7% of antibiotics in the EU are taken without prescription

A study published today on antimicrobial resistance and the causes of non-prudent use of antibiotics carried out by Nivel (NL) as part of the EU-funded project ARNA, estimates that 7% of antibiotics taken in the EU are taken without a prescription. The highest rates of non-prescription use of antibiotics are in Romania (20%) and Greece (16%) with high rates also found in Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain. Over the counter selling of antibiotics in pharmacies and the use of leftover antibiotics were found to be the main causes.

The study gives a number of policy recommendations, for example:

  • A multi-faceted approach with interventions and policies that target both patients and healthcare professionals
  • Education and awareness raising, e.g. media campaigns for citizens staring with school children, and education programmes for health professionals
  • Better enforcement of laws in EU countries where antibiotics are available over the counter without prescription.

Read the study on antimicrobial resistance in full on the europe.eu website.