In a country where antibiotic medicines worth Rs135 billion were consumed in 2022, over 70 to 80 percent antibiotic medicines were prescribed and consumed unnecessarily for the diseases, which are often self-limiting, officials and experts said on Friday.

“Over 70 percent antibiotics are being used unnecessarily in Pakistan for the diseases which are self-limiting, which means that they are being used where they are not required. This is resulting in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which means antibiotics are being ineffective against disease-casing microorganisms,” Dr Muhammad Salman, acting head of National Institute of Health (NIH) said. “Most of the diseases including flu, cold and other minor health problems should not be treated with antibiotic medicines,” he said.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr Ejaz Ahmed Khan said due to unnecessary use of antibiotics in Pakistan, many patients are not responding to these medicines, and eventually they need expensive medicines to treat the chronic infections, costing hundreds of thousands of rupees.

Head of Infectious

Diseases Department at PIMS Dr Nasim Akhtar said vaccines are the best options to prevent from infectious diseases and urged parents to get their children vaccinated against over a dozen vaccine preventable diseases.

Principal Scientific Officer (PCO) at NIH Islamabad Dr Mumtaz Ali Khan said NIH is trying its best to raise awareness regarding AMR causing hundreds of thousands of deaths around the globe.

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