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Blame game won’t solve antibiotic resistance problem: advocates

It’s time to stop the blame game and start taking antibiotic resistance seriously.

NPS MedicineWise issued this warning for World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Medical adviser and GP Dr Jeannie Yoo said antibiotics are a precious – and limited – resource.

“Rather than place the blame with any individual or group, it’s important to acknowledge that slowing the march of antibiotic resistance is a shared responsibility amongst both consumers and health professionals,” she said.

In 2015, around 45 per cent of Australians were prescribed at least one course of antibiotics – many of these, NPS MedicineWise said, were unnecessary.

Despite antibiotics not being effective against common coughs, colds and flu, antibiotics are being prescribed for these conditions at up to nine times the recommended rate, the group said.

It also pointed to a report published in October 2018 by Public Health England that highlighted how more than 3 million common medical procedures, such as caesarean sections and hip replacements, could become life-threatening without antibiotics.

“We are all part of the problem,” Yoo said, “and this means we are all part of the solution, too. Consumers and health professionals alike can take steps to change the way we use antibiotics, and through this reduce antibiotic resistance.

“It’s time to take antibiotic resistance seriously.”

NPS MedicineWise is urging people who seek medical care for their illness to go to their health professional with an open mind and without the expectation that they will necessarily need antibiotics.

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