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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 3 September 2016
6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek Australians top the list of antibiotics abuse Flora Fotoulis, medicines information pharmacist for NPS MedicineWise, explains the grave consequences of misusing antimicrobial medication NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Sir Alexander Fleming raised the alarm regarding antibiotic overuse as early as 1945, when he warned that the "public will demand [the drug and] … then will begin an era … of abuses". In 2016, there are several oncemanageable illnesses that can lead to life-threatening predicaments due to high rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Antibiotics prescriptions in Aus- tralia are eight times higher than other developed counties, while more than $250 million worth of cold, cough and flu remedies are sold every year, NPS MedicineWise says. One in five deadly golden staph infections are now antibiotic resistant and one in five of those who caught them died. From the 60 antibiotics available in Australian hospitals to treat infections, more and more fail to prevent the proliferation of previously manageable infections. The proportion of e-coli bugs that cause urinary tract infections that are multi-drug resistant rose from 4.5 per cent in 2008 to 7.2 per cent in 2010. Greece also tops the list of countries with the highest use of antimicrobial agents, presenting one of the highest antimicrobial drug resistance proportions in Europe. Since 1950, national law forbids the dispensing of antibiotics 'over the counter' without a prescription in an effort to preserve the efficacy of these classes of antimicrobials, however, it is generally accepted by the public that antibiotics can be acquired from pharmacies by direct purchase or by retrospectively providing one. In Greece, there still is no control of the actual practice and in effect the law is not implemented. In a recent study by www.eurosurveillance.org it was found that antibiotics can be very easily bought in Greek pharmacies without prescription. No pharmacist refused to dispense amoxicillin, cephalosporin or even ciprofloxacin without prescription, and none asked for any justification for the purchase. Meanwhile, people of Greek background in Australia are far more inclined than other ethnic groups to ask their doctor to prescribe them with an antibiotic for what seems to be a common cold and frequently resort to ibuprofen, paracetamol or cold and flu tablets to ‘prevent’ themselves from getting sick.
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