Demand of COVID-19 medicines without prescription among community pharmacies in Jodhpur, India : findings and implications

Dutta, Siddhartha and Kaur, Rimple J. and Bhardwaj, Pankaj and Ambwan, Sneha and Godman, Brian and Jha, Pallavi A. and Sukhija, Sanchi and Venkatesh, Suman S. and Lugova, Halyna and Islam, Salequl and Charan, Jaykaran and Haque, Mainul (2022) Demand of COVID-19 medicines without prescription among community pharmacies in Jodhpur, India : findings and implications. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 11 (2). pp. 503-511. ISSN 2249-4863 (

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Background: COVID-19 pandemic led to increased self-medication of antimicrobials, vitamins, and immune boosters among the common people and consuming without prescription can lead to adverse consequences including antimicrobial resistance. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on community pharmacies in Jodhpur, India. They were inquired regarding the prescription and increased sales (<25%, 25-50%, 50-75%, or 75-100%) of various medicines (Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Ivermectin, and Vitamin C) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the relationship between requests for certain COVID-19 medications and an increase in their sale. Results: A total of 204 pharmacies took part, and 88.23% reported patients to approach without prescriptions. Most of the pharmacies revealed that <25% of patients came without prescription. The majority came for azithromycin (68%) and vitamin C (92%). Increased sales of the four targeted medications were seen by 85.92% of pharmacies compared to last year. A majority (51.5%) reported <25% increased sales of azithromycin, but no change in the sale of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. However, 39.6% reported >75% increase in vitamin C sales. Conclusion: There was an increase in the demand for COVID-19 medications without prescription. This study was unable to detect a significant increase in sales of antimicrobials, which is encouraging.