Marking the Antibiotic Awareness Week

  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) marks November 18 as an Antibiotic Awareness Day, while the World Health Organization holds a whole week to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance. 
  • Antibiotic resistance, which occurs also as a result of the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics, is one of the biggest threats to global health. It occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of this type of medicines and the antibiotics are no longer  effective.1
  • Administration of a single-dose antibiotic is one of the ways to ensure that the patients strictly follow the instructions on use. An example of such an antibiotic is a drug for treatment of acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women, newly brought onto the Slovenian market by Lek.
18. 11. 2019

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) celebrates November 18 as an Antibiotic Awareness Day while the World Health Organization holds the whole week, running this year from 18 to 24 November, to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance. The aim is to campaign on the rational use of antibiotics to increase awareness about the ability of bacteria to resist the action of an antibiotic and promote best practices in the treatment with these types of medicines among healthcare professionals and the general public to prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is namely one of biggest threats to global public health.1

Antibiotics are medicines used for the treatment of a wide variety of infections caused by bacteria, including respiratory tract infections, ear infections, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and skin infections. Since their discovery, they have been a cornerstone of modern medicine. In the pre-antibiotic era, even minor infections and medical interventions represented a potential death threat. Today, with the appropriate use of antibiotics, a number of serious diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, are curable. However, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics accelerate the occurrence and spread of antibiotic resistance. The resistance occurs because bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines and antibiotics can no longer function. They become ineffective and infections remain in the body, which increases the risk of damage to health and the spread of infection to other people.1

The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics

Apart from health professionals who educate patients about the prudent use of antibiotics, provide appropriate instructions on how to take antibiotics and prescribe them in a responsible manner, the patients themselves also play an important role. The reasons for the development of antibiotic resistance include taking antibiotics when not needed (for example for the treatment of viral infections such as the common cold and flu) and not following the instructions for use when patients prematurely discontinue the antibiotic treatment and/or do not take them at the prescribed hours (time intervals). Due to a premature discontinuation of the treatment, bacteria become resistant to the antibiotics used or even to other antimicrobial medicines which can lead to resistant infections.1,2

Strict compliance with the instructions on how to use antibiotics is important

Sandoz, a part of which is Lek, is one of the largest providers of high quality and affordable antibiotics in the world. Sandoz is aware of its responsibility and acknowledges the need to find the right balance between improving access to existing antibiotics and ensuring that they are used in a responsible way. In light of this, last year Sandoz published a statement of intent, demonstrating its commitment to play a leading role in global efforts to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (link). In addition to providing access to high quality antibiotics, Sandoz also focuses on raising awareness about prescribing the right medicine, in the right dose, at the right time and the correct duration of treatment as well as raising awareness about the importance of patients following instructions for use given by a healthcare professional.3 

An antibiotic taken as a single-dose is one of the ways to ensure that the patient takes the medicine exactly as directed by the doctor. An example of such an antibiotic is a drug for the treatment of acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women. Administering a single dose will less likely lead to antibiotic resistance and at the same time such a dosage regime is also a patient-friendly solution.

What can we do as individuals towards responsible use of antibiotics: 

  • Only use antibiotics that were prescribed to you personally by your doctor and make sure that your family members will do the same.
  • Never expect or demand an antibiotic for the treatment of viral infections such as the common cold or flu as they will have no effect.
  • Take all prescribed doses at the prescribed hours (time intervals), even if you already feel better.
  • Never share antibiotics with others and never use leftover antibiotics from your previous treatment.


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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz, operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Over the last seven years, the company has created more than 2,250 jobs, making us one of the biggest employers in Slovenia. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2.3 billion since 2003. 

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Our purpose is to pioneer access to healthcare by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical need. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas and increasingly focused on value-adding differentiated medicines, accounted for 2018 sales of USD 9.9 billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.

Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @SandozGlobal at

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 108 thousand people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at 

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications 
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43