What is the total consumption of antibiotics?

The global consumption of antibiotics in human medicine has increased by 36% over the past ten years. However, some countries have reduced their consumption while others have seen a rapid increase.

Antibiotics have enabled a revolution in public health. Just a century ago, tuberculosis and pneumonia were respectively the second and fourth most common causes of death in Switzerland. Add to that typhoid fever, cholera and the plague, and fully one third of all deaths were attributable to bacterial infections. Penicillin, discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming and made available commercially from 1942, increased survival chances of pneumonia or septicaemia patients by 10 to 90%.

Antibiotic use in hospitals

In Swiss hospitals, the level of antibiotic use is similar to rates in other European countries. Over the last few years, total consumption has increased, while remaining proportionate the growing number of hospital admissions: the per capita use has remained the same.

Comparison of antibiotic consumption in 2013 and 2016 in hospitals in Switzerland and the EU (highest and lowest consumption rates)

Antibiotic use in hospitals in 2013 and 2018: depicted are the lowest and highest consumption rates in EU countries and in Switzerland (close to the average for EU countries). A standard international unit is used: Defined Daily Dose per thousand inhabitants.
Source: https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/antimicrobial-consumption/database/rates-country, Joint Report 2013 and Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Report 2018

Use of antibiotics in outpatient settings (primary care)

In outpatient medicine, Switzerland consumes on average lower quantities of antibiotics compared to the countries in the European Union. However, there are important differences between cantons: some French- or Italian-speaking cantons consume up to three times more antibiotics per head than certain German-speaking cantons.

Use of antibiotics around the world

The global consumption of antibiotics in human medicine has increased by 36% over the past ten years. However, some countries have reduced their consumption while others, for example South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia, have seen a rapid increase. This increase in emerging countries is due to the fact that their healthcare systems are evolving rapidly, and increasing numbers of people are accessing modern medicines thanks to higher standards of living.

Last modification 15.10.2018

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