AMA backs ban on repeat prescriptions for antibiotics

10 Oct 2019

AMA president, Dr Tony Bartone, has welcomed the recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to ban repeat prescriptions on antibiotics. This measure aimed to address the increasing occurrence of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

This recommendation – which aligns with the Therapeutic Guidelines – supports antimicrobial stewardship and quality use of medicines and assists with the reduction of antimicrobial resistance. 

“It's about having the right course and the right amount of medication for the treatment necessary,” Dr Bartone said.  

“Those pack sizes are designed to be a course of treatment.”

Dr Bartone highlighted that 80 or 90 per cent of common colds are viral, to which antibiotics are totally useless, and sometimes the best treatment is no medication other than simple pain relief, and more fluids and rest. He also emphasised the importance of completing the full course of antibiotic treatment to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance.

“The course is what the lab study has shown is the number of days required to completely kill that infection. And if you leave some bugs behind by prematurely ceasing your course, well those bugs can then remultiply. And plus, it had the benefit of being exposed to that antibiotic, and they say, you know what, this time I need to develop this new gene to protect me against that new antibiotic,” Dr Bartone said.

Read the full transcript of Dr Bartone’s interview on 6PR, Breakfast with Steve and Basil, here.

AMA Position Statement: Doctor's Role in Stewardship of Health Care Resources 2016.