Why Are U.K. Doctors Overprescribing Antibiotics?

Fact checked by The People's Voice Community

Many doctors in the United Kingdom are being called out for over-prescribing antibiotics to their patients.  While the wonder-drugs have been extremely effective over the past century at curing many infections, there is a dark truth lurking behind “over-prescribing”.

The BBC explains: There is universal consensus that the very basis of modern medicine is under threat due to rising numbers of infections that are resistant to drugs. 

The “antibiotic apocalypse” not only means that long-forgotten infections could kill again, but jeopardises procedures including surgery and chemotherapy. 

Using antibiotics inappropriately for sore throats and colds increases the risk of resistance. Yet the number of prescriptions continues to rise.

Professor Mark Baker of The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said that over 10 million antibiotic prescriptions a year are unnecessary.

A leading NHS figure, Baker says “hazardous” and “soft touch” doctors should be disciplined for prescribing way to many of the drugs, and that regulators need to immediately deal with the doctors who continue to do so.

“Pushy Patients and Antibiotics”

The belief is that a combination of “pushy patients” and doctors not informing their patients of when an antibiotic is truly needed is partly to blame.

The Independent reports:

Baker warns that “the loss of power of antibiotics threatens the whole basis of modern medicine.”

The new guidance will target “soft touch” GPs who, under pressure from patients, prescribe antibiotics for illnesses such as viral infections that do not benefit from antimicrobial drugs designed to combat bacterial and fungal diseases.

Nice said that the medical profession as well as patients need realise that the continuing rise in antibiotic prescriptions needs to be reined-in by concentrating on the “sensible use” of antimicrobial drugs.

“We hope that by publishing these guidelines it will become more difficult to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately,” said Professor Baker.

Behind the news stories, however, we must ask ourselves: why are doctors so willing to create, as Baker puts it, a “Antibiotic Apocalypse”?  Is there more to the headlines?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Royce Christyn
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