Greece needs to take action to forbid over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, says Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) President Theofilos Rosenberg, in an open letter to Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos.
Over-the counter sale and improper use of antibiotic substances in hospitals and the community leads to bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics, says Rosenberg, adding that Greece ranks among countries with the highest antimicrobial resistance in Europe.
According to figures Rosenberg cites, every year at least 1,600 deaths in Greece are attributed to infections caused by 5 resistant bacteria, with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warning that unless measures are taken to address the problem the total number of deaths will have soared to 69,000 by 2050.
Finally, Rosenberg calls on Xanthos to coordinate with the Ministry of Rural Development & Food and the Ministry of Environment & Energy, both of which, he says, also ought to prohibit administering non-veterinarian prescribed antibiotics in livestock and fish farming.
The letter was sent on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, set for November 18.