BHB Newsletter

Dispenser survey shows favorable opinions of the Government’s initiative to red-label antibiotic packaging

Private medicine shops are one of the largest providers of medicines to consumers in Bangladesh, and prescription-only medicines are often sold without prescriptions. In November-December 2021, DGDA collaborated with the World Health Organization Bangladesh and Fleming Fund to conduct a baseline survey on the level of awareness about antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and their impacts on self-medication in Bangladesh. Conducted in 8 divisions of Bangladesh among 427 medicine shops, the survey showed that 67.3% of respondents had insufficient knowledge of antibiotics and dispensing antibiotics without prescriptions from registered physicians. In response, the DGDA began enforcing a directive for pharmaceutical manufacturers to add red-labeled AMR warnings to antibiotic strips and packages before marketing. A few months later, as part of BHB’s Facebook campaign on AMR, it launched a short online survey over two weeks to gather feedback from medicine dispensers on this new government directive. Of 302 respondents. 95.7% were aware of the DGDA antibiotic red-labeling directive, and red-labeled antibiotics were available for dispensing at 97.4% of the medicine shops. Almost all of them (95.4%) advise their clients not to use antibiotics without a prescription from a registered physician. About three-quarters (77.8%) of the respondents thought the initiative had produced positive results; in general, this DGDA initiative was appreciated as a bold steps to curb the irrational use of antibiotics in Bangladesh and to raise consumer awareness of AMR.