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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Hospitals told to curb use of antibiotics

By Shan Juan and Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

09:51, March 09, 2012

China's top health authority issued a plan to further curb hospitals' excessive use of antibiotics on Tuesday.

The 2012 National Plan to Rectify the Clinical Application of Antibiotics is a revised version of the original plan that came into effect in 2011.

Doctors will be limited or deprived of their right to prescribe antibiotics if they are caught unjustifiably prescribing excessive amounts of antibiotics three times or more, according to the plan.

Zhao Ping, former president of the Cancer Institute & Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said he welcomed such a "harsh" regulation, which would help hospital authorities better regulate the prescription of antibiotics.

He also conceded that excessive prescription of antibiotics is quite widespread in Chinese hospitals.

According to Xiao Yonghong, an expert with the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology at Peking University, each person in China consumes on average 138 grams of antibiotics annually, almost 10 times the amount in the United States.

Currently, the rates of antibiotic prescription for inpatients and outpatients stand at 70 percent and 50 percent respectively, according to official statistics.

"In fact, 80 percent of the antibiotics used are not necessary, which drives up drug costs for both the patients and the country," he said.

Worse, this facilitates the development of germs resistant to antibiotics, which might cost lives, he warned.

This latest plan maintains the regulation set by the original one, including the standard amount of antibiotics prescribed and the qualification for prescribing antibiotics.

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