Healthcare Providers Are Reminded to Use Caution When Prescribing Antibiotics During the Pandemic

A news report released by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) shares concern related to extensive use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic, a practice that could accelerate antibiotic resistance. A study cited in the article found that, since the start of the public health emergency, only 8% of COVID-19 patients have documented bacterial co-infections, yet 72% were prescribed antibiotics. Article author Chris Dall writes that physicians have resorted “to antibiotics for COVID-19 patients because of clinical uncertainty, the risk of secondary bacterial infections in patients with underlying conditions and lengthy hospitalizations, and most of all, a lack of any other proven treatment.”

As the pandemic continues, experts like University of Michigan’s Valerie Vaughn, emphasize that antibiotic stewardship can effectively address unnecessary broad-spectrum prescribing and should be prioritized by physicians and healthcare organizations. Her team has successfully developed a system that ensures patients who test positive for the virus do not receive any unnecessary antibiotics, unless there is legitimate risk of a secondary bacterial infection.

The COVID-19 public health crisis has presented many unexpected challenges associated with managing infectious disease. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Debbie Goff says she hopes today’s situation will spark a sense of urgency among doctors and patients about the potential impact of drug-resistant bacteria.

MLMIC offers a number of resources that can help policyholders remain vigilant in their antibiotic stewardship efforts:

Additionally, MLMIC has assembled a number of critical resources to support New York physicians as they navigate the COVID-19 public health crisis. This information, which includes the latest developments in medicine and government, can be accessed on our website.