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France's deadly antibiotics habit laid bare

Ben McPartland · 25 Sep 2015, 11:09

Published: 25 Sep 2015 11:09 GMT+02:00

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France urgently needs to cut its consumption of antibiotics, the country's health minister has said after worrying new figures showed that 160,000 people each year were contracting infections from “multi-resistant" bacteria.

As many as 13,000 people were losing their lives.

“The figure is bad. It’s enormous,” said health minister Marisol Touraine, adding that the huge consumption of antibiotics in France was aiding the appearance of resistant bacteria.

She has vowed to cut France’s consumption of antibiotics and bring the death toll down and has backed patient groups that the issue should become a national cause in 2016.

The problem France faces was highlighted in a report earlier this year which concluded that France was a nation addicted to antibiotics.

The survey by the National Agency for Medical Safety (ANSM) showed that the French take 30 percent more antibiotics than the European average and three times the amount of pills popped in places like Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

The rate at which the French consume antibiotics is also 35 percent higher than in the US.

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The ANSM's Philippe Cavalié summed up the problem in France, saying: "There is a very high expectation on the part of patients to exit their doctor's office with a prescription for antibiotics and doctors do not always know how to resist this pressure."

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation called on pharmaceutical companies to increase research into molecules that are more effective against super-resistant bacteria as well as looking at alternative treatment methods.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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