Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health concern that we are increasingly understanding the consequences of and pulling together to try and keep under control.
Korea is one of the many countries known for their misuse of antibiotics but now it looks as though the country is ready to join the efforts and take responsibility for their part in the global crisis.
In 2016, Korea’s antibiotics use was the third highest among 26 OECD countries at 34.8 defined daily dose (DDD), after Turkey (40.6 DDD) and Greece (36.3 DDD).
One of the most in-depth official studies of AMR—a two-year review commissioned by the UK government—concluded in 2016 that,700,000 deaths, annually, worldwide can be attributed to AMR.
According to the Korea Biomedical Review, the Korean government has an additional budget of 47 billion won for the next five years to prevent rising rates and spread of resistance.
Local doctors around the world have been making efforts to prescribe antibiotics less and more carefully and governments are doing more to educate people around AMR.
After the results of the OECD study in 2016, the Korean government set up a stewardship program aiming to reduce antibiotic use by 20 percent by 2020.
Since then there has been a decrease in antibiotic prescriptions for the common cold.
While the program penalises hospitals for the excessive use of antibiotics, the number of hospitals that received a grade 4 or 5 for excessive prescriptions has remained at 2,200 for the fourth year running, reported the Biomedical Review. This has lead to criticism around the effectiveness of the program.