Should antibiotic packaging contain a warning about antibiotic resistance?

21 November, 2020

Extracts below from a news item on the WHO Regional Office for Africa website. Full text here:


Vanessa Carter nearly lost her face to antibiotic resistance. She likely acquired a bacterial infection while in hospital during one of many complicated facial surgeries [following a road traffic injury]...

Now, she is a force for common knowledge. “What should be common knowledge?” the self-described patient advocate begins to explain. What smoking is to cancer, the abuse of antibiotics should be to drug resistance, she continues.

"I’ve never seen antibiotic packaging that warns a person about resistance. When I go to a pharmacy, I ask for inserts about various antibiotics, and I don’t see it. That would be one avenue to improve communication.”...

Carter believes pharmaceutical packaging with a warning that misuse of antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance would help counter that confusion...

Globally, some 700 000 people die annually because of microbial resistance, according to World Health Organization data. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimates that 4.1 million people in Africa may die of it by 2050 if what should be common practice by patients and medical personnel remains unchanged.


Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: