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Questions and Answers
Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign
May 2007 What is the purpose of the campaign?
The Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign sets out to raise awareness about the use of antibiotics over the winter months. It focuses on the responsible use of antibiotics, particularly with regard to the treatment of colds and flu. The campaign’s central message is that antibiotics won’t help if you have a cold or flu virus, but if people have any doubt, they should see a doctor.
What are the key messages?
The campaign’s key messages are: • • •
Antibiotics don’t do colds and flu Take the lot no matter what If in doubt check it out.
Why is overuse of antibiotics a problem?
Antibiotics attack bacteria. As part of the bacteria’s normal defence against this attack they can become ‘used to’ or resistant to particular antibiotics. This means antibiotics may lose their effectiveness and not work as well as they should. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing. It is important not to overuse antibiotics, or to use them unnecessarily for viral infections.
What is the timing of the campaign?
The campaign runs from May through to October, the months when cold and flu are most prevalent. The launch is 14 May.
Who is the target audience and why?
The campaign aims to get messages about the wise use of antibiotics to the public, families and the wider communities where close proximity can aid the spread of infectious diseases– such as university students and prison populations. The campaign promotes the optimal use of antibiotics to healthcare professionals and provides them with a range of resources which help to manage patient expectations over the winter months.
What will the campaign consist of?
Campaign messages will be carried on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines. Posters and campaign information resources will also be available at pharmacies and doctors’ surgeries.
Why is PHARMAC involved in a multimedia campaign?
There is a need to ensure the optimal use of the medicines PHARMAC funds. It wants to make sure medicines are used effectively so people get the maximum benefit. Information campaigns contribute to this. For example, this campaign aims to ensure antibiotics are used appropriately, that people understand antibiotics are not the treatment for colds and flu, and that a consequence of inappropriate use is the increased resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. The Pharmaceutical Society, Plunket, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Pharmacy Guild and PHARMAC collectively support the campaign.
The campaign is into its 10th year – why is it still necessary?
The campaign began in 1998 and since then PHARMAC has co-ordinated national promotion including the launch and media coverage. The campaign has been monitored throughout and has helped to raise awareness about the use of antibiotics. Since the campaign began, PHARMAC has seen a significant decline in the use of some antibiotics. However, there is a need to continue to build on this success, and to continue to remind people about how to use antibiotics well. The campaign also reinforces the positive behaviour changes that are now being seen.
Patterns in Antibiotic usage 1993-2006
Cos t ex man (ex c l GST) A mox y c illin Cos t ex man (ex c l GST) A mox y c illin Clav ulanate Sc ripts A mox y c illin
Cost ex (millions)
600,000 Prescriptionsc illin Clav ulanate A mox y 400,000
Cost ex (millions) $4.0
$0.0 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 19992000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Year Ending 30 J une Yea r E nding 30 June
May 2007 What is the purpose of the campaign? The Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign sets out to raise awareness about the use of antibiotics over the winter months. It focuses on…
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