Antibiotic use down by a third in last decade

Prescriptions for antibiotics in Finland have fallen by a third in the last 10 years, according to a study commissioned by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

Researchers using figures from the social insurance institution Kela found that the number of antibiotic prescriptions fell by 29 percent between the years 2008 and 2018. This means one million fewer prescriptions were written last year than ten years prior. 

In 2008 health insurance companies reimbursed the cost of 3.2 million euro’s worth of antibiotic prescriptions in Finland, while in 2018 this number fell to 2.3 million.

The biggest drop, 60 percent, came in the area of antibiotics prescribed for children under the age of 4.

For children between 5 and 17 years of age, antibiotic prescriptions were down by 43 percent. For people over 65, the reduction was considerably smaller, at 17 percent.

One reason children’s antibiotic use has fallen is likely the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine to the national vaccination programme. The pneumococcal vaccine can prevent pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis in some cases.