recorded per pharmacy, where pharmacies that approved dispense of the selected drug were scored as non-compliant and the pharmacies that rejected dispense of the selected drug were scored as compliant. Compliance rate was calculated per region per drug. Pharmacies based in governmental hospitals were visited in parallel. A total of 20 were visited. Data and statistical analysis were performed using Statistical Analyses Software (SAS 9.3). Results A total of 150 pharmacies were visited over a period of 3 months. On average, the percent approved dispense of prescription-only drugs across 6 regions in Saudi Arabia is 63% and the percent rejected dispense is 37% representing a significant non-compliance rate regarding the selected list of medications in this study. The frequency of dispense per medication across 6 major regions in Saudi Arabia is as follows: Isosorbide dinitrate (86%), Enoxaparin (82%), nitroglycerin (74%), Propranolol (73%), Verapamil (70%), Warfarin (65%), Methyldopa (64%), Ciprofloxacin (57%) and Codeine (4%). Conclusions Non-compliance of community pharmacies with the law of pharmaceutical practice is at an alarming rate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and authoritative figures must intervene to impede and combat such activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-714
Number of pages6
JournalSaudi Pharmaceutical Journal
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drug dispensing
  • Pharmacy compliance
  • Prescription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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