SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea remained the biggest consumer of antibiotics in 2016, topping the list among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), health records showed Wednesday.
The defined daily dose (DDD), a measure of usage for antibiotics, was 34.8 in South Korea, meaning 34.8 out of 1,000 people were prescribed such drugs in the year. This is more than a 10 percent increase from 2015, when the country’s DDD was 31.5.
The OECD average in 2016 was 21.1, about 60 percent of that in South Korea. OECD figures are from the organization’s Health Statistics 2017 report.
Antibiotics prescriptions in South Korea fell for the first time in 2015 since recordkeeping began in 2008. The increase in 2016 appears bigger because of the base effect, according to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA), which provided the domestic records with the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
“People received fewer medical services in 2015, including from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome epidemic, which reduced consumption of drugs overall,” an HIRA official said. “Such a decline in 2015 likely has to do with the (antibiotics prescription) increase in 2016.”
Italy was the second-highest user of antibiotics at 27.6 DDD.
Sweden and Estonia were tied for the lowest at 13.7 DDD.