OECD appeals to Italy over antibiotics

Body says Rome must prepare health system for aging population

(ANSA) - Paris, November 7 - The OECD on Thursday called on Italy to take action to combat the "excessive and inappropriate prescription of antibiotics" saying that this is contributing to antibiotic resistance.
    "In 2017, the total volume of antibiotics prescribed in primary care was 28 defined daily doses per 1 000 population per day, the second highest in the OECD, compared to an average of 18 across OECD countries," the OECD said in its Health at a Glance 2019 report.
    "Antibiotic resistance affects patient safety in hospitals. "Italy has higher than average rates of health care-associated infections (HAI), with nearly 6% of hospitalised patients having at least one HAI. HAIs can be deadly, and cost up to 6% of public hospital budgets. "Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can make HAIs difficult or even impossible to treat.
    "There is a need to implement policies to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance".
    The report also called on Italy to prepare its health system for a rapidly ageing population, due to declining fertility rates and sustained growth in life expectancy. The share of the population aged 65 and over is now the fifth highest across OECD countries, accounting for over 20% of the population, it said. By 2050, more than one in eight people will be 80 or older in Italy. The report said Italy currently has the second highest prevalence of dementia across the OECD (23 per 1 000 population) and that,bBy 2050, projections estimate that more than one in 25 people will be living with dementia.