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Ipsos-Reid National Survey on Consumer Attitudes About Antibiotics And Antibiotic Resistance


On January 29, 2002, NIPA conducted news conferences in Toronto and Montreal to announce the results of an Ipsos-Reid national omnibus survey on consumer attitudes about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. As a follow-up to an earlier Angus Reid consumer survey, the results of which were released in February 2000, this survey was conducted to determine if NIPA's efforts to promote appropriate antibiotic use have changed consumer attitudes and behaviour.

Results were based on phone interviews with a national sample of adults who have been prescribed an antibiotic within the past three years.

Here are some highlights of the survey:

  • 53% of Canadians said they had been prescribed an oral antibiotic in the past three years, compared with 61% in 2000.
  • 80% of those who have been prescribed an antibiotic stated that they always finish their prescribed medication, compared with 76% in 2000.
  • 63% indicated they are less likely to ask for a prescription for a cold or flu, compared with 55% in 2000.
  • Only 35% of respondents said they had spoken to their doctor about why they were or were not prescribed an antibiotic, compared with 67% in 2000.
  • Of those who said they always finish all of their antibiotic prescription (80%):
    • 56% say they do so because they are supposed to finish it / it's required / doctor's advice (45% in 2000).
    • 35% want to prevent recurrence (29% in 2000).
    • 8% say they do so to prevent bacteria from becoming resistant (12% in 2000).
  • Of those who said they rarely (4%) / never (4%) finish all of their antibiotic prescription (8%):
    • 66% say that they stop taking it if they are feeling better (unchanged from 2000).
  • 91% strongly agree/agree somewhat with the following statement, "antibiotics are useful for the treatment of bacterial infections", compared with 93% in 2000.
  • 53% of consumers incorrectly say that they agree (strongly or somewhat) that "antibiotics are useful for the treatment of viral infections", compared with 54% in 2000.
  • 30% of those polled incorrectly believe (agree strongly or somewhat) that "most colds and flus can be treated successfully with antibiotics", compared with 33% in 2000.
  • During the past 12 months 40% of consumers say that they have heard or seen new information about using antibiotics, compared with 43% in 2000.

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