Antibiotic use drops - but French are still hooked

Study reveals France is one of Europe's top three countries for antibiotic use

18 November 2019
By Connexion journalist

The French are slowly weaning themselves off antibiotics - but remain one of the top three countries in Europe for consumption, according to a report.

The agence Santé publique France study, published to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, said that antibiotic use in France had 'stabilised' in recent years, and had dropped from 22.7 doses per 1,000 residents per day in 2009 to 22.5 doses in 2018.

The calculations, based on the number of prescriptions written out by GPs based in the country's cities and the doses they ordered, showed a 15% drop in antibiotic consumption in the last decade. The average dose size has fallen  over the same period.

Including hospitals, that figure rises to 25.3 doses per day per 1,000 inhabitants, putting France third in the European antibiotic use list, behing only Greece and Cyprus, the report said.

The European average is 19.8 doses, while Netherlands residents are the most 'antibiotic resistant' nation - at just 9.7 doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day.

France's excessive antibiotic use costs the healthcare system an €400million a year more than it would if the country's patients were treated in the same way as those in Netherlands, the report said.

Bruno Coignard, Director of Infectious Diseases at Public Health France, told AFP, "the challenge is not only to prescribe less, but better", and called on doctors to consider the choice of antibiotics and "the duration of treatment, which can be shorter".

World Antibiotic Awareness Week, organised by the World Health Organisation aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and encourage best practice among the general public, health workers and policy makers to guard against rising antibiotic resistance, considered a major public health threat by global health authorities.

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