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August 1, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

New rules will restrict use of antibiotics

LOCAL people won't be given antibiotics for colds so easily starting today, as a new national rule and its detailed local guidance take effect to strictly regulate doctors' prescribing and use of antibiotics, said the Shanghai Health Bureau.

The rules are meant to curb abuse of antibiotics, which too often are used because hospitals and doctors seek to boost income and the public demands them, officials said.

Chinese patients often have a blind faith in the drugs, and order antibiotics like ordering from a menu.

Abuse of antibiotics can cause many adverse reactions and the rise of dangerous germs with drug resistance, doctors said.

"Many patients with colds consider antibiotics is a cure and require doctors to prescribe antibiotics, which is also stored like a routine cold drug at home," said Dr Yu Zhuowei from Huadong Hospital.

"Normally, an adult catches cold twice to four times a year and children four to eight times. About 70 to 80 percent of colds are caused by viral infection, which don't need antibiotics."

Under the rule, such requests will be refused. Doctors who prescribe unnecessarily expensive antibiotics or give antibiotics without strictly following the guidance can lose their right to prescribe medicine and even be suspended from clinical practice up to one year if their actions cause serious problems.

Antibiotics are divided into three categories - unrestricted, restricted and special management according to the seriousness of adverse reactions and the price.

The third category are antibiotics under a higher level of scrutiny.

"This measure is to curb the abuse of antibiotics in hospitals, which is contributing to rising drug resistance, and should also help lower patients' medical bills," said Song Guofan from Shanghai Health Bureau.

According to a three-year study launched by the Shanghai Clinical Center of Drug Adverse Reaction Monitoring at over 40 local hospitals, expenses on antibiotics ranked No. 1 among all medicines and account for one third of the bills.

Over 40 percent of local adverse reactions were related to antibiotics, the most reported type in the city.

In China, bacteria have developed resistance to 70 to 80 percent of antibiotics, leading doctors to prescribe stronger antibiotics, creating a vicious circle, professionals said.


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