ANTIBIOTICS MISUSE: New Campaign Targets Hispanics
The state's private and public sectors are launching a Hispanic education campaign specifically targeting "[p]atients who misuse antibiotics and physicians who wrongly prescribe them." The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the program will target its message on the misuse of antibiotics toward "the Hispanic community with posters, videos and brochures in Spanish." Sharp HealthCare, state health officials and the Hoffmann-La Roche pharmaceutical company are joining together on the project, which will put "strategically placed" materials in clinics and physicians' offices, according to Russell Bennett, Sharp's director of international services. The Union-Tribune notes that "Sharp and Hoffmann-La Roche are splitting the $225,000 start-up cost of the project."
Dr. Steve Waterman, chief of epidemiology with the state Department of Health Services, said the "emergence of several new 'superbugs'" that have developed resistance to antibiotics is cause for needed education about proper antibiotic use. Waterman criticized "physicians who prescribe the antibiotics without regard to symptoms, simply because their patients are putting pressure on them for a cure." He said, "Often physicians may not have time to explain why the patient shouldn't be taking antibiotics, or they may themselves not understand the indications." "[A]ntibiotic overkill" not only makes "it more difficult for doctors to treat patients," but "it wastes a lot of money and creates expense in hospital systems," said Waterman, who "added that the over-the-counter sales of antibiotics in Mexican border regions add to the problem of misuse" (Clark, 3/4).