Friday, 6 December 2013

90% of Chinese people use medicines incorrectly

Up to 90 percent of Chinese people do not know how to use medicine correctly, according to a survey from the State Food and Drug Administration of China.
In 2012, the Network of State Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring received 1.2 million reports on incidents of adverse drug reactions.
"Chinese people need to update their knowledge not only on drug usage, but also on drug use concepts," said Ji Lianmei, a licensed pharmacist with the Beijing United Family Hospital. Ji has been disseminating medical knowledge via Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like social networking service in China.

Ji says that she finds it difficult to explain proper drug use even to her own family. "My young daughter had a mild fever once and my mother wanted to give her some medicine because she thought the fever would cause brain damage. I explained that the fever wouldn't cause brain damage, but when my daughter developed a cough on the third day, my mother worried that it would turn into pneumonia," said Ji, adding that her mother wanted to give the little girl adult medication.
Pediatricians in China have been highlighting the dangers of dosing children with adult medicine.
"My mother just couldn't stand watching my daughter suffering without taking any medicine. She wanted us to give the girl an anti-inflammatory drug," said Ji. It soon became obvious that Ji's daughter had the common cold and she recovered on her own in a week.
Many Chinese people are unaware that mild illnesses like the common cold often resolve themselves without medication, as they were dosed with all kinds of medicines in their childhood by over-zealous parents anxious to cure their children.
In fact, a lack of awareness about the usage and potential side effects of antibiotics in China is putting people's health at risk.
According to a 2012 study by the State Food and Drug Administration, Chinese people continue to self-medicate using powerful drugs to treat minor ailments, a habit that could lead to the development of stronger, resistant strains of illnesses.
A survey of 8,000 people found that roughly 23 percent will take antibiotics as soon as they suspect they have the common cold, while nine percent will do the same when they have diarrhea.
Health experts warn that antibiotics, which kill or slow down the growth of bacteria in the body, should be taken only in serious cases.
"It's not safe to use antibiotics without guidance from a doctor. Many parents ask doctors to give their children antibiotics when the children have colds, showing that they don't understand how antibiotics work," said Wang Lianglan, spokesperson for the administration, at a news conference to promote the proper use of drugs in China
The Ministry of Health estimates an average of 138 grams of antibiotics are used per person on the mainland each year, nearly 10 times the amount in the United States.
On August 1, 2012, China formally implemented a decree issued by its Ministry of Health on administrative regulations for clinical use of antibacterial agents. This ruling defines all aspects of antibiotic use in hospitals, including selection, procurement, prescription, use, monitoring, and legal responsibility, and is the strictest regulation yet for antibiotic management in China. The major purpose of the new regulations is to ensure rational use of antimicrobial agents.
An estimated one third of the world's population lacks regular access to essential medicines, with this figure rising to over 50 percent of the population in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia. When available, the medicines are often used incorrectly; 50 percent of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, while 50 percent of the patients fail to take their medicines appropriately, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Source: Women of China

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