European Commission

Rampant online antibiotics sales could lead to a superbug we can’t treat

Rampant online antibiotics sales could lead to a superbug we can’t treat

165 signatures
35 signatures until 200

Consumers across Europe are an internet search and a few clicks away from having powerful antibiotics delivered to your door. Sure, it’s convenient -- but experts say it also poses a grave threat of creating drug resistant “superbugs” that put us all at risk.

A recent BBC investigation revealed just how easy it is to get your hands on antibiotics without a doctor’s oversight. But the overuse of antibiotics is creating drug resistant strains of bacteria that claim some 25,000 lives in EU member states each year -- and experts worry that number will only climb higher.

Last year, public health interest groups reviewed the EU’s 2011 action plan to take on the risk posed by antibiotic overuse, saying the plan didn’t do enough. It’s time the EU act to reel in lax antibiotic sales, before it’s too late. It can start by cracking down on online pharmacies selling prescription drugs without doctor’s orders.

Call on the European Commission to adopt new rules to crack down on online pharmacies that threaten the effectiveness of life-saving antibiotics.

Thanks to the rampant overuse of antibiotics, 70 percent of the world’s bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics. As doctors run out of effective options to treat infections, many worry that the untreatable plagues of centuries past are due for a comeback.

The silver lining is that scientific consensus around the global threat of superbugs is pressuring world leaders to take action. In October, the UK’s General Medical Council launched a new probe looking into online pharmacies overprescribing antibiotics, saying they “risk the health of us all.” The United Nations has also pledged to take action against the growing risk of antimicrobial resistance.

The renewed attention on the risk of antibiotics overuse gives us a chance to urge EU regulators to take strong action against this massive public health risk. It can start by regulating the online pharmacies that are handing out powerful antibiotics like candy. It’s a common sense action that can help reverse course on the path to a post-antibiotic era.

Sign the petition and urge the European Commission to regulate online pharmacies selling unprescribed antibiotics.  

More information