GENEVA – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on the other day the first global report on the consumption of antibiotics for human health, a special warning against the dangers of overuse of antibiotics.
The report, collecting data on consumption of antibiotics from 65 countries and regions, found a large difference in consumption rates between countries that ranged from around four prescribed daily doses (DDD) per 1000 population per day to more than 64 DDD, indicating that some countries may use excessive antibiotics while others may not have sufficient access to these life-saving medicines.
In the WHO List of Essential Medicine Models, antibiotic drugs have been categorized into three types, including the "Access" category for the treatment of common infections; the "Watch" category that must be used with caution because of the high potential for causing antimicrobial resistance and / or side effects; and the "Reserve" category which should only be used as the last antibiotic.
The report found that in 49 countries, the Access category represented more than 50 percent of antibiotic consumption, while the use of Watch categories ranged from less than 20 percent of total antibiotic consumption in some countries to more than 50 percent in other countries.
As for drugs in the Reserve category, although they account for less than two percent of total antibiotic consumption in most high-income countries, they have not been reported by most low and middle income countries, suggesting that some countries may not have access. for these drugs that are needed for the treatment of complex multi-drug resistant infections.
According to Suzanne Hill, director of the Department of Essential Medicine and Health Products at WHO, overuse and abuse of antibiotics is a major cause of antimicrobial resistance. In addition to excessive antibiotic use, drug-resistant infections can also be caused by poor access to antimicrobials, the report warned. In many low and middle income countries, where high mortality rates from infectious diseases and low levels of antibiotic use are observed, resistance can occur when people cannot buy complete treatment or only have access to substandard or counterfeit medicines.
WHO plans to integrate antimicrobial consumption data into the Global Antiinficrobial Resistance Surveillance IT System platform to provide reliable data on antibiotic consumption and resistance. This will help countries raise awareness of appropriate antimicrobial use, inform policy and regulatory changes to optimize use, and increase procurement and supply of medicines.