Abu Dhabi: Physicians prescribe unnecessary amounts of antibiotics and painkillers to patients who complain of a simple sore throat, a cold, or an ear infection, said an expert from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi during a lecture held on day two at the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress 2010.

The Haad recently formed an alliance for prudent use of antibiotics (APUA) — to promote safe and rational use of drugs among what Dr Mohammad Abu Al Khair, Drugs and Medical Products Regulation section head at Haad, referred to as "the four P's" — patients, pharmacies, physicians and payers (insurance companies).

Causing ulcers

"Haad spent more than Dh200 million on antibiotics last year, certain conditions such as Pneumonia can lead to around 50 per cent mortality rate if not treated by antibiotics. However, subscribing antibiotics for a simple cold or a sore throat, alongside painkillers, can lead to an ulcer," said Abu Al Khair.

The most commonly prescribed antibiotics are currently for conditions related to upper respiratory tract infections (which are related to nose, sinus, and throat infections), and urinary tract infections (infection in the kidneys, bladder or urethra).

"Through the APUA, we developed awareness campaigns in collaboration with various hospitals, and organised workshops and educational sessions for the four P's. We have also set a target to reduce antibiotic consumption by 25 per cent within the next two years," said Abu Al Khair.