Save the date: Antibiotic Awareness Week 12-18 November 2012

29 October 2012

This November, NPS MedicineWise is urging all Australians to join the global fight against antibiotic resistance and help reduce the spread of untreatable superbugs.

A story to air on Four Corners on ABC1 at 8:30pm tonight (Monday 29 October) will explore the rise of superbugs and examine why our reliance on antibiotics could pose a serious threat to our health.

During Antibiotic Awareness Week (12-18 November), Australians will be able to pledge to become antibiotic resistance fighters and help combat the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria around the world.

Just half a century ago, antibiotics were heralded as a modern-day miracle in the treatment of deadly infectious diseases. Today, the misuse and overuse of these life-saving medicines is contributing to what the World Health Organization has called one of the greatest threats to human health.

With around 19 million prescriptions written every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world.

Every time we use antibiotics incorrectly or inappropriately we contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can spread throughout the community. But there are simple things every Australian can do to preserve the miracle of antibiotics.

  1. Understand that antibiotics are only effective in the treatment of bacteria and not in the treatment of viruses, like colds and flu.
  2. Taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed when they are needed – this means taking the antibiotic in the right amount, at the right times and completing the full course.
  3. Spread knowledge, not infections. This means always practicing good hygiene, talking to your health professional about antibiotic resistance, and encouraging those around you to become resistance fighters too.

If 35,000 Australians change the way they use antibiotics, we can bring our national antibiotic usage down in line with the average of other OECD countries.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global public health initiative officially supported in Australia by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia.

More information about Antibiotic Awareness Week and the NPS MedicineWise Resistance Fighter campaign is also available at




Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or or Erin Jardine on (02) 8217 8733 or