A report highlighting that some 30% of prescriptions were deemed to be inappropriate highlights the need for vigilance in prescribing antibiotics, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

The results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing (NAP) survey, released today, shows that inappropriate use was mainly related to unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials and incorrect duration of treatment.

National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, says PSA is a strong advocate for action to combat antimicrobial resistance and the NAP report underscores the need for such action.

“Overall, 30% of prescriptions were deemed to be inappropriate and this inappropriate use was mainly related to unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials and incorrect duration of treatment,” he says.

“Another area of concern is the report found inappropriate prescribing was very common for patients with acute exacerbation of COPD, for which 46% of prescriptions were noncompliant with guidelines.

“Of great concern is the finding that surgical prophylaxis was the highest indication for antimicrobial use and was given for more than 24 hours in 41.5% of cases. The best practice standard is less than 5%.”

Demarte says a positive from the report is that the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care will consider developing a Clinical Care Standard for antimicrobial use in surgical prophylaxis, as it was the highest indication for antibiotic use. The commission will also consider appropriate action with regard to COPD.

“The inappropriate use of antibiotics only adds to the problem of antimicrobial resistance,” he says.

The Australian Government earlier this year announced a new strategy to reduce antimicrobial resistance following release of data showing Australia’s consumption of antibiotics is among the highest in the developed world with more than 29 million prescriptions for antibiotics supplied to more than 10 million patients—or 45% of the population—in 2013.

“The NAP report reinforces the need for that strategy.

“PSA has long advocated for action in this area and this year joined with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to press the International Pharmaceutical Federation, the global body representing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, to take action on antimicrobial resistance,”  Demarte says.

“As a result of this advocacy, FIP is developing a briefing document on the role of pharmacists in AMR, ready for its annual congress in Germany later this year.”