Many people from around the world experience ill health and even risk their lives because of improper antibiotic use. One of the more deadly effects of improper antibiotic use is the emergence of deadly “superbugs” — types of bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant, meaning they are not killed by even the most powerful antibiotics. A superbug infection has no cure and is potentially fatal.
To help protect consumers against the dangers of improper antibiotic use and superbugs, pharmaceutical manufacturer Unilab and drugstore chain Watsons Pharmacy are providing affordable antibiotics of guaranteed quality, educational materials and expert advice.
Lessons on improper antibiotic use
Two factors that contribute to improper antibiotic use in the Philippines are: the high cost of antibiotics, especially those produced by multinational corporations; and the mistaken understanding of many patients about the role of antibiotics in treating illness. These two factors lead to certain practices that not only risk patients’ health but also contribute to the emergence of superbugs:
There are patients who buy antibiotics even without a doctor’s prescription — and unfortunately, there are also drugstores that sell these antibiotics without requiring such a prescription. Instead of consulting a doctor, these patients rely on advice from relatives, friends or neighbors on what antibiotics to buy for their illness. Or they reuse old prescriptions. Some patients self-medicate because they can’t afford to pay for a doctor’s consultation — but at the core of these patients’ habit of self-medication is this: they mistakenly use antibiotics as a way to alleviate symptoms like body pain, fever, headache, coughs and colds.
Such symptoms are generally caused by a viral infection which cannot be treated with antibiotics. Usually, a viral infection is treated by taking enough rest, drinking lots of fluids, vitamins and supplements, lozenges and other remedies meant to ease symptoms. These remedies, rest and the body’s immune system can usually fight off and cure a viral infection.
Unfortunately, some patients do not understand the difference between a viral and a bacterial infection, so they expect to purchase antibiotics just like other over-the-counter medicine to ease symptoms — they never bother to consult a doctor and get a prescription. Antibiotics should only be bought when the illness shows symptoms of a bacterial infection. Only a doctor can determine the presence of a bacterial infection and prescribe antibiotics for it.
Scrimping and taking shortcuts on dosage
Economic factors pressure some patients to scrimp on their antibiotic dosage. They don’t buy the entire amount of antibiotics to save on money. Some can only afford to buy a day’s dose. Others stop buying the antibiotics the moment they feel better — again, because they think the purpose of antibiotics is simply to relieve symptoms. Once the symptoms stop, they think they’re already cured. They do not realize that the purpose of the antibiotic is to stop the bacterial infection — which requires taking a full dosage of the antibiotic.
Watsons and Unilab are conducting a joint campaign on antibiotics compliance. This campaign aims to protect the health of consumers through affordable high-quality antibiotics, and expert advice.
Watsons Pharmacy has been proclaimed Asia’s number one drugstore in 2010 by the Media/TNS Asia’s top brands survey. It contributes to the campaign with a two-fold effort. First, it employs a team of well-trained pharmacists who help patients with the do’s and don’ts of complying with their prescribed antibiotics. These pharmacists also suggest other medicine to help alleviate a patient’s symptoms properly. Second, Watsons is selling antibiotics in convenient compliance packs.
The antibiotic compliance packs are available exclusively at Watsons Pharmacy. They include pre-packaged oral antibiotics for the most common infections for which patients receive treatment, including community-acquired upper or lower respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, and urinary tract infections. These antibiotics are pre-packaged in amounts most commonly prescribed by doctors.
Unilab supplies the antibiotics in the compliance packs, which are sold at 40 to 60 percent lower in price compared to the same antibiotics sold by multinational brands. Unilab guarantees the quality and effectiveness of the antibiotics sold in these compliance packs. These compliance packs help consumers complete the full antibiotics dose and prevent antibiotic resistance. They also contain easy-to-understand educational materials that teach consumers about infections and the role of antibiotics in treating infections.
August 18, 2011 12:00 AM