Malaysian private hospitals and GPs should be monitored for antibiotic abuse

PHOTO: Malaysian private hospitals and GPs should be monitored for antibiotic abuse

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Medical Association wants the private sector to be accountable for the use of antibiotics too as careless usage had contributed to the rise in antibiotic resistance.

Its president Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan said private hospitals should also be included in the National Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance report, which only monitored public hospitals at present.

"As patients are paying, there may be a tendency to use more 'expensive and stronger' antibiotics even when there are no indications," he said.

Dr Tharmaseelan said the Health Ministry should ensure the private sector adhered to clinical practice guidelines on antibiotic usage and urged patients not to doctor-hop and change antibiotics without completing them as this could perpetuate antibiotic resistance.

He concurred with infectious diseases expert Universiti Malaya's department of medicine Assoc Prof Dr Sasheela Ponnam­palavanar that certain classes of antibiotics be re­­stricted in the treatment of specific bacterial infections and used only if alternative antibiotics were not available.

Dr Tharmaseelan said general practitioners did not routinely do tests to ascertain the organism cau­sing the infection because culture and sensitivity tests could be expensive and waiting for results could delay treatment.

"As such, doctors would initiate therapy based on experience and provisional diagnosis, which may lead to drug resistance too," he said.