Number of Prescribed Antibiotics Has Fallen for the First Time in England

Doctors in England have prescribed 2.2 million less antibiotics between 2014 to 2015. Data from Public Health England has shown a significant reduction of 40.7 million to 38.5.

A report by the ‘English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance’ (ESPAUR) stated the 4.3 percent decline in antibiotic prescriptions has been noted to be the first time a reduction in antibiotic use has been seen across the entire healthcare system.

Action was taken due to the ongoing Inappropriate use of antibiotics, such a taking them for viruses like colds and flu, which in turn encouraged bacterial resistance which has already led to no effective medicines for some diseases, warned experts.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE said: “This new data published by PHE shows that our attitudes are changing for the better. Now we must work hard to maintain this momentum.”

NICE is currently seeking comments on proposed ‘management of common infections’ guidelines. These strategies will provide evidence-based advice on how common infections can be managed, with the purpose of tackling antibiotic resistance.

“Establishing better ways of using our current antibiotics is vital, and this will be informed by new NICE guidance on managing common infections”, Professor Leng added.

The news comes on European Antibiotic Awareness Day. In a statement released to coincide with the day, The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the European Patients Forum jointly called on the European Commission and national governments to step up the fight against drug-resistant infections in the follow-up EU Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance announced for 2017. The EU has a vital role to play in protecting health security in Europe and empowering patients to be active in stopping superbugs.

EPHA Secretary-General Nina Renshaw said: “Our worst fears about a return to the dark ages of medicines are rapidly being realised. The previous EU AMR Action Plan 2011-2016 proved insufficient to avert the health crisis posed by drug-resistant infections. Making a new Action Plan which is up to the task must be amongst President Juncker’s top priorities. Coordination at European level is essential to ensure that every country, every hospital, every prescriber, every farmer is doing their bit to protect patients everywhere by stopping the spread of superbugs.”


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