On the occasion of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November), the Federation of Italian Pharmacists’ Associations (FOFI) reiterates its commitment to the fight against antibiotic resistance and launches the initiative “5 things to know for appropriate use of antibiotics”: a handbook with the pharmacist’s answers to the citizens’ most frequent questions about antibiotics, aimed at promoting conscious consumption of these drugs both in humans and in companion animals, essential to combat the appearance of infections that are difficult to treat and deaths due to lack of adequate antibiotic therapy.
According to the WHO, more than 670 thousand infections from antibiotic-resistant germs occur every year in Europe, causing approximately 33 thousand deaths. Of these, a third occur in Italy, the country with the highest mortality in Europe. “Pharmacists are the health professionals closest to citizens and, as such, play a key role in promoting the correct use of antibiotics, educating people to always follow the medical prescription and discouraging do-it-yourself intake, l early interruption of therapy and the improper use of antibiotics residual from previous therapies – states Andrea Mandelli, president of Fofi – Furthermore, community pharmacists offer an important contribution to the fight against antimicrobial resistance through the execution of diagnostic tests that allow to identify the presence of an infectious disease and to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections, working in close synergy with specialists, general practitioners and paediatricians of free choice to guarantee the maximum appropriateness of the therapeutic choice”.
For Mandelli, antibiotic resistance is a “worrying phenomenon” that “imposes a cultural change to which we are all called, healthcare workers, institutions and citizens, and increasingly with a One health approach that integrates human health, animal and environmental health. This message is contained in the handbook that Fofi has made available to all pharmacists”, which underlines “how the observance of simple rules for the use, conservation and disposal of antibiotics represents a very important gesture to protect our health, health of our animals and the environment in which we live” he concludes.