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Antibiotic abusers revealed

Thursday March 20th, 2014

Rates of antibiotic use vary massively in the countries on the fringe of the European Union, according to figures published today.

In some neighbouring countries the drugs are freely available and may be misused or very hard to get.

According to the new World Health Organisation study, the biggest users in its European region are Montenegro, Tajikistan and Turkey.

And those with least use of antibiotics are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

WHO said its study showed overuse of some wide-spectrum antibiotics together with high use of some brands.

In some countries the public can easily obtain the drugs in pharmacies, it warns.

The findings were being reported in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

WHO says some countries are already developing plans to tackle misuse of the drugs.

WHO regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab said: "Antibiotic overuse and misuse are the most important factors in creating resistance. That is why mapping consumption is the first step in identifying and tackling this growing public health problem.

"As antibiotic resistance respects no borders, the work we are doing in the non-EU part of the Region adds enormous value to existing EU data and action."

Professor Herman Goossens, of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, said: "Our results will raise awareness of inappropriate antibiotic use and will help these countries to develop quality indicators of antibiotic use."

The Lancet Infectious Diseases 20 March 2014 [abstract]

Tags: Asia | Europe | Pharmaceuticals

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