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Overuse of antibiotics leads to drug resistance

Increased resistance to drugs is often the result of frequent antibiotic use. As antibiotics become more prevalent in society, we have seen the emergence of more drug resistant bacteria, which is becoming a major threat to public health globally.
The emergence of drug resistant bacteria is largely due to patients over- or mis-using antibiotics. The use of out-of-date antibiotic medicine and fake or substandard medicines is also a problem.
About 50 percent of people worldwide purchase antibiotics at street pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription and for mild infections that often don’t require treatment.


According to a recent national survey, about 50 percent of the Lao population buys medicine without consulting a doctor. Persuading people to see a medical professional when they are ill is problematic, particularly for poor people who can barely afford medicine let alone the cost of a visit to the doctor. 
Treating drug resistant infections is placing an additional burden on public healthcare systems worldwide. In the US alone, the government spends about US$7 billion a year to treat people suffering from drug resistant infections. 
The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 440,000 new drug-resistant TB cases occur annually in 58 countries. The fight against malaria is also being hampered by a growing resistance to the drug artemisinin. Treatment of the sexually-transmitted infection gonorrhoea is another example of an infection being compromised by a growing resistance to antibiotic treatment.
Laos’ Ministry of Health adopted a policy aimed at curbing drug resistant diseases in 1993, revising it in 2003. Various laws and regulations on drug management support this policy.
The ministry’s medical policies focus on providing affordable access to basic medicines across the entire population, particularly for people living in poor and remote areas. All medicines should be good quality, safe and effective.
The Centre of Information and Education for Health advises people to use antibiotics only according to a doctor’s instructions and to take the full course prescribed even if the symptoms improve. People are advised not to re-use antibiotics without medical advice or to pass them on to other people. Antibiotics should only be used with the correct medical prescription.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 18, 2017)

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