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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2009, Article ID 513609, 3 pages
Research Article

Over the Counter Availability of Antituberculosis Drugs in Tbilisi, Georgia in the Setting of a High Prevalence of MDR-TB

1Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
2National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Tbilisi 0101, Georgia
3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Received 1 January 2009; Accepted 14 April 2009

Academic Editor: Jonathan Mayer

Copyright © 2009 Ketevan Kobaidze et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Georgia, a country of 4.5 million people, has a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB) including drug resistant cases. Easy access and inappropriate use of anti-TB drugs are risk factors for further development of multidrug resistant (MDR)-TB. We carried out an investigation to assess the availability of over the counter anti-TB agents in pharmacies in Tbilisi. During February 2006, 15 pharmacies were randomly selected and the pharmacist at each store was interviewed. We found that all anti-TB medications stocked by these pharmacies were available and sold without a prescription. All 15 pharmacies sold isoniazid, rifampicin, and streptomycin; 13 (87%) of 15 pharmacies also sold pyrazinamide, ethambutol. Second line anti-TB drugs such as amikacin and kanamycin (injectable agents) and older fluoroquinolones (ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin) were available at 13 pharmacies while newer generation fluoroquinolones were less available(3 sold leovofloxacin, none sold moxifloxacin). The ease access and availability of anti-TB agents is of a great concern given the high prevalence of TB including MDR-TB in Georgia. The potential for misuse of these anti-TB drugs can lead to the development of further drug resistance. These drugs should only be available by prescription in order to reduce the chance of amplifying drug resistance.