Independence Blue Cross supports World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Independence saw a nearly 10 percent reduction in antibiotic prescribing from 2010-2016

More than half of all antibiotics are unnecessary or prescribed for the wrong reason, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. In fact, most common infections are viral in nature and do not require antibiotics at all. In recognition of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 13 to 19, Independence is raising awareness of this problem.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance — when bacteria no longer respond to the antibiotics designed to kill them — is one of the biggest threats to global health and it is on the rise. It can lead to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and increased rates of mortality. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them speeds up resistance and is increasing the frequency of antibiotic-resistant infections worldwide.

Dr, Richard Snyder, chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross (Independence), has joined chief medical officers around the world in signing a pledge urging companies to support the appropriate use of antibiotics. Independence has actively promoted appropriate antibiotic use to its employer customers and members, as well as physicians.

An analysis of antibiotic prescribing rates at Independence showed:

  • A nearly 10 percent decrease in antibiotic prescriptions between 2010-2016
  • More than 14 percent decline in the use of broad spectrum antibiotics by Independence members in the last six years. Broad spectrum antibiotics act against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria

 In addition to over-prescribing antibiotics, resistance is also caused by:

  • not finishing a full course of antibiotics
  • sharing or using leftover antibiotics
  • poor hygiene and sanitation
  • use of antimicrobial hand soap

Help fight antibiotics resistance by:

  • only using antibiotics prescribed by your health care provider in line with current medical guidelines
  • not requesting antibiotics when your health care provider advises that it is not needed

Prevent infection by:

  • washing hands with plain soap and water
  • preparing food hygienically
  • avoiding close contact with sick people
  • keeping vaccinations up to date