The Health Ministry is initiating a new campaign to minimize the waste of medical drugs, with the overuse of antibiotics as the main focus. Turkey tops the list of European nations wasting medicine, and Health Ministry Medicine and Medical Equipment Department Deputy Manager, Güven Artıran, said the campaign would focus on creating awareness among doctors, pharmacists, patients, the pharmaceutical sector, the media and nongovernmental organizations.
The improper use of medicine is one of the main health hazards in Turkey, he said. "The failure to properly use drugs results in patients not receiving the full affect of treatments, patients developing immunity against antibiotics, increasing the cost of treatments, recurrence of diseases and undesirable side effects," he said.
Researchers have failed to develop new, affective anti-bacterial compounds in recent years, said Artıran, adding that this makes it crucial for patients to use antibiotics sensibly.
"In the near future, immunity against antibiotics will result in simple infections and small injuries becoming deadly. We are initiating a 'Clever Use of Medicine' campaign, which will run until 2017, as per World Health Organization (WHO) suggestions. We are also coordinating with sector associations to reach the widest possible audience," he said.
According to a survey published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet this year, Turkey was at the top of 13 non-EU European countries in antibiotic usage. He said the danger necessitated a multi-faceted initiative, with serious controls in the issuance of prescriptions for antibiotics.
"This is especially important as we enter cold season. People need to know that cold and flu are illnesses that are overcome without medicine. You don't need antibiotics because they don't treat colds or the flu. A strong immune system is what is necessary. People should use antibiotics only under a doctor's supervision," he said.
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