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Antibiotics, Pharmacy access, Guatemala, Medication availability

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology


Widespread availability of antibiotics without prescription potentially facilitates overuse and contributes to selection pressure for antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Prior to this study, anecdotal observations in Guatemala identified corner stores as primary antibiotic dispensaries, where people purchase antibiotics without prescriptions. We carried out a cross sectional study to document the number and types of antibiotics available in corner stores, in four study areas in Guatemala. A total of 443 corner stores were surveyed, of which 295 (67%) sold antibiotics. The most commonly available antibiotics were amoxicillin, found in 246/295 (83%) stores, and tetracycline, found in 195/295 (66%) stores. Over the counter sales result from laissez-faire enforcement of antibiotic dispensing regulations in Guatemala combined with patient demand. This study serves as a baseline to document changes in the availability of antibiotics in informal establishments in light of new pharmacy regulations for antibiotic dispensing, which were adopted after this study was completed.

Publication Statement

This article was originally published as:

Moreno, P., Cerón, A., Sosa, K., Morales, M., Grajeda, L.M., Lopez M.R., et al. (2020). Availability of over-the-counter antibiotics in Guatemalan corner stores. PLoS ONE, 15(9): e0239873. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239873

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.