Overmedication and the abuse of antibiotics is not just a problem in the West, but increasingly rearing its ugly head in urban China too. A new national law unveiled today aims to crack down on antibiotic overuse, a problem that healthcare professionals say needs to be looked at because expenses on antibiotics now account for a third of all medical bills (which is way too much), and bacteria here has already developed resistance to 70-80% of antibiotics.
Antibiotics are now overprescribed, says Shanghai Daily, because local hospitals use it as an easy means of boosting income, and because uninformed patients think of it as a magic cure-it-all.
Here’s what the new rule means, according to the Daily:
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.