DOCTORS are over-prescribing antibiotics, a watchdog investigation has discovered.
Consumer group UFC-Que Choisir found 52 per cent of doctors automatically prescribed antibiotics for medical cases that did not merit them.
It sent patients to visit the doctor claiming symptoms of a sore throat, which they believed would lead to tonsillitis.
The group said that, despite the fact that most cases of tonsillitis are viral, something that can be detected quickly with a free test available at the doctor's, 52 per cent of GPs prescribed antibiotics without any test.
One GP withdrew the prescription after the patient expressed doubts over its necessity, but on average patients were given between two to three different medicines, including corticosteroids that the watchdog says are unsuitable for a sore throat.
According to the UFC-Que Choisir magazine, nine out of ten consultations result in a prescription for drugs, making the French one of the highest drugs users in Europe.
The use of antibiotics in the country has risen by four per cent each year since 2007. UFC-Que Choisir says the use of the drugs in France is 40 per cent above most European countries.
Over-prescription raises the threat of new resistant bacteria and diseases.
Maria Brzostowska - Fotolia.com