WHO key access antibiotics price, availability and affordability in private sector pharmacies in Pakistan

Zikria Saleem, Hamid Saeed, Zunaira Akbar, Amna Saeed, Saleha Khalid, Laiba Farrukh, Aleena Irfan, Azka Anam, Mohammad Azmi Hassali, Huma Rasheed, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Poor availability and unaffordability of key access antibiotics may increase antimicrobial resistance in the community by promoting inappropriate antibiotic selection and abridged therapy compliance.Objective: To check the prices, availability, and affordability of the World Health Organization (WHO) key access antibiotics in private sector pharmacies of Lahore, Pakistan.Methodology: A survey of WHO key access antibiotics from WHO essential medicine list 2017 was conducted in private sector pharmacies of 4 different regions of Lahore employing adapted WHO/HAI methodology. The comparison of prices and availability between originator brands (OB) and lowest price generics (LPG) were conducted followed by the effect of medicine price differences on patient’s affordability. The data were analyzed using a preprogrammed WHO Microsoft excel workbook.Results: The mean availability of OB products was 45.20% and the availability of LPGs was 40.40%. The OBs of co-amoxiclav, clarithromycin and metronidazole and LPGs of azithromycin and ciprofloxacin were easily available (100%) in all private sector pharmacies. Whereas, antibiotics like chloramphenicol, cloxacillin, nitrofurantoin, spectinomycin, and cefazolin were totally unavailable in all the surveyed pharmacies. The OBs and LPGs with high MPRs were ceftriaxone (OB; 15.31, LPG; 6.38) and ciprofloxacin (OB; 12.42, LPG; 5.77). The median of brand premium obtained was 38.7%, which varied between the lowest brand premium of 3.97% for metronidazole and highest for ceftriaxone i.e. 140%. The cost of standard treatment was 0.5 day’s wage (median) if using OB and 0.4 day’s wage (median) for LPG, for a lowest paid unskilled government worker. Treatment with OB and LPG was unaffordable for ciprofloxacin (OB; 2.4, LPG; 1.1) & cefotaxime (OB; 12.7, LPG; 8.1).Conclusion: There is dire need to properly implement price control policies to better regulate fragile antibiotic supply system so that the availability of both OB and LPG of key access antibiotics should be increased. The prices could be reduced by improving purchasing efficiency, excluding taxes and regulating mark-ups. This could increase the affordability of patients to complete their antibiotic therapy with subsequent reduction in antimicrobial resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages10
JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'WHO key access antibiotics price, availability and affordability in private sector pharmacies in Pakistan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this