Residents in Spain consume some of the largest amounts of antibiotics on the continent – some 16% above the European average.
Of the 25,000 people who die in Europe every year through antibiotic abuse, one in 10 – or a total of 2,500 – are in Spain.
That’s more than the number of fatalities seen annually on Spain’s roads, according to motoring accident figures compiled by the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT).
Overuse of antibiotics causes bacteria to become resistant to treatment and to multiply out of control, or to mutate into much stronger bugs that current medication has not yet become developed enough to kill off.
And a very high number of residents in Spain who take antibiotics do so by buying them over the counter without prescription.
In recent years, Spain has been clamping down on pharmacies selling antibiotics without a doctor’s recommendation, and also urging GPs to avoid prescribing them unless absolutely necessary.