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Saudi Arabia, May 10, 2018

After years of poor supervision and failure to implement the regulations governing pharmacies, the Ministry of Health has finally set up undercover teams to crack down on the violators. The undercover team members pose as patients and try to buy drugs, especially antibiotics without prescription to catch the violating pharmacists. In addition, the teams are tasked with checking records in pharmacies selling drugs with prescriptions.

A field tour conducted by Al-Watan Arabic daily on a number of pharmacies in the capital Riyadh revealed the pharmacists' commitment not to sell antibiotics without a prescription. They confirmed that they received warnings from the Ministry of Health. Pharmacists in commercial shops in different neighborhoods in Riyadh refused to sell antibiotics to the newspaper reporter who disguised himself as a patient trying to buy antibiotics without prescriptions.

A number of pharmacists confirmed that the situation is no longer as it was in the past, and there are strict instructions from the concerned parties not to sell antibiotics without a prescription, pointing out that the decline in demand is large, estimated at about 70%.

The pharmacists pointed out that this decision benefits many citizens because several patients are used to taking antibiotics without consulting a doctor.

The teams are reviewing records of the sales of the bio-compatibility and the tax recorded and comparing them with the prescriptions received.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health has warned those selling antibiotics without a prescription. It has stressed that this is a violation punishable with a fine of up to SR100,000. According to an awareness bulletin from Saudi Food and Drug Administration, antibiotics are one of the pharmaceutical groups used to eliminate bacteria. They work either by eliminating them directly or by stopping their growth or weakening them in order to penetrate the body's immune system.

The agency pointed out that most infectious diseases caused by two types of bacteria: bacteria or viruses, indicating that the antibiotics treat the bacterial infection, but does not treat viral infections such as cold, flu and most cases of a sore throat.

What is antibiotic resistance?

It is the resistance of bacteria to an antiviral drug that once eliminated it. The bacteria have the ability to withstand the antimicrobial drugs, which leads to invalidation of the efficacy of treatments and the persistence of infection and the possibility of it becoming contagious. This resistance occurs as a result of the use or misuse of antiviral drugs, which appears when the bacteria are germinated or when a gene acquires resistance.