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    JMA calls for reclassifying antibiotics as prescription-only drugs

    January 18, 2023

    AMMAN — The Jordan Medical Association (JMA) is calling on the authorities to regulate the sale of antibiotics and list them as prescriptions instead of over-the-counter medication.

    JMA President Zeyad Al Zu’bi told The Jordan Times that the sharp increase in antibiotic consumption has led the association to demand that the Jordan Food and Drug Association (JFDA) form a committee consisting of doctors, pharmacists, JFDA representatives and pharmaceutical industry experts to enforce limits on antibiotics and reclassify them as prescription medications.

    The JFDA approved the formation of the committee, which has yet to convene a meeting, Zu’bi said.

    “There are two major concerns for the unrestrained use of antibiotics,” he added.

    The unrestrained use of antibiotics is the main driver for the rise in drug-resistant infections, as the human body will become highly resistant to antibiotics with overuse. At that point, when a patient takes antibiotics for a microbial infection, the drugs will be ineffective, Zu’bi said.

    Additionally, antibiotic overuse creates a financial burden on the healthcare sector, he added.

    “It is estimated that between 60-70 per cent of antibiotics go to waste,” Zu’bi said.

    According to the association president, regulating the sale of antibiotics and limiting them to prescription is an industry standard medical practice around the world that Jordan is urged to follow.

    Paediatrician Isra Arabeyat told The Jordan Times that doctors have been calling for the more prudent use of antibiotics.

    According to the doctor, the danger posed by drug-resistant infections is very serious and would lead to long-term health complications for patients.

    “This condition is widely observed among children, as parents rush to the nearest pharmacy to get antibiotics for their sick children without consulting a doctor,” Arabeyat added.

    “We need to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) urgently, as it threatens the ability to treat common infections,” Arabeyat noted.

    When bacteria in the human body are exposed to antibiotics, they mutate to be able to resist the effect of the drug. “The more antibiotics are used, the faster resistance develops,” Arabeyat said.

    “We need to take the pledge to stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics,” the doctor added.

    In places where antibiotics can be bought without a prescription, the emergence and spread of resistance is worse, said Arabeyat.

    According to Arabeyat, examples of misuse include taking antibiotics for viral infections that cannot be effectively treated with the bacteria-killing drugs, such as colds and the flu.


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