Antibiotic Overuse During COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Need for Firmer Prescription Policies, Expert Says

The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic will force lawmakers to firmly act on behalf of antibiotic policies, according to an expert with Pew Charitable Trusts.

A recent study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that over 50% of COVID-19 hospital admissions led to one or more antibiotics being given to patients from February to July 2020, while only 20% of those hospitalized COVID-19 patients had presented with common bacterial infections.1

David Hyun, MD, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Project with Pew Charitable Trusts, recently spoke with Oncology Nursing News® about how antibiotic stewardship programs ensure that antibiotics continue to be administered appropriately and how the revitalization of the antibiotic pipeline is crucial for the safety of patients, particularly patients with cancer.

The Antibiotic Resistance Project aims to help promote policies that will encourage the research and development of antibiotics. The objectives of the project include removing regulatory, economic, and scientific obstacles that impede antibiotic research and development, as well as establishing stewardship programs in hospitals to guarantee that antibiotics are prescribed appropriately.

“We have an opportunity here, when it comes to antibiotic resistance, to learn from our COVID-19 experience and the successes in terms of globalizing resources to address these types of global health crises,” said Hyun. “Now is the time to really invest and come up with policies to reinvigorate the antibiotic pipeline.”

Reference

PEW. Could efforts to fight the coronavirus lead to overuse of antibiotics? March 10, 2021.https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2021/03/could-efforts-to-fight-the-coronavirus-lead-to-overuse-of-antibiotics Accessed July 2, 2021.