2016 Volume 10 Issue 1 Pages 1-6
Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, leading to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality. In the European Union alone, drug-resistant bacteria are estimated to cause 25,000 deaths and cost more than US$1.5 billion every year in healthcare expenses and productivity losses. The problems of antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance are quite serious in China. In 2015, results of a study by the State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences indicated that the total antibiotic usage in China in 2013 was approximately 162,000 tons, including human use (48%) and use in animals (52%). This amount accounted for about half of the antibiotic usage worldwide. The per-capita use of antibiotics in China is more than 5 times that in Europe and the United States. These data mean that China is one of the world's leading countries with serious problems in terms of antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance. The current article analyzes the current state and harms of antibiotic misuse and causes of antibiotic resistance in China. The Government needs to pay close attention to the issue of antibiotic resistance in China and formulate a strategy at the national level. Thus, the following suggestions are offered: i) The Chinese Government should implement policies that promote antibiotic research and development; ii) Medical facilities in China should create multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) and encourage early action by MDTs to control the spread of multi-drug-resistant bacteria (MDRB); iii) An intervention in the form of health education should target patients and accompanying family members (AFM) in China. In other words, antibiotic resistance is not a personal problem but an urgent public health problem. Without urgent action, China is heading for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill. Therefore, the aforementioned proposals have been offered with the hope that policy suggestions help to limit the phenomenon of antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance in China.