Potential Saving of Antibiotics for Respiratory Infections in Several European Countries: Insights from Market Research Data
Antibiotics represent an essential pillar in the treatment of respiratory infections (RI). Overuse of antibiotics in avoidable cases and inappropriate application in bacterial infections facilitate treatment resistance, threatening their effectiveness and causing a significant healthcare challenge. We therefore assessed the savings potential for antibiotics in ambulant care of selected RI (bronchitis and cough, pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis) in several European countries based on market research data for the year 2019. Number of antibiotic packages sold in pharmacies varied, with highest values in Serbia and France, and lowest in Sweden and Switzerland. Selected RI contributed nearly half of overall ambulant antibiotic prescriptions, with around one fifth given for bronchitis and cough; the vast majority was estimated to be of viral origin with potentially avoidable antibiotic use. Antibiotic consumption for selected RI in eight European countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland) amounted to nearly 100 million, with an overall savings potential between 66.2 and 83.7 million packages. The highest estimated volume of avoidable antibiotics was in France (44.7 million, 0.80 per capita), and lowest in Switzerland (1.4 million, 0.18 per capita). Due to substantial savings potential, prudent use of antibiotics and adequate application of alternatives should be promoted in daily practice.