Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Free Antibiotics...Uh Oh.

There are a few pharmacy chains currently running free antibiotic promotions. I really question if that is the right message to health consumers. I have blogged about the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics and resistance here and here. Most of the free antibiotics include penicillins and the like. It is worthy to note that these prescriptions normally cost no more than $10 for a standard course.

I can imagine that this will make it harder for the prescribing clinician. While it is wonderful to practice in a cost-efficient way while being cognizant of the costs placed on patients, I wonder if this sends a message that it's OK to take antibiotics (because they are free) for conditions that clearly don't warrant them.

What do you think? Do you have patients asking for antibiotics now because of these promotions?


BarbaraC. Phillips, NP said...

Good grief! No, I've not seen the promotion, nor have I had people asking for this yet. However, I can see it increasing the already too many request for an antibiotic for "colds".

I once had a preceptor tell me to go ahead and give them an antibiotic or something, because if I didn't, they'd just go someplace else! I'm sure I've lost my share of patients because I didn't give them what they wanted. I do attempt instead to give them a bit of knowledge.

Barbara C. Phillips, NP

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I also don't give antibiotics for a cold. I make the patient wait for at least 5 days before I will write. By then, they are usually over it anyway. I use the two-fold tactic of "I'm saving you money!" and "You don't want to get that nasty bug called MRSA, do you?" It usually works.