Some nations may be consuming too many antibiotics that the World Health Organization has determined must be reserved for emergencies to limit antibiotic resistance.
The WHO analyzed levels of antibiotic use in 65 countries and found overall antibiotic consumption ranged from 4.4 to 64.4 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants.
The survey found some countries were relatively heavy consumers of drugs on the Reserve list — those the WHO says should be kept in reserve for emergencies. In Italy, for example, drugs on the Reserve list represented 2 percent of daily antibiotic consumption, more than six times that of Britain. Japan, meanwhile, had overall consumption equal to only about half that of South Korea but “Reserve” drugs accounted for 1.1 percent of that daily consumption compared to only 0.2 percent in South Korea.