Campaign launched on proper use of antibiotics

Overuse or misuse of antibiotic medicines can cause bacterial resistance, meaning some conditions could become difficult or even impossible to treat. Keystone

Swiss federal authorities have launched a public information campaign to raise awareness of the proper use of antibiotic medicine.

This content was published on November 9, 2018

“If the effectiveness of antibiotics is to be maintained, not only are efforts required on the part of professionals, but patients and animal owners also need to use these drugs responsibly,” says a government press releaseExternal link.

It says surveys show there are still gaps in the public’s knowledge. With a nationwide campaign “the federal authorities therefore intend to inform the public about the importance of antibiotics, the risks of bacterial resistance and the correct use of these drugs in humans and animals”.

"Use antibiotics wisely -- It's important for people, animals and the environment," says this frog on one of the campaign posters.

The campaign includes television spots, posters, online advertising and a campaign website in Switzerland’s three official national languages (German, French and Italian), with slogans equivalent to “use wisely, take precisely”. Animated figures, including animals and fish, explain the importance of using antibiotics carefully, as well as the potential consequences of resistant bacteria for humans, animals, agriculture and the environment.

This campaign is expected to run for four years. It is part of the government’s National Strategy on Antibiotic ResistanceExternal link, launched in 2015.

The government says the national strategy is already producing results. For example, it says “the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine has been halved and uniform prescribing guidelines are now in force throughout Switzerland”. These guidelines for medical practitioners define when antibiotics should be used and include information on selecting the appropriate drug, as well as the recommended dosage and length of treatment.

Antibiotics are among the most significant advances in modern medicine and can be used to treat conditions such as pneumonia or septicaemia which were often fatal in the past. However, if antibiotics are overused or misused, bacteria develop resistance and the drugs lose their effectiveness. 

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