The six second fight against antibiotic resistance

31 May 2013

As cold and flu season sets in, NPS MedicineWise is launching as series of six-second videos to highlight the problem of antibiotic resistance in our communities.

The campaign, developed for the Vine app on Twitter, is a first for public health promotion in Australia.

In a series of four humorous short films, NPS MedicineWise is depicting a world in which taking antibiotics for viruses, like colds or flu, is considered anti-social behaviour.

NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says the campaign was designed to change the public’s perception that antibiotics are effective in the treatment of viral infections. She says the light-hearted films carry a serious message: don’t expect antibiotics for cold or flu.  

“Antibiotic resistance has been identified by the World Health Organization as the greatest threat to global health today. That makes it worthy of serious discussion, but it doesn’t get much play around the dinner table,” Dr Weekes says.  

“Australia has one of the highest per capita rates of antibiotics use in the world. That means our campaign to address the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the community needs to be as accessible and engaging as possible.

“That’s particularly true as we move into the winter months and more people find themselves searching out the elusive cure for the common cold.”

Dr Weekes says that while short films can’t tell the whole story they will help to educate consumers about the risks of using and asking for antibiotics when they are not needed.

“Conveying a serious public health message in just six seconds is a tall order but we think we’ve managed to pull it off.

“These six-second flicks won’t tell you everything you need to know about antibiotic resistance but they will get you asking the right questions.

“As part of our five year campaign, we’ve developed a wealth of online resources to help people join the fight against antibiotic resistance. So as more people learn about the problem through this series of short videos, more people can learn about the solution from our website.”

You can see our Vine videos by following @NPSMedicineWise on Twitter.

Fifteen second versions of the films are available at, will be promoted through Facebook, and will made available to television networks as community service announcements.

For more information visit or visit to join the fight against antibiotic resistance.

For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) . Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).



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