Doctors have reacted angrily to the Health Secretary’s admission that she previously gave her own supplies of antibiotics to friends and family.
During a meeting with health officials, Ms Coffey is said to have made the remark about giving antibiotics to friends.
According to one source, “she understands the importance of antimicrobial resistance, would encourage people not to share medicines, and will not do so again in the future.”
Without a prescription?
Thérèse Coffey is thinking about allowing pharmacists to give antibiotic prescriptions to patients without a doctor’s prescription.
In order to free up millions of GP appointments, Ms. Coffey’s “Plan for Patients” will grant pharmacists the authority to prescribe some medications, such as contraception, without a prescription.
However, her proposals to make antibiotics more easily accessible through pharmacies, as first reported by The Times, drew sharp criticism from doctors and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) experts.
Ms Coffey’s proposal, according to Prof Penny Ward of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, would have the AMR community “up in arms en masse.”
The increased use of antibiotics is one of the primary drivers of AMR, with approximately 65,000 people in the UK developing drug-resistant infections – so-called “superbugs” – each year.
The problem is global, with experts warning last month that India was facing a “pandemic” of superbugs as antibiotic resistance increased by 10% in a year.
Prof Ward said the widespread prescription of antibiotics by pharmacists in India had increased this resistance.