According to recent data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Greece comes first in antibiotics consumption in the European Union.
Kathimerini newspaper, citing data published by the British Telegraph, says that Greeks consume about 35.1 million doses of antibiotics per year. Greece is followed by Cyprus, Romania, Belgium and France. The use of multiple medications makes viruses and bacteria more resistant.
Medicine overuse is attributed to bribery from pharmaceutical companies and staff shortages. According to former president of the hospital doctors union D. Varnavas, when doctors work 30 to 36 hours continuously, they are more careless in what they prescribe, while shortages in several drugs, force doctors to prescribe whatever is available.
The doctors point out that hospital-acquired infections are part of the problem. Patients have to stay longer in the hospital and as a result the resistant strains of bacteria are spreading more easily. It is estimated that the resistance of viruses such as pneumonia has risen by 25% within 15 years.