Widespread illegal sales of antibiotics in Chinese pharmacies – a nationwide cross-sectional study
Access to antibiotics without a prescription from retail pharmacies has been described as a major contributor to anti-microbial resistance (AMR) globally. In the context of high rates of AMR, the Chinese government has recently introduced strict policies regarding hospital antibiotic use, but the existing ban on antibiotic sales without prescription in retail pharmacies has not been strongly enforced. In 2016, a goal of prescription-only antibiotics by 2020 was announced. The objective of the study was to determine progress towards the 2020 goal, through estimating the proportion of retail pharmacies selling antibiotics without prescription across the three regions of mainland China.
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