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May 8, 2013

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New regulation limits antibiotics' use for patients

Health officials say local hospitals use excessive amount of antibiotics, especially on hospitalized patients, under a new regulation announced yesterday.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission's regulation has set a detailed and strict limit on the use of antibiotics in general and specialized state-owned hospitals.

Doctors prescribing unnecessary or excessive amount of antibiotics without any legitimate reasons can face punishment and even have their licenses revoked.

The permissible use of antibiotics should not be more than 60 percent on hospitalized patients, 20 percent at outpatient departments and 40 percent in emergency units in general hospitals, according to the regulation.

There are also specific requirements set for children's hospitals, mental health centers, dental hospitals and maternity hospitals.

Wu Hong, from the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission, said Shanghai has stepped up control of antibiotics and seen a year-on-year drop in their use in recent years, but their use in domestic hospitals remains high.

But Ni Yuxing, an infection expert at Ruijin Hospital, said restricting the use of antibiotics on hospitalized patients, many of whom have undergone surgery, is difficult.

The rule states that less than 30 percent of patients who have no signs of infection before surgery should be given antibiotics as a preventative measure, while patients who plan to have surgeries for breast and thyroid-related cases do not need preventive antibiotics.

"Currently, patients waiting for such surgeries are given one-day dosage against infection, while patients who have to undergo major surgeries, and those with infection before surgery are given long-term and larger amount of antibiotics," Ni said.

Research into drug use from 2005 to 2010 in Shanghai, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Chongqing found 30 to 40 percent of medication taken was antibiotics.

Only 10 percent of patients are given antibiotics on average in the world.


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