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Gallup Poll on Physician Attitudes Towards Antibiotic Prescribing


In March of 1998, a second news conference was held to announce the results of Gallup poll on physicians' attitudes and experiences related to antibiotic use. This poll was also commissioned by NIPA and confirmed that the inappropriate use of antibiotics is a pressing public health concern in Canada. The survey results are based on phone interviews with a national sample of physicians, including general practitioners, family physicians and pediatricians.

Here are the highlights of the poll:

  • Physicians reported that an average of five out of every 10 patients they see for cold or flu indicate in some way that they want antibiotics for their condition
  • 41 % of physicians surveyed said their likelihood of prescribing antibiotics would increase if the patient or parent requested them, even in circumstances where they feel antibiotics are inappropriate
  • 58% of physicians surveyed did not think their adult patients or parents understood the difference between viral and bacterial infections
  • 89% of physicians reported that most or all of the time, they explain to their patients why they should take the entire prescription
  • 97% of physicians surveyed agreed that antibiotic resistance is a serious health problem in Canada
  • Five out of 10 physicians said that antibiotic resistance is a "very serious" problem
  • 76% of physicians said they were prepared to use educational support tools to help promote the appropriate use of antibiotics
  • 65% of physicians believe that physicians have the most influence on educating patients about appropriate antibiotic use

NIPA has used these results to develop information and materials for physicians and pharmacists across Canada. These materials have been created to increase public awareness of appropriate antibiotic use.

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