Antibiotic use over the top

Australia’s first Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy will address the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics because of the rise of resistance in disease-causing bacteria.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, parasites and other disease-causing organisms become resistant to the medicines used to treat the infections they cause.
In 2013, more than 29 million prescriptions for antibiotics were supplied under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS to more than 10 million patients or 45 per cent of all  Australians.

“The over and misuse of antibiotics has been identified as a significant contributor to the emergence of resistant bacteria,” Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley said.

“The new national approach focuses on measures that will prevent disease-causing bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics as well as driving down the inappropriate use of antibiotics. This strategy is not about removing access but about providing guidance to using them in the most effective way.”

 A recent survey showed 65 per cent of Australians believed antibiotics would help them recover from a cold or flu more quickly, one-in-five people expect antibiotics for colds and flu and nearly 60 per cent    of GPs surveyed would prescribe antibiotics to meet patient demands. Australia’s consumption of antibiotics is one of the highest among developed countries and well above the OECD average.