Why you could find it harder to get antibiotics

Sick Aussies could find it harder to get antibiotics repeats under radical changes being considered to doctors' prescription rules as part of a bid to tackle superbugs.

The Australian reports the Department of Health is currently considering changes to regulation as fears mount about the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, particularly in hospitals and aged-care homes.

New regulation is being considered to tackle the spread of superbugs. Picture: Supplied
New regulation is being considered to tackle the spread of superbugs. Picture: Supplied

It comes as a new report from the Antimicro­bial Use and Resistance in Australia surveillance system shows there are concerns that too many doctors are still prescribing antibiotics inappropriately.

The federal government has already ordered reviews of regulations which could be used to slow the spread of superbugs.

The Australian reports bureaucrats are also pushing for a 20-year antimicrobial resistance strategy to deal with the problem, which would include shorter action plans tied to government budgets.

The new rules could make it harder for sick Australians to get a second round of antibiotics. Picture: NPS
The new rules could make it harder for sick Australians to get a second round of antibiotics. Picture: NPS

A consultation paper for the next strategy reportedly highlights the need for tougher regulation and better prescription practices outside hospitals.

"There is a need to map the current regulatory framework against the antimicrobial supply chain and antimicrobial use (and superbug) trends in human and animal health to identify areas where regulation could be applied or streamlined to support efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance," the paper states.

The strategy will go before state and federal ministers for approval at an upcoming Council of Australian Governments.

Read more at The Australian