Deeble Issues Brief No. 52: Optimising antimicrobial stewardship in Australian primary care

Australia is one of the highest antimicrobials (antibiotic) prescribing countries in the developed world. Overprescription and inappropriate prescribing is contributing to the development of antimicrobial resistant infections, as well as increasing adverse side effects and treatment costs.

Without action, the expected global costs of antimicrobial resistance will exceed $1 trillion by 2050. Preventing antimicrobial resistance requires the establishment of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) practices in prescribing. In Australia, AMS programs are well established in secondary and tertiary care.

However, 80% of antibiotics in Australia are prescribed within primary care. Despite this, AMS programs are yet to be widely established within primary care. To prevent antimicrobial resistance, barriers to AMS programs in primary care must be addressed, and interprofessional collaboration between general practice and community pharmacy fostered.