Why free antibiotics are a terrible idea, and what drug and grocery stores should give away instead

So, while watching Lost the other night, I saw an add for a local grocery chain advertising free antibiotics.

Apparently, it’s a nationwide promotion, with multiple chains using antibiotics as a “loss leader” to bring people into their stores.

Well, it has now gotten the attention of both the CDC and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, with latter organization writing, “If you give antibiotics away, it sort of implies that we should use them rather freely.”

Especially during cold and flu season, such promotions only reinforce the false notion that antibiotics are necessary in all upper respiratory infection cases, when, in fact, they only serve to worsen microbial resistance to these drugs.

If pharmacies and grocery stores really wanted to promote better health, they should promote free flu shots, diabetic glucometer strips, or anti-hypertensive medications instead.

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