Bureau plans to hit hospitals with antibiotic abuse checks

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Global Times, June 27, 2011
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Shanghai Health Bureau will inspect smaller hospitals to try to stem their abuse of antibiotics, it was announced on Sunday.

"The total amount of antibiotics used by Chinese is 10 times larger than that of the US," Liu Tingfang, director of Tsinghua University's Medical Research Center, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Antibiotics make up 40 percent of the prescribed drugs in China and 10 percent in Western countries, according to the Shanghai Adverse Drug Reaction Center. The misuse of antibiotics has undermined the global fight against infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, the World Health Organization warned earlier this year.

Starting July 1, third-tier hospitals nationwide must remove 50 types of antibiotic from their shelves of hundreds, and second-tier hospitals will be limited to 35 types, according to a Ministry of Health campaign launched in April.

Overuse plays a significant role in the emergence of resistant bacteria and leads to the emergence of superbugs for which human beings have no defense, Ni Wu, director of infectious diseases at Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Antibiotics don't work against viruses but are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some parasites.

Some 60 percent of 3,200 surveyed city residents were unaware of when to use antibiotics, according to the city's food and drug administration.

Chinese routinely take antibiotics for inappropriate sicknesses such as colds and then when a real infection comes along, antibiotics prove useless, Ni warned.

Doctors and hospitals are partly responsible as some doctors may be persuaded by pharmaceutical representatives to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics for kickbacks, Liu said. Hospitals are driven by profits to cover 92 percent of their annual budgets, as the government pays a total 8 percent.

Ni said science was losing the battle to keep up with the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

"We will enter a post-antibiotics era when the speed of developing new drugs falls far behind that of the antibiotics resistance," she said.

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