Fear of lawsuits may prompt some doctors to overprescribe antibiotics

Dec 18, 2009

A new study led by a team of researchers at New York Medical College suggests that that medical liability concerns may be playing a role in the increase of MRSA in healthcare settings by encouraging clinicians to prescribe antibiotics more often and more broadly than clinical circumstances and evidence-based guidelines warrant. The study appeared in the September-October issue of the American Journal of Therapeutics.

The team analyzed census figures, statistics on population density of attorneys and physicians, and data on antibiotic utilization for the United States, Canada, and 15 European countries. They compared this to statistics on the percentage of methicillin resistance among clinical isolates of S. aureus. They found a strong correlation between the prevalence of methicillin resistance and density of attorneys in countries in Europe and North America. They found no correlation between prevalence of methicillin resistance and physician density.

Investigators surveyed 162 healthcare providers to determine whether medical liability concerns were as important as antibiotic cost and formulary restrictions in selecting treatment regimens. The surveys also confirmed that physicians were more concerned about medical liability in cases of under-prescribing antibiotics rather than by over-prescribing them.

George Sakoulas, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and lead author of the study, concluded, "The findings suggest that more research is needed to evaluate the potential impact of medical liability concerns on the medical care system. The study findings hint toward the importance of medical tort reform as a way to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality. Another way might be to foster more judicious prescription of based on science and evidence rather than on risk aversion."

Explore further: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrives in North Korea

More information: The article can be viewed online at www.americantherapeutics.com

Provided by New York Medical College

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Possible pet-human bacteria link studied

Mar 22, 2006

Scientists at an international conference in Atlanta say they're investigating a possible link between antibiotic resistance in pets and pet owners.

European league-tables for antibiotic resistance revealed

Jul 08, 2008

Tests of antibiotic resistance in cattle have revealed stark variation across thirteen European countries. The results, published today in BioMed Central’s open-access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, show that major ...

Recommended for you

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrives in North Korea

Aug 31, 2014

It's pretty hard to find a novel way to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now, but two-time Grammy-winning rapper Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees, has done it—getting his dousing in the center ...

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

User comments : 0