Govt tries to head off feared superbug

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"There are many problems with the clinical use of antibiotics in our hospitals," Xinhua News Agency quoted Ma as saying on Wednesday.

"The high frequency of antibiotics use and the large doses prescribed will likely cause bacteria to develop resistance."

Xiao said: "The primary consideration of doctors who prescribe antibiotic drugs is to protect themselves from being blamed for delaying treatment in case of a doctor-patient dispute."

Some patients wrongly believe that expensive antibiotics equate to good treatment, he added.

But he also attributed the fault on the fact that hospitals rely on selling medicine to make their income.

"Antibiotic drugs contribute 20 to 30 percent of a hospital's drug income," he said. "Antibiotics are so widely used because it is relatively safer than overusing other drugs, say, anticancer drugs."

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