Canadians receiving one-third more antibiotics than many other OECD residents

(Angela Mulholland/ CTV News) — Antibiotics are prescribed more frequently in Canada than in many other countries of the OECD — and many of those medications are offered to patients unnecessarily.

The new finding comes from a study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) that compared health data among the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD includes many of the countries of Europe, along with Australia, the U.S. and more.

The study found that Canadian doctors are prescribing 33 per cent more antibiotics than clinicians in many other countries.

In 2015, more than 25 million courses of antibiotics were prescribed in Canada — the equivalent of almost one prescription for every adult Canadian between the ages of 20 and 69. As well, every day, approximately 20.8 out of 1,000 Canadians are taking antibiotics.

While that’s far fewer than the 36 per 1,000 taken per day in Greece, it’s twice the amount prescribed in the Netherlands. Canada is the fourth largest antibiotic dispenser among its closest OECD peers.

The study also found that in all OECD countries, three out of every five antibiotic prescriptions were for medical complaints that can’t be alleviated by antibiotics, such as common colds, sore throats, and coughing. (…)

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