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French people still consume too many antibiotics, despite progress

Hexagon is still one of the worst students in Europe: it is the third European country where antibiotic consumption is the highest, behind Greece and Cyprus.

Following an increase between 2014 and 2016, the consumption of antibiotics in France – even tending to decline – stabilized, but is still too high, according to an official report published on Monday, November 18, on the occasion of the World Week of Good Use of Antibiotics. It aims to warn of antimicrobial resistance (the fact that some bacteria eventually become resistant to antibiotics), which the world health authorities consider to be a major threat.

The estimate of the Public Health France agency refers to antibiotics prescribed in the city (excluding hospitals), or 93% of total consumption. It is based on two indicators: the number of doses consumed and the number of prescriptions. Antibiotic consumption in urban medicine 2018 amounted to 22.5 doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day compared with 22.7 in 2009. Based on the number of prescriptions, the report shows that consumption of antibiotics fell by 15% between 2009 and 2018. This was from 2.81 to 2.38 per 1,000 inhabitants per day.

However, France is still one of Europe's poor students. Antibiotic consumption is highest behind Greece and Cyprus. If we add city and hospital, "France is 25.3 doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day, but the European average is 19.8", explains AFP Bruno Coignard, Head of Infectious Diseases at Public Health France. Best performing country, "The Netherlands is 9.7"adds the doctor. According to the report "Medicare could save € 400 million if French consumption was the same as the Netherlands".

How do I explain this French specificity, which remains despite the recommendations? of "practices and history of the drug method that vary from country to country", replies Bruno Coignard. In France "care is based on a treatment: a patient waits for a prescription at the end" consultation, he analyzes. "Habits are hard to change"adds Dr. Gabriel Birgand. According to Bruno Coignard, "The challenge is not only to prescribe less, but better", by considering the choice of antibiotic type or "duration of treatment, which may be shorter".

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