Antibiotic prescription rate for colds has halved over the past two decades


The rate of prescription of antibiotics by Korean doctors to treat colds dropped to 35% in 2021 from 73% in 2002, according to a report released Friday by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA). ).


The tertiary general hospital antibiotic prescription rate for a cold remained at just 6%, according to the report.


Korea’s antibiotic prescription rate for the common cold has fallen sharply over the past two decades, but it remains higher than in other advanced countries.


The state-run health insurance screening agency assessed the adequacy of drug benefits at 52,240 medical and health facilities nationwide from January to December last year based on the details outpatient treatment, the examination of which has been completed.


According to the result, the antibiotic prescription rate for acute upper respiratory infections, including colds, stood at 35.14% in 2021, down 38.1 percentage points from 73, 33% in 2002. The rate was lowest in tertiary general hospitals at 6.10%, followed by 24.75% in general hospitals, 34.49% in hospitals and 44.95% in clinics.


The antibiotic prescription rate for acute lower respiratory tract infections, including acute bronchitis, remained at 56.95%, down 3.85 percentage points from 60.80% in 2016. The comparable rates for the four categories of medical facilities by size were 13.11%, 38.04%, 51.35% and 57.92%, maintaining an upward trend in the rate as the size of hospitals increases. decreases.


Viruses mainly cause acute upper respiratory tract inspections and acute lower respiratory tract infections, and antibiotics are not recommended.


The injection rate was 12.08%, down 26.52 percentage points from 38.62% in 2002. Tertiary general hospitals had the lowest rate of 1.23%, followed by general hospitals 5.32%, hospitals 12.29% and neighborhood clinics 13.93%.


HIRA has conducted drug benefit adequacy assessments and made the results public since 2001. The main assessment items are antibiotic prescription rate, injection rate, and number of drugs per prescription.


The agency said it would expand its assessment from next year to better manage antibiotic resistance and strengthen patient safety. It will add new metrics, such as the volume of antibiotics used to treat respiratory illnesses and prescription rates for the elderly.


From next year, Korea will also introduce the DDD (defined daily dose) of antibiotics, used in the OECD and the UK, as an index of evaluation. DDD measures the amount of drug, an average daily maintenance dose for adults weighing 70 kg.


According to HIRA, Korea’s antibiotic prescription rate in 2019 was 23.7 DID, higher than the OECD average of 17.0 DID. DID (Dose for Habitant per Day) refers to defined doses of antibiotics per 1,000 people per day.


“Overall, the index results improved in 2021. However, the antibiotic prescribing rate for acute lower respiratory tract infections remained high, and the progression of the acute respiratory tract prescribing rate higher education has also been slow in hospital settings,” said Chung Young-ae, head of HIRA’s evaluation office. “We will seek to provide more incentives to these hospitals while offering various supports, including advisory and public relations activities, to lesser quality facilities.”

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