Overuse of an­tibi­otics is on med­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion’s radar

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Editorial -

In an ed­i­to­rial pub­lished in The Tele­gram on March 29 (“An­tibi­otic alert”), Health Min­is­ter Dr. John Hag­gie was quoted as say­ing when it comes to the need to re­duce the overuse of an­tibi­otics in this prov­ince, “I’m not aware it’s on the (New­found­land and Labrador Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion’s) radar screen.”

As pres­i­dent of the New­found­land and Labrador Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (NLMA), I can as­sure pa­tients that it is.

New­found­land and Labrador has the high­est rate of an­tibi­otic pre­scrib­ing in the coun­try, and the po­ten­tial harms as­so­ci­ated with in­ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otic use is a se­ri­ous con­cern for physi­cians in the prov­ince. The overuse of an­tibi­otics is lead­ing to a world­wide in­crease in drug-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria, which threat­ens our abil­ity to treat com­mon infectious dis­eases.

The NLMA is a part­ner of Choos­ing Wisely Canada (CWC) — a na­tional cam­paign that helps physi­cians and pa­tients en­gage in con­ver­sa­tions about un­nec­es­sary tests and treat­ments. CWC in­cor­po­rates the ad­vice of na­tional med­i­cal spe­cialty so­ci­eties to de­velop rec­om­men­da­tions for physi­cians, other health-care providers and pa­tients on when cer­tain treat­ments may not be nec­es­sary and should be ques­tioned. There are more than 20 CWC rec­om­men­da­tions on when an­tibi­otics should not be pre­scribed and when in­ap­pro­pri­ate use could ac­tu­ally re­sult in pa­tient harm.

In 2016, the NLMA en­tered into a part­ner­ship with Qual­ity of Care NL/Choos­ing Wisely NL, which is ad­min­is­tered by Memo­rial Univer­sity’s fac­ulty of medicine pro­gram. Choos­ing Wisely NL con­nects prac­tic­ing NLMA mem­bers in the prov­ince to in­for­ma­tion about their per­sonal pre­scrib­ing pat­terns and or­der­ing data, and pro­vides them with the best-prac­tice rec­om­men­da­tions from Choos­ing Wisely Canada.

As physi­cians, we want what is best for our pa­tients. We ap­pre­ci­ate that more work is needed to in­crease aware­ness about ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otic use among both pa­tients and pre­scribers. Fol­low­ing Dr. Hag­gie’s re­marks to the me­dia about his con­cerns about an­tibi­otic overuse, the NLMA wrote to the min­is­ter re­quest­ing a meet­ing to dis­cuss this mat­ter at his ear­li­est con­ve­nience.

Tack­ling this is­sue will re­quire a joint ef­fort from mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers and the NLMA is ea­ger to work with the De­part­ment of Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices to iden­tify ways we can col­lab­o­rate to ad­dress the overuse of an­tibi­otics in New­found­land and Labrador.

Dr. Lynn Dwyer, fam­ily physi­cian Pres­i­dent, New­found­land and Labrador Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion

St. John’s

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