Availability of over-the-counter drugs for arthritis in São Paulo, Brazil

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Ferraz, M. B.
Pereira, R. B.
Paiva, JGA
Atra, E.
DosSantos, J. Q.
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Seventy pharmacies located in São Paulo were randomly selected and visited. Seven researchers posed as ordinary clients presenting with a standardized complaint of symptoms according to a scenario previously defined. the client asked for medicines to relieve his/her pain or discomfort. After the seller's suggestion the client asked for 2 drugs randomly selected from a drug list containing 30 trademarked drugs commonly prescribed to arthritis patients. These drugs should be available only on prescription.In only 12.8% of the pharmacies did the seller initially suggest the client see a physician. the sellers 'prescribed' non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), vitamins, analgesics (AN) and corticosteroids (GO) in respectively 42.8, 20.0, 14.3 and 5.7% of the visits. From the drug list, the client secured 67.7% of the NSAID, 65.0% of the CO and 20.0% of the sedatives without presenting a prescription.Pharmacy sellers usually comply with the clients demands. Future studies should aim at the evaluation of interventions to reduce the availability of the over-the-counter drugs for arthritis.
Social Science & Medicine. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 42, n. 8, p. 1129-1131, 1996.